Stephen E. Arnold: Open Review Breaks the Back of Citation Cabals and Incestuous Science

Stephen E. Arnold

Stephen E. Arnold

Open Review Brings Peer Review to the Scientific Masses

This seems like a step in the right direction for the world of academic publishing. ResearchGate News announces, “Peer Review Isn’t Working—Introducing Open Review.” We know that increasingly, papers based on shoddy research have been making it into journals supposedly policed by rigorous peer-review policies. Now, ResearchGate has launched a countermeasure—Open Review brings the review process to the public. The write up happily tells us:

“We’re excited to announce the launch of Open Review today. It’s designed to help you openly voice feedback and evaluate research that you have read and worked with, bringing more transparency to science and speeding up progress.

“With Open Review you can:

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Apr 7

Robin Good: Curators as Filter Feeders and Ecosystem Engineers – You Are What You Link To…

Robin Good

Robin Good

Back in 2003 visionary artist Anne-Marie Schleiner wrote an inspiring paper entitled “Fluidities and Oppositions among Curators, Filter Feeders and Future Artists” describing the future role of online curators as nature’s own filter feeders. Anne-Marie is clearly referring to curators to and filter feeder in art world, but her rightful intuitions are equivalently applicable to the larger world of information, data, digital and content curation as well.

But let me explain better.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

First. The term “filter feeders” is used in nature to describe a group of animals which thrives on its ability to filter organic matter floating around them. From Wikipedia: “Filter feeders are animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialized filtering structure. Some animals that use this method of feeding are clams, krill, sponges, baleen whales, and many fish (including some sharks). Some birds, such as flamingos, are also filter feeders. Filter feeders can play an important role in clarifying water, and are therefore considered ecosystem engineers.” From Wikipedia: “In marine environments, filter feeders and plankton are ecosystem engineers because they alter turbidity and light penetration, controlling the depth at which photosynthesis can occur.[4]”

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Second. If you re-read this last sentence slowly and look at what it could mean if applied to the field of content curation, it would read to me something like this: “In large information ecosystems like the web, filter feeders/content curators and content itself are ecosystem engineers because they: a) directly influence our ability to inform ourselves effectively and to discern truth from false and useless info (turbidity) b) shed light and clarity on different subjects which would otherwise remain obscure (light penetration) c) determine our ability to make sense of our own generated information streams (photosynthesis).” A very inspiring parallel indeed, giving a way to visualize the true importance and role that curation, disenfranchised from the confines of museums and art galleries, could have on the planetary information ecosystem. Anne-Marie writes: “Most web sites contain hyperlinks to other sites, distributed throughout the site or in a “favorites” section. Each of these favorite links sections serves as a kind of gallery, remapping other web sites as its own contents. Every web site owner is thus a curator and a cultural critic, creating chains of meaning through association, comparison and juxtaposition, parts or whole of which can in turn serve as fodder for another web site’s “gallery.” Site maintainers become operational filter feeders, feeding of other filter feeders sites and filtering others’ sites. Links are contextualized, interpreted and “filtered” through criticism and comments about them, and also by placement in the topology of a site. The deeper a link is buried, the harder it may be to find, the closer to the surface and the frontpage, the more prominent it becomes, as any web designer can attest to. I am what I link to and what I am shifts over time as I link to different sites… … In the process, I invest my identity in my collection – I become how I filter.” Anne-Marie vision (2003), pure and uninfluenced by what we have seen emerge in the last few years, paints a very inspiring picture of the true role of content curators and of the key responsibility they do hold for humanity’s future. Inspiring. Visionary. Right on the mark. 10/10

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Jul 14

Robin Good: Blekko Groups Online Search Curation on the Fly

Robin Good

Robin Good

Curates by Source and Category

Blekko Home Page

Blecko / Extreme Poverty

Blecko / Infectious Disease

Blecko / Environmental Degradation

Blecko / Inter-State Conflict

Blecko / Civil War

Blecko / Genocide

Blecko / Other Atrocities Human

Blecko / Proliferation Weapons

Blecko / Terrorism

Blecko / Transnational Crime

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Jun 2

John Robb: #Bitcoin Many Global Uses

Categories: Money,Ratings
John Robb

John Robb

#Bitcoin as a Publishing System: From Wikileaks to Pedophile Links

Bitcoin is an open source software system.  That means nobody owns it.

Up until now, it’s been used as a decentralized currency system.

Bitcoin makes it possible to make non-reversible decentralized transactions on a global scale.

It’s visibility as a currency has been good for bitcoin.  Speculation has driven up the price of bitcoin to a market cap over $1 billion.

That’s attracted lots of use and investment activity (mostly in mining), which has grown bitcoin much faster than it would have grown otherwise.

However, one thing that most people don’t understand:  bitcoin is more than just a currency.

NOTE: Actually, it’s more of a fungible share of ownership in the system than a pure currency, as you will see.

Firstly, it’s the first system to deploy that solves the distributed consensus problem in computing (a hard problem).   That means a clone of the system has many potential uses.  For example, it could be used a global reputation system (as in, everyone on the system says this person has the good reputation they claim).

It also some uses in its current form that most people don’t know.  For example, it has a limited capability to publish information.  It was built into the system by the original designer, who left some notes on what the system was originally designed to do.

That publishing capability was put into use a couple of days ago when someone publish 2.5 MB of Wikileaks cables in the bitcoin blockchain.  It cost a bit of money (about $500) to accomplish that, but the information that was published is now going to be public forever.

Of course, it didn’t take long for someone to up the ante.  Someone decided to publish links to pedophile links in the blockchain.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Bitcoin responds to this.

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Apr 30

Lynn Wheeler: Open Source Rating to Smarch Ratings Crime Ring in NYC?

Categories: Ratings

Lynn Wheeler

Testimony In the congressional hearings into the pivotal role that the rating agencies played in the financial mess, was that the rating agencies were paid for triple-A ratings even when both the rating agencies and the sellers knew that the toxic CDOs weren’t worth triple-A. TV news commentary during the hearings was that the rating agencies would likely avoid federal prosecution with the threat of downgrading US gov. ratings.

Can Open Source Ratings Break the Ratings Agency Oligopoly?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Yves here. One of the causes of the financial that should have been relatively easy to fix was the over-reliance on ratings agencies. They wield considerable power, suffer from poor incentives, in particular, that they can do terrible work yet are at no risk of being fired thanks to their oligopoly position, and are seldom exposed to liability (they have bizarrely been able to argue that their research is journalistic opinion, which gives them a First Amendment exemption). But they are not big enough moneybags to be influential donors, nor are they critical to the financial infrastructure.

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Dec 5