Monday, October 27, 2008

Google 2009 Policy Fellowship

It is that time again to apply for the 2nd incarnation of Google's Policy Fellowship. I would urge everyone to apply if their interests fall into their fellowship categories. Although, the fellowship is only in its second year, the partner organizations on board are very good. This could be an excellent opportunity for aspiring students and/or advocates. More information can be found at the URL below.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why open access may not work

This past week in my doctoral seminar class we had a very good discussion about the research process and research reporting process. In this context we talked about open access journals. But also got a bit into the tenure process.

From this conversation I had to ask my professor if he knew of anyone that had used open access journals for tenure. To his knowledge he could not think of a person that had exclusively used open access journals in higher education to make tenure.

This got my mind churning and somewhat perplexed. I have this belief that knowledge should be available for anyone, not just those that can afford access to the knowledge. Further, I believe that the producers of that knowledge should not, in most publication cases, give up their copyright ownership in order to be published. After many years of education and hearing the positive, and negative sides of open access publication, I have gotten the sense that most people in higher education are proponents of open access. If this is the case then why is so much of our knowledge hidden behind the locked doors of the publication industry, where one only gets entry by producing money?

Thus after mulling over this for a few days, I have finally come to a conclusion. It is not that higher education people do not like open access, as I said before they seem proponents of it, but rather the system of higher education that limits the adoption of open access. Mainly the tenure process at most colleges and universities have a strong held belief that publications must be in well respected academic journals. For some reason though, most open access journals are viewed as less than or slightly inferior to academic journals.

Perhaps if colleges and universities were to revisit the concept of tenure as it relates to publication we would see a growth in open access journals. There are open access journals with peer review and quality controls comparable to best academic journals that sell for large sums of money. Just maybe if the rules of the tenure process were altered, or dare I say updated to the times, knowledge would flow a bit more easily, become more accessible to anyone with Internet access, and allow the producers of that knowledge to maintain control of their work.

Unfortunately for me, at least at this time, it looks that if I want to attain tenure I may have to compromise my position on open access to knowledge. Perhaps in the next few years the situation may change.

Monday, October 13, 2008

IP Addresses as private information?

For my semester project I have decided to focus on exploring if IP addresses are personal information (personally identifiable information) or fair game. Luckily I have chosen a topic which I have not fully made up my mind. So this paper will reflect my own curiosity in the matter and be, at least I hope, very balanced.

At the heart of my paper I am hoping to examing differing opinions on whether or not IP addresses are PI or not. To be followed by a comparitive analysis of US law relating to IP addresses and EU laws.

My searching is progressing, all be it slowly. For some reason now that I am actually looking for information on the topic, I cannot find very many quality works on the topic. How I wish I would have not deleted all those Google feeds.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Finally a broadband inventory

For quite some time I have been suggesting that the only way to solve disparities in broadband penetration across the country is to make a better accounting of the current status of the infrastructure. Finally, it seems that the US Congress has had a eureka moment, in which they also see that merely talking about increasing broadband penetration is not working.

So now we have the Broadband Data Improvement Act, S. 1492. Maybe now, after all of these years, we can finally lay the ground work for a broadband policy. A policy driven by national need and not private corporations.

I know that I, and many others, will be eagerly awaiting the data and reports that come from this act.