Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who said witty subediting was dead?

Smashing Pumpkins' frontman Billy Corgan's appearance before the U.S. Congress on performers' rights payments for radio inspired that witty headline in Pitchfork.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Long Waves and Creative Capitalism

Technological theorist and historian Carlota Perez has provided an analysis of the current global economic crisis that locates it within 50 year "long wave" theory and provides an analysis of the condition for a sustainable global boom for the 21st century. This is available here and well worth a read.

Long wave theories were first developed by the Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev, who was executed by Stalin for his troubles. They were subsequently developed by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter as well as the Marxist Ernest Mandel. Carlota Perez and Chrstopher Freeman have been pioneers in linking this work to technological developments, around the concept of techno-economic paradigms.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Your views on online news (and you can win an iPod)

I presented on trends in Australian online news today for the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. Thank to Tim Dwyer for the invite. No Powerpoints available but the Podcast of the talk will be available soon.

The Smart Services CRC are seeking your feedback on online news. Is it Barack Obama or Britney Spears for you? Investigative journalism or travel advice? If ou want to give ten minutes of your time, and maybe win an iPod, the survey can be accessed from

Friday, March 6, 2009

Getting Published

Some useful advice from the most recent International Communications Association newsletter on getting published, particularly aimed at graduate students. With the growing competition for academic jobs, and university funding increasingly based on research outputs, this advice is timely indeed.

Simple Tips for Publishing: A Brief Overview

(Adapted from Bourne, P.E. (2005) Ten simple rules for getting published . PLoS Computational Biology, 1(5), 341-342.)

Most graduate students are aware that they will need to learn the process of publishing, in order to achieve long-term career stability. Generally, papers submitted to academic journals have a higher chance of acceptance if they are a) original, b) focused on a central idea that is interesting and concise, and c) written in a coherent and clear style. If possible, consult more experienced academic mentors for advice about revising a student paper, so that it is an acceptable manuscript for publication. Below are a few simple publishing rules presented by Bourne (2005) which we hope will serve as a guide when you are preparing a paper for submission.

Rule 1: Read and learn from others
Read as many papers as you can, mostly in your area of research, but also scan the broader field. Think about the quality of the papers you have read and strive to identify both successful and less than ideal efforts. Reviewing a plethora of research will also give you a more objective perspective of your own work.

Rule 2: Good editors and reviewers will be objective about your work
Strive to develop and present a quality manuscript. The review process can improve the quality of your work. However, reviews may be less beneficial if there are fundamental flaws to your work. Do your best to develop articles that are logical, organized, and rooted in sound methodology.

Rule 3: Strengthen your writing skills
The ability to express complex ideas clearly is essential for success in publishing. Manuscripts that are not well-written will require extensive copyediting, if they are even accepted. Also, ensure that you edit all documents extensively prior to submission.

Rule 4: Learn to live with rejection and revisions
The best response to a rejected paper or a paper with major revisions is to acknowledge the reviewers' comments and respond in an objective manner. If the reviews about the quality of your paper are not ideal, accept it and move on. If a major revision is requested, work on it and address every point given.

Rule 5: Ingredients of good science and reporting
Intriguing articles provide organized and sufficient coverage of the relevant literature, sound methodology and analysis, in addition to thought-provoking discussion. Be mindful of these ingredients when you are reviewing the first draft of your paper. Besides your mentor, get the opinions of other colleagues, including those who are not directly involved in your topic area.

Rule 6: Strive to be a reviewer early in your career
Reviewing other papers will help you learn to write better papers. One way to become a reviewer is to offer to do a preliminary review on papers that others may be currently reviewing. Request to review the final review that was completed by your mentor (or others) and objectively assess the quality of your initial review. Over time, you will have a better understanding of the review process and the necessary elements of successful publications. This will also help you in deciding where to send your paper for publication.

Rule 7: Decide early where to try and publish your paper
Many journals have a presubmission enquiry system. You should use it to get a sense of the novelty of your work and whether the selected journal will be interested in accepting your paper.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Recession hits hard: No food at Chinese Banquets

This from Wednesday 4 March 2009 Courier-Mail online. I suspect the sub-editor meant "No booze, less food at Chinese banquet". Perhaps he/she had just been for a "No food, more booze" dinner.

No food, less booze at China banquets

Article from: Agence France-Presse

From correspondents in Beijing

March 04, 2009 06:25pm

CHINA will no longer wine and dine visiting heads of state at sumptuous banquets, cutting back the fare to just one soup, three dishes and no liquor, a senior official says.

The scaled-down menu comes as China implements government savings and encourages thriftiness in the face of the global financial crisis, said Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for China's
parliament, which convenes this week.

"When our president ... and prime minister invite foreign heads of state, during the state banquet the menu will not exceed one soup and three dishes," Li said.

"No Chinese liquor will be served."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Google Settlement

A very popular satirical site is Stuff White People Like. Stuff White People Like focuses on the preoccupations of American white left-liberals, such as farmers' markets, Toyota Pruises, not watching television, black music that black people no longer listen to (jazz, the blues, "old school" rap), supporting Barack Obama, and threatening to move to Canada.

One thing that White People Like is Hating Corporations (#82):

One of the more popular white person activities of the past fifteen years is attempting to educate others on the evils of multi-national corporations. White people love nothing more than explaining to you how Wal*Mart, McDonalds, Microsoft, Halliburton are destroying the Earth’s culture and resources.
There are some exceptions to this, most notably Apple. Apple products feature as #40 on the list of Stuff White People Like.

I mention this because one thing that could be added to this list of Stuff is hating copyright. Copyright has almost surpassed corporations at the top of this hate list, and corporations who profit from exploiting copyright (Disney, News Corp) feature highly on suchLink a list. In this scenario, potential copyright busters such as Google feature as white knights taking on what authors and copyright critics such as Lawrence Lessig would refer to as Big Media.

I mention all of this as I work my head around the implications of what is known as The Google Settlement. The Google Settlement refers to the settlement of the US Supreme Court case between the Authors Guild (US) and various publishers and Google around the Google Library Project, or the plan to digitize large quantities of works held in various libraries around the world.

As a member of the Copyright Agency Limited, I received information on the Google Settlement from CAL as one of the conditions of the settlement. The relevant information can be found here . Full details on the settlement can be found here.

For authors, the key points are:

What Google is offering: A one-off payment of at least US$60 for each Book and US$15 for each Insert that has been digitised by Google up to 5 May 2009. A searchable database of those Books can be accessed via (click Claim Books and Inserts). If you choose to accept this payment, you cannot subsequently take separate legal action against Google for that digitisation. However, a rights holder can claim the Cash Payment and exclude their Books or Inserts from the other
Google schemes.
• Revenue Model: A share of revenues from the licensed uses Google proposes to offer. Click here for more information.

If you do nothing by 5 May 2009, you are taken to have opted-in to the scheme. To opt out, you need to contact this address in writing:

Google Book Settlement Administrator
C/- Rust Consulting
PO Box 9364, Minneapolis,
MN 55440-9364, USA
This is an unusual development. Is it the privatisation of copyright, or an opening up of new opportunities for author to have their works more widely distributed? Is it good or bad for authors?

If others have thoughts on the Google Settlement and what it means for authors, I would be very keen to hear them. Please post to me on this blog.