Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Complaint and culture

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  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Sacha,

    Ooooh. Thanks Sacha, really digging that first link.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn, in reply to Sacha,

    Thanks Sacha, that Michael Nielson article is one the best things I've ever read on the disruptive impact of change.

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Richard Llewellyn,

    Same. Really clear, I thought.
    Admire Clay Shirky for similar reasons.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16755 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Sacha,

    Reading a single article published by one of Elsevier's journals will cost you $31.50. Springer charges €34.95, Wiley-Blackwell, $42. Read 10 and you pay 10 times. And the journals retain perpetual copyright. You want to read a letter printed in 1981? That'll be $31.50.

    Thanks for the interesting link, Sacha.

    Monbiot is right. I recently bought a 1981 paper from an engineering journal as there was no alternative way of getting hold of it. It cost me $30USD and I was only able to print it once and could only save a PDF to my own PC. The printed copy was plastered with warnings about not being allowed to share it or reproduce it.

    The alternative model that is being developed is the open access academic journals - unlimited free public access to journal contents. In the field I work in, we think this is a great idea because a lot of practitioners who are interested in the field (say, people from local and regional authorities) don't necessarily have electronic journal access via a university library and it would be a huge benefit to them to have access to journals in their field. Plus, of course, it's a good idea in itself for reasons explained very well by Monbiot.

    Open access journals have a substantial article submission charge - it's $900USD for one journal I'm involved with. This, of course, is meeting with a lot of resistance from the scientific community. But it does seem to me that it's the future.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 662 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Open access journals have a substantial article submission charge – it’s $900USD for one journal I’m involved with. This, of course, is meeting with a lot of resistance from the scientific community. But it does seem to me that it’s the future.

    And that's the problem, merely loaded on the other end. Departments are now having to choose between 'free' and paid submission. Grubbing your departmental committee for for money is never fun, but especially so if you're a postgraduate or lowly faculty member. You essentially make all research a matter of value for money. I'd actually rather give that decision to a money making journal than to a cash-strapped university.

    Which is to say that these charges bother me tremendously. There are some costs in the system - but I'm unconvinced that the costs have been pared down sufficiently, and distributed equitably.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Breastfeeding: I have rarely - or even never - seen a farmer feeding calves formula from day one. They go out of their way to make sure the collostrum is stuffed into them for at least a week. Otherwise the calf is practically dead. Scours they call it. Too apt a description.

    I offer to suggest the fear and trepidation to breastfeed is one of the major problems. It should come from parents that it is normal and natural to breastfeed. I proffer that those with that attitude are more likely to not have problems with "the latch" and other issues.

    Midwives, Gynos. Yes there are battles. I just wish people would think about the risk management that has to go on in this modern-world-of-today. 150 years ago and your child had a pretty good chance of karking it within a year. Times have changed. On the galactic scale it is incredible the "success rate" we have for lowering child mortality. Which, unfortunately, makes the "errors" in childbirth, be they gyno or midwife, stand out like very sore thumbs. Again, we have contributed to mass improvement to the detriment of individual pain. I cannot help thinking that we do not educate ourselves enough on the fragility of our lives from the womb to the tomb.

    Have we fogotten that we are animals first? If we treated ourselves as animals first and then worked our way up the intelligence chain I think we might have a better chance of understanding how we should treat, and what the fuck happens with, this chemical soup enclosed in a thin epidermis.

    A large majority of us have drawn the short straw or had very near misses with self or family. Example: I have just got back from hospital with partner with suspect detached retina. In the past she/we have "suffered" seven miscarriages, 3 months bedrest to keep the first success brewing, M/C crash, stapedectomy (2), broken legs, internal bleeding to a blood count of 46...............

    As a species I think we are lucky to even be here. Survive it, try to enjoy it. You only have one go at it.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to George Darroch,

    But George, people in universities are not the only users of knowledge. It's all very well for them having free electronic journal access.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 662 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    And that's the problem, merely loaded on the other end.

    I agree there's a structural problem there that hasn't been addressed. It will take a consistent policy response in the interests of all stakeholders especially the public who still pay for much of the original research - and someone has to make that happen. Sounds like it won't be any of the current publishers, whichever model they use.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16755 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I offer to suggest the fear and trepidation to breastfeed is one of the major problems. It should come from parents that it is normal and natural to breastfeed. I proffer that those with that attitude are more likely to not have problems with “the latch” and other issues.

    Woah. That’s extremely patronising. You’re talking about something that, with the best will in the world, might be emotionally and physically traumatic for a new mother. And may simply just not work. Attributing that to an attitude problem on mum’s part is precisely the kind of pressure people have been talking about.

    I have no doubt that babies in the past may have died because they failed to breast-feed properly. We ought to be glad there are alternatives now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Sacha,

    I agree, and I am sympathetic to the point George is making too. But I do think the principle of free public access to knowledge which,as you say, is primarily funded by the public is a good one.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 662 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Carol, I’m not saying that. Both models have severe problems, and it’s naive to pretend either works well right now.

    I’m just saying that almost every academic I know would rather do it as they have always done it, rather than fight their department for one thousand dollars. Independent researchers have absolutely nobody who will pay the publishing costs – they have even more incentive.

    Of course, this is because the production and consumption of knowledge is fractured. The users, producers, buyers (academic libraries, mostly), and regulators (publishers) are all separate and have entirely different incentives and reasons.

    What has worked well (in my opinion) is open-access free publishing. The ANU E Press does this very well, publishing high-quality monographs and reprints, paid by the university itself as the extension of an existing publishing house. It’s run up against constraints (they have an editorial backlog, and their budget isn’t unlimited), but the costs are mainly up-front ones. Once something is on the internet the cost of serving it is very low. Academics love it, because they thousands of downloads instead of dozens of sold copies, and a great increase in citations (their work is getting out there), and readers obviously get high quality products entirely free. They have publishing on demand for those who want paper product.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    One good thing that has happened in the last few years has been an opening up of free access to developing nations. It's unclear how far, or for how long, this will continue, but it does mean that friends in Indonesia aren't stuck in information deserts.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • jessica scott,

    Of course midwives’ (as well as nurses, doctors, plunket etc) manner/politeness should be appropriate when it comes to advocating breastfeeding and new Mums. But when the OVERWHELMING amount of evidence supports breastfeeding as having benefits for both Mother and child, I think it would be remiss to suggest to a mother- ‘look you have two options here, and they’re both equal’. I think a bit of ‘pressure’ is not a bad thing. Like your GP telling you to lose weight or stop smoking. The majority of NZ women aren’t breastfeeding their baby at 4 months old, so I’m always surprised that those women feel like they're ‘bad’ or ‘outsiders’ for formula feeding.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to George Darroch,

    I think we basically agree, George. The only thing is that if academics are going to do it as they have always done it then this is hardly going to revolutionise the system.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 662 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I offer to suggest the fear and trepidation to breastfeed is one of the major problems. It should come from parents that it is normal and natural to breastfeed. I proffer that those with that attitude are more likely to not have problems with “the latch” and other issues.

    "Difficulties breastfeeding" take on a huge number of forms, too - my wife breastfed our first child easily, with no issues at all for the first few weeks - after which she came down with mastitis, which meant she ended up in chronic pain, on antibiotics, for 6 months, still trying to breastfeed because of the pressure from nurses and midwifes to continue. Did they really think that a antibiotic-laced breastmilk from a constantly ill mother was better than formula? Giving up was extremely (physically) painful for her, but information on how to do it and minimise the effects was nearly impossible to get hold of via the experts, because they viewed the premise of the exercise as flawed. I don't think "attitude" had much to do with it somehow.

    Our second child was breastfed for a few weeks until the first signs of mastitis showed up, then promptly moved on to formula.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The alternative model that is being developed is the open access academic journals

    Can someone explain for a lay person why papers can’t just be put on the university website under creative commons? Why do we need the journals at all – other than them acting as “cricket scorers” for the academic community?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    It all becomes clear to me now: if only some blowhard had burst into my hospital room in that first week - while my nipples were painfully bleeding all over my baby's face as I fed him - and told me that breastfeeding difficulties were all in my poor attitude! Then I would magically have had no problems at all!

    I think it would be remiss to suggest to a mother- ‘look you have two options here, and they’re both equal’.

    No one IS suggesting that.

    I think a bit of ‘pressure’ is not a bad thing.

    Could we perhaps be 'supportive and encouraging' to mothers rather than 'accusatory and patronising'? You catch more bees with honey, and all that jazz.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • jessica scott, in reply to Danielle,

    I absolutely agree with you. Being supportive and encouraging does seem to take more time than, in my experience, Plunket nurses, but probably many Midwives too, are able to offer due to big workload.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Ross Mason,

    I offer to suggest the fear and trepidation to breastfeed is one of the major problems. It should come from parents that it is normal and natural to breastfeed.

    "Parents" do think it's normal and natural to breast-feed. So you get new mothers expecting to just instinctively know how to breast-feed, because it's natural. You don't need to be taught to do something that's natural, right? So when there are problems, there's confusion and guilt and a need to be supported. Supported, not bullied. When I nearly gave up on breast-feeding, there was actually fear and trepidation, because each feed was making me cry with pain. The support and experience of my midwife got me through that. I'd suggest a bit less "you must breast-feed" and a bit more "the lactation consultant will be right in to see you" would make more of a difference.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I can't talk to breastfeeding and/or midwifery, not being a mother, but if I may pimp my mates, Isabel wrote a brilliant breastfeeding piece for the Lady Garden a while back.

    Could we perhaps be ‘supportive and encouraging’ to mothers rather than ‘accusatory and patronising’? You catch more bees with honey, and all that jazz.

    Oh, don't be silly, Danielle. You know women can't be trusted to know what's right for themselves or their own bodies and/or offspring. Even when it's other women doing the patronising.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attributing that to an attitude problem on mum’s part is precisely the kind of pressure people have been talking about.

    All the info I have ever read over the last 26 years (eldest's age) suggests it is (or should be) a minority who cannot breast feed. So I think my "more likely" qualifies as a measure of improving the majority if a more positive outlook is taken. And given what I commented later I think negates any patronising view surely. I may have been better to say to approach breastfeeding with more confidence rather than fear and trepidation. In my experience of coaching sport, confidence is everything.

    But then, being a mere male what would I know. I've got no tits to get into a tangle.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Ross Mason,

    But then, being a mere male what would I know. I’ve got no tits to get into a tangle.

    But that wasn't patronising, right?

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Dude. Stop digging.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Midwives, Gynos. Yes there are battles.

    Why have a battle when you can have both? Well, with twins they sort of encourage it (Midwife & Obs at least). They worked well as a team too. I'm not going into details of the birth, because last I looked, not my body, but we were grateful for them both. As a team.

    Two teams working together in perfect harmony. I should write a song.

    As to the breastfeeding, it's a whole new kind of privilege, IMnshO, and as such, at the point you think about judging other people's experiences, just don't.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Fooman, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Can someone explain for a lay person why papers can’t just be put on the university website under creative commons? Why do we need the journals at all – other than them acting as “cricket scorers” for the academic community?

    An author (me) of a few papers published in academically peer reviewed journals writes:

    Published journal articles are a metric of academic success and/or prestige and/or value of the research. To be published in said journals requires licensing or transfer of copyright. Quite often, the paper is not available for re-distribution under a different license. Publishers also tend to get quite snotty if papers are effectively duplicated in different journals.

    FM

    P.S. With respect to don.lotto - his postings on nz.general (ever since I started reading Usenet in the early '90s) were a joyous insight into how people are different - I remember being amazed one day when he made a posting that was almost conventional english - saw his interview on some TV news/current affair program (from memory, it was about his eagle-eyed dedication to keeping Wellington council infrastructure in tip-top shape) - he seemed like a fairly well spoken, if pedantic, normal guy.

    Lower Hutt • Since Dec 2009 • 87 posts Report Reply

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