Re: Are Green OA Self-Archiving Mandates Maoist Monstrosities?

From: Alma Swan <a.swan_at_TALK21.COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 16:27:24 -0000

Jan Szczepanski commented on some remarks I made in a recent interview thus:

> In the late fifties Mao Zedong introduced that Great Leap and now
> fifty years later we are going to take a giant leap according to Dr
> Swan.
> In China backyard steel furnances would do the job; in Dr Swans world
> it's the mandate and local institutional repository that is going to
> change the world away from big industry and the capitalist society.
> Open Access is inevitable according to Dr Swan, as once Socialism was.
> Mandate is the key to the Open Access World.

> Instead of Five Year Plans we will have Metrics to see to it that the
> way forward is the Green Way.
> The commissars overlooking that the Giant Leap will happen is
> "Pro-Vice- Chancellors" at the universities, the real reprsentatives
> of the research communities.

I doubt I'm the only one to find the leap from OA mandates to Maoism
somewhat challenging. According to Dr Szczepanski's mandate/Maoism link the
new mandatory rule on NIH-funded research surely means that the US now has a
communist Congress, something the Washington Post and New York Times
surprisingly failed to recognise, thus missing the scoop of the millennium.
Nevertheless, we can now look forward to the outing of all those closet
communist rectors and provosts who introduce mandatory OA policies. Clearly
OA is going to be much more effective than McCarthy ever was.

> How will the future be?
> AS: Once the content and the infrastructure are in place we are going
> to see knowledge take a giant leap. The way to view it is that the
> last 7-8,000 years or so of human civilisation's struggle for
> knowledge has taken place on one plane, determined and constrained by
> what our own brains can absorb, put together and make sense of: now we
> are about to move to another plane altogether, with the help of
> machine brains.
> >From profit makers to machine brains, what a future!

It is easier to make the leap from mandates to machine brains (semantic
computer technologies), though, - the link is that mandates produce the open
access content on which those machine tools can work - and those who are
interested in this issue may like some of the resources that I found helpful
when trying to get to grips with both the potential and the technologies of
the semantic web:

1. A JISC Briefing Paper on text-mining written by the experts at the UK's
National Centre for Text Mining:

2. For a nice, relatively recent overview of the semantic web, particularly
helpful on the issue of ontologies and explaining clearly how they are
applied in life science research: Shadbolt et al - "The Semantic Web

3. John Wilbanks on text mining the neuroscience literature. Try this:, but if you can, do go and listen
to him in person. John spellbinds a conference hall with his energetic and
jargon-free explanation of semantic tools at work on neuroscience content.

4. Peter Murray-Rust's group's work on mining the chemical literature, now
well-developed: For example, see "Communication and re-use of chemical
information in biosciences."

5. Clark et al's interesting and forward-looking pedagogical perspective:
Clark K, Parsia B and Hendler J: "Will the semantic web change education?".

To help things along, the Nature Publishing Group has developed OTMI, the
Open Text-Mining Interface, which enables machines to get at the facts in a
text-based research article (while preventing humans from reading it) for
text-mining purposes.

Alma Swan
Key Perspectives Ltd
Truro, UK

P.S. The link to the original interview, for anyone who wants to read my
('Maoist') remarks in the context of the whole discussion, is:
Received on Thu Jan 17 2008 - 16:54:26 GMT

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