Here are three upcoming talks on open source for the next six months in 2014:
I wish I was more consistent in announcing public talks…
Richard Gabriel and Jonathan Edwards are programming the future. Submit your demos!
Occasionally companies approach me with the following proposal: If I’m willing to supervise one of their employees for an external Ph.D. thesis, they’ll pay into my University budget an annual lump sum, typically something like EUR 10000. I almost always reject such proposals, unless I can change some of the critical terms, because these proposals are highly problematic. To understand this, please follow along.
The company does the following math: They’ll hire someone with a recent Master’s degree, typically for a research project at the company and on a contractor basis. Then, they’ll promise the contractor that he or she can use some of their time to complete a dissertation, because they argue the project will provide enough research substance. To prove this, they’ll use the professor to confirm to the contractor that they will take them on as a Ph.D. student. A going rate for such type of contractor is (a surprisingly low) EUR 2000 per month. Times twelve months + the professor’s lump sum makes EUR 34000 per year for the company (ignoring company overhead). The official cost of a Ph.D. student at a Bavarian University is EUR 75000. Voila, the company just saved EUR 41000 a year (ignoring other University costs). However, the contractor is much worse off, because no social duties are being paid for them.
As an academic, I perform a fair number of reviews. Usually, that’s part of the system, i.e. it is a give and take and fair exchange between colleagues and publishers without any monetary remuneration changing hands at all.
Then my university library complained about Elsevier’s predatory pricing and I decided to stop reviewing papers for Elsevier publications to support freedom of research and my university’s budget.
Next, I ran into the situation of wanting access to an Elsevier paper. Usually I don’t cite Elsevier papers; I just ignore them. In this case, however, I was actually curious about the paper content and wanted to use it for a talk.
Getting access to that paper took two weeks and it came too late for my talk, see this anecdotal description. However, this gave me the following idea: Why not ask for full free access to the journal in return for the reviewing service I’m providing?
Sounds like a no-brainer and I guess many folks have already asked for it. So did I, just now. Not that I’m expecting to receive a yes but it is important to make clear that predatory pricing like Elsevier’s should come to an end.
I held a talk on open source user foundations today, at the OpenUp Camp in Nuremberg. The slides are available as a PDF or on slideshare, embedded below:
As a professor of computer science I get to write a lot of reviews: For Bachelor and Master theses, for dissertations, for grant proposals, and for conference and journal paper submissions. I’d like to explain the logic of the reviews I write, using conference and journal submissions as the example. It is pretty simple:
The purpose of a review is to make a recommendation to a committee (or an editor) on how to handle a particular paper submission.
In my mind, a good review starts with the actual recommendation to the committee or the editor. All that follows is a substantiation of this recommendation.
Please consider submitting a paper to Onward!Essays at SplashCon 2014. This year, SplashCon, and with it Onward!, will return to one of its favorite locations, Portland, OR. For the call for papers, see this link or this PDF. Disclaimer: I’m on the program committee.