This was an exciting week for science: in over 500 cities around the world, people marched for science. But what for actually? Awareness, evaluation, politics? Read Marcel’s short analysis of the March for Science. Not enough, this week starts exciting as well: the Publishers’ Forum 2017 kicks off in Berlin and Sven is there. Still not enough? Well then, follow Felix’ advice on seeking uncharted waters rather than staying in save harbours – there is a lot to explore.
Felix Evert: Partnership for Exploration
Weekly updates of industry news headline often tell of various “partnerships” or “collaborations” between publishers and third parties. However innovative such announcements seem at a first glance, it appears that many of such releases in fact communicate traditional supplier-customer relationships: Let it be publishers partnering with research entities for the supply of additional journal content, or a publisher teaming with a vendor to amend existing software solutions. Rarely, however, you’ll find an announcement indicating that a publisher leaves the coastal sea of daily business for more adventurous open waters.
This week, it is Sage setting the sails as it announces the creation of a Public Data Lab together with Bath University. Presumably, Sage wishes to discover new options to better create and capture value in a political/societal/economic environment where government data is openly available. This partnership truly has explorative character; the outcomes potentially initiate product or business model innovations which’ll give Sage a competitive advantage in the future. It would be great to see fewer updates on everyday business activities in the newsletters and read more about expeditions for the mapping of uncharted waters.
Sven Fund: Partnerships and Networks at the Heart of Publishing?
“Big + small” and how they can and should work together is the topic of the 14th Publishers’ Forum beginning today in Berlin. For everybody working in publishing, it is clear that neither startups nor established industry icons can succeed without cooperation in a transformation that goes much deeper than just replacing printed books by digital files. Be it regulatory changes, the new complexity and how to prepare your company for it or augmented reality – transformation is picking up pace, and it is here.
I have the pleasure to chair the German track of the Publishers’ Forum, and I hope we see each other in a bit. If you cannot make it, get in touch with me to have a chat about the conference and its results: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcel Knöchelmann: March for Science: Re-connecting Science with Society
In about 500 communities around the world, scientists marched for science on Earth Day last Saturday. This was supposed to not be a political protest, yet, there are concerns that marching will not deliver a solution for the problem science has. So, does it harm science to stand up for itself? There is a fear of science being politicised by all the marching. For instance, a postdoc at the University of Chicago is quoted in Nature: “I think it could easily politicize science because, even though the march’s mission statement isn’t anti-Trump, the marchers seem anti-Trump.” Well, if that is true, not going may seem pro-Trump.
Yet, while marching along with many scientists, politicisation of science doesn’t feel like the key issue. As Robert Young writes in the New York Times about being a scientist who wants to stand up for a problem: he was only seen as a scientist “delivering bad news. We [the scientists] were easy marks for those who felt threatened by [scientific] findings.” Standing up is not said to be easy, so he goes on: “we need storytellers, not marchers.” This is the key issue: science is disconnected from society. Where are the storytellers among all the marchers?
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