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Transparency is superior to trust

I am fascinated by this quote. I think it’s the most beautiful quote, in it’s terseness, I’ve seen since a long time. Wish I invented it!

It is not, though, the motto of Wikileaks, it’s taken from the section on Reproducibility of this Open Science manifesto.

To me, this quote means that validation is superior to peer review.

It is also significant that the quote says nothing about the publishing aspects of Open Science. That is because, I believe, we should split publishing from the discussion about Open Science.

Publishing, scientific publishing I mean, is simply irrelevant at this point. The strong part of Open Science, the new, original idea it brings forth is validation.

Sci-Hub acted as the great leveler, as concerns scientific publication. No interested reader cares, at this point, if an article is hostage behind a paywall or if the author of the article paid money for nothing to a Gold OA publisher.

Scientific publishing is finished. You have to be realistic about this thing.

But science communication is a far greater subject of interest. And validation is one major contribution to a superior scientific method.

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The Library of Alexandra

“Hint: Sci-Hub was created to open papers that are not available online at all. You cannot find these papers in Google or in open access” [tweet by @Sci_Hub]

“Public Resource will make extracts of the Library of Alexandra available shortly, will present the issues to publishers and governments.” [tweet by Carl Malamud]

 

 

Update the Panton Principles please

There is a big contradiction between the text of The Panton Principles and the List of the Recommended Conformant Licenses. It appears that it is intentional, I’ll explain in a moment why I write this.

This contradiction is very bad for the Open Science movement. That is why, please, update your principles.

Here is the evidence.

1. The second of the Panton Principles is:

“2. Many widely recognized licenses are not intended for, and are not appropriate for, data or collections of data. A variety of waivers and licenses that are designed for and appropriate for the treatment of data are described [here](http://opendefinition.org/licenses#Data). Creative Commons licenses (apart from CCZero), GFDL, GPL, BSD, etc are NOT appropriate for data and their use is STRONGLY discouraged.

*Use a recognized waiver or license that is appropriate for data.* ”

As you can see, the authors clearly state that “Creative Commons licenses (apart from CCZero) … are NOT appropriate for data and their use is STRONGLY discouraged.”

2. However, if you look at the List of Recommended Licenses, surprise:

Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 (CC-BY-SA-4.0) is recommended.

3. The CC-BY-SA-4.0 is important because it has a very clear anti-DRM part:

“You may not offer or impose any additional or different terms or conditions on, or apply any Effective Technological Measures to, the Licensed Material if doing so restricts exercise of the Licensed Rights by any recipient of the Licensed Material.” [source CC 4.0 licence: in Section 2/Scope/a. Licence grant/5]

4. The anti-DRM is not a “must” in the Open Definition 2.1. Indeed, the Open Definition clearly uses “must” in some places and “may” in another places.  See

“2.2.6 Technical Restriction Prohibition

The license may require that distributions of the work remain free of any technical measures that would restrict the exercise of otherwise allowed rights. ”

5. I asked why is this here. Rufus Pollock, one of the authors of The Panton Principles and of the Open Definition 2.1, answered:

“Hi that’s quite simple: that’s about allowing licenses which have anti-DRM clauses. This is one of the few restrictions that an open license can have.”

My reply:

“Thanks Rufus Pollock but to me this looks like allowing as well any DRM clauses. Why don’t include a statement as clear as the one I quoted?”

Rufus:

“Marius: erm how do you read it that way? “The license may prohibit distribution of the work in a manner where technical measures impose restrictions on the exercise of otherwise allowed rights.”

That’s pretty clear: it allows licenses to prohibit DRM stuff – not to allow it. “[Open] Licenses may prohibit …. technical measures …”

Then:

“Marius: so are you saying your unhappy because the Definition fails to require that all “open licenses” explicitly prohibit DRM? That would seem a bit of a strong thing to require – its one thing to allow people to do that but its another to require it in every license. Remember the Definition is not a license but a set of principles (a standard if you like) that open works (data, content etc) and open licenses for data and content must conform to.”

I gather from this exchange that indeed the anti-DRM is not one of the main concerns!

6. So, until now, what do we have? Principles and definitions which aim to regulate what Open Data means which avoid to take an anti-DRM stance. In the same time they strongly discourage the use of an anti-DRM license like CC-BY-4.0. However, on a page which is not as visible they recommend, among others, CC-BY-4.0.

There is one thing to say: “you may use anti-DRM licenses for Open Data”. It means almost nothing, it’s up to you, not important for them. They write that all CC licenses excepting CCZero are bad! Notice that CC0 does not have anything anti-DRM.

Conclusion. This ambiguity has to be settled by the authors. Or not, is up to them. For me this is a strong signal that we witness one more attempt to tweak a well intended  movement for cloudy purposes.

The Open Definition 2.1. ends with:

Richard Stallman was the first to push the ideals of software freedom which we continue.

Don’t say, really? Maybe is the moment for a less ambiguous Free Science.

The price of publishing with GitHub, Figshare, G+, etc

Three years ago I posted The price of publishing with arXiv. If you look at my arXiv articles then you’ll notice that I barely posted on arXiv.org since then. Instead I went into territory which is even less recognized as serious by a big part of academia. I used:

The effects of this choice are put in front of my homepage, so go there to read them. (Besides, it is a good exercise to remember how to click on links and use them, that lost art from the age when internet was free.)

In this post I want to explain what is the price I paid for these choices and what I think now about them.

First, it is a very stressful way of living. I am not joking, as you know stress comes from realizing that there are many choices and one has to choose. Random reward from the social media is addictive. The discovery that there is a way to get out from the situation which keeps us locked into the legacy publishing system (validation). The realization that the problem is not technical but social. A much more cynical view of the undercurrents of the social life of researchers.

The feeling that I can really change the world with my research. The worries that some possible changes might be very dangerous.

The debt I owe concerning the scarcity of my explanations. The effort to show only the aspects I think are relevant, putting aside those who are not. (Btw, if you look at my About page then you’ll read “This blog contains ideas from the future”. It is true because I already pruned the 99% of the paths leading nowhere interesting.)

The desire to go much deeper, the desire to explain once again what and why, to people who seem either lacking long term attention capability or having shallow pet theories.

Is like fishing for Moby Dick.

Google segregation should take blame

Continuing from the last post, here is a concrete example of segregation performed by the corporate social media. The result of the US election is a consequence of this phenomenon.

Yesterday I posted on Google+ the article Donald Trump is moving to the White House, and liberals put him there | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian    and I received an anti-Trump comment (reproduced at the end of this post). I was OK with the comment and did nothing to suppress it.

Today, after receiving some more comments, this time bent towards Trump, I noticed that the first one disappeared. It was marked as spam by a Google algorithm.

I restored the comment classified as spam.

The problem is, you see, that Google and Facebook and Twitter, etc, all corporate media are playing a segregation game with us. They don’t let us form opinions based on facts which we can freely access. They filter our worldview.  They don’t provide us means for validation of their content. (They don’t have to, legally.)

The idiots from Google who wrote that piece of algorithm should be near the top list of people who decided the result of these US elections.

______________________

UPDATE: Bella Nash, the identity who posted that comment, now replies the following:

“It says the same thing on yours [i.e. that my posts are seen as spam in her worldview] and I couldn’t reply to it. I see comments all over that  google is deleting posts, some guy lost 28 new and old replies in an hour. How the hell can comments be spam? I’m active on other boards so I don’t care what google does, it’s their site and their ambiguous rules.”

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 10.47.16.png

Theory of spam relativity 🙂

______________________

To be clear, I’m rather pleased about the results, mainly because I’m pissed beyond limits by these tactics. This should not limit the right to be heard of other people, at least not in my worldview. Let me decide if this comment is spam or not:

“In Chicago roughly a thousand headed for the Trump International Hotel while chanting against racism and white nationalism. Within hours of the election result being announced the hashtag #NotMyPresident spread among half a million Twitter users.

UPDATE 2: Some people are so desperate that I’m censored even on 4.chan 🙂 I tried to share there this post, several times, I had a timeout. I tried to share this ironical Disclaimer

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-13-13-14

which should be useful on any corporate media site, and it disappeared.

The truth is that the algorithmic idiocy started with walled garden techniques. If you’re on one social media site, then it should be hard to follow a link to another place. After that, it became hard to know about people with different views. Discussions became almost impossible. This destroys the Internet.