You are browsing the archive for Comment.

“I believe we can ultimately win” – a personal recap of Rufus Pollock’s visit

- March 21, 2016 in Comment, Meetup

Open Knowledge founder Rufus Pollock paid us a visit on March 14. The ideas he brought left not only our community coordinator Sonja inspired (but she’s the one who wrote this recap).

— Rufus Pollock visited Vienna last week. For those of you who haven’t heard of him: He’s only the founder of Open Knowledge. The whole international network. No big deal. I knew of him even before I joined Open Knowledge Austria a year and a half ago, but Monday was the first time I got to meet him in person. He’s famous for his inspiring talks and tangible narratives, so I was considerably excited.

Selfie at the MeetUp: Rufus, Sonja and Stefan. Photo cc-by Sonja Fischbauer

After Rufus had given interviews to Austrian journalists, he sat down with the board members of Open Knowledge Austria and me for an internal meeting. We are currently reshaping our organization, redefining our goals and the means to achieve them, so his input could not have come at a better time. As of now, we are working on a manifesto, that will incorporate many new input we gained from that meeting. We’ll share it with you as soon as we’ve put our ideas into words. In the evening, about 25 people joined us for the MeetUp at Raum D, Museumsquartier, where Rufus shared his vision for the open movement during a fireside chat. I will not attempt to sum up everything he said (there will be an extra blog with audio and video recordings for that) – but rather share with you the essence of what I was able to take away for me, personally.

It’s a surprise to no one: The world is changing.

Our world is transforming from the industrial age into the information age. Information as a resource is fundamentally different from material goods: It’s got the unique ability to be in many places at once and it can even multiply when shared. The crucial question that’s up in the air right now is: How do we treat this new resource? Do we treat information like we treat material goods, or do we implement new rules for it’s use and distribution? This is the discussion that Open Knowledge must lead. This is our responsibility. We are creating new rules and we fight to establish them.  

It’s not an easy fight.

Our society has had many hundreds of years to shape our ideas of ownership around the rules of material goods. So, naturally, change does not come easily. But it’s a profound thing to fight for; Nothing less than the question of how our world gets structured in the future. I left the evening inspired and excited. But most importantly, I was reassured that what we do is important. “Openness is a political issue of the highest order”, says Rufus. “A better world is possible, but it does take collective effort to achieve it.” We need to change peoples minds, companies’ actions and our countries’ laws and politics. There are many obstacles and it will maybe get worse before it gets better. But, Rufus adds:  

“I believe that we can ultimately win.”

So do I. —

Join us in our quest for making the world a better place by making it open! Say hi on Twitter, come to our next MeetUp, or support us with a membership.

  You can find our more about Rufus’ ongoing projects and his vision at rufuspollock.org.

貼近使用者思維的開發才是有智慧

- August 7, 2015 in Comment

8月6日晚上在電視上看到了某個法人在新聞媒體上,分享了掃描一維條碼就可以知道產品履歷的App。 這個技術讓我想起了當初參與「開放食庫 」專案的目的相同,都希望提供消費者在選購包裝食品時能清楚了解食品的生產履歷,藉由透明的生產履歷資訊,表達廠商對食品生產流程的控管,間接表示這個食品是安全的。 依據我對該法人網站上面既有資訊的了解,這個應該是有以前的一個專案衍生出來的產品。 而這個產品資料庫裡面的資料也是有限的可能食品雲資料庫是雷同的。當使用者掃描一維條碼時,就會開啟視窗連結到網站讀取生產履歷。 先談網路應用好了,儘管手持式上網裝置普及,但並不代表每一個人的手機隨時連接網路,也不見得沒有每個人都在手機上裝有掃描一維或是二維條碼的APP。所以:
  1. 用戶端不見得隨時連結得到網路。
  2. 他是否願意裝解讀條碼的工具?現在許多使用者在自己常用的裝置上裝了不少的APP,也不會安裝太多功能雷同的APP。目前台灣廠商也只願就自己所擁有的產品資料來開發食品安全和履歷追蹤APP,如果消費者選購的是不同品牌的產品,他需要安裝多少APP?
  3. 為什麼為了一個不常用的功能裝這樣的工具?如果你實際進行生活用品的採購,買個包裝的肉、菜、泡麵,都要耗費掃瞄、連線跑出結果的時間。我要花一倍的時間在購物嗎?
  4. 一個消費者為什麼要去掃描條碼去取得一些他根本無法判讀的資訊? 因為在掃描條碼後他可能出現的是產品的製造商、食物原料的供應者、 加工廠商的資料…。對一個只是想買「安全食物的消費者」來說看到了這些廠商的資料並不代表這些資料是安全的 ,也僅知道這些列出的資訊而已。
  5. 就消費者的角度而言,因為信任與相信這個廠商、品牌,所以我購買商品。他對於食品安全的認知在於,今天購買的廠商與品牌是可以信任的,銷售通路是可以信任,所以他購買了產品。如果不信任,他沒有必要於購買時花時間掃瞄資料,一個不獲信任的商品,消費者何必再去購買?如果他信任的產品為什麼在購買之前還要掃瞄?
就生產者的角度而言,今天生產了一個食品,食品來源可能有加工商、原料商,在銷售端有外包裝、物流商、銷售通路需要管理。今天生產了一系列的產品,需要印製多少個 QR Code?需要印製多少的產品條碼?一個產品條碼就對應所有的食品嗎?那這樣子也無法保證今天消費者買到的任何一個產品都是安全的食品,只能跟消費者保證我這一批產品是安全的。 其次,當廠商願意配合產生不同的條碼時,要如何管理不同條碼的商品到哪一個銷售點?他如何在物流的過程中保障說產品在運送過程中是被安全運送的?那在銷售端的店面裡面的商品是有良好儲存的?這個就生產者的角度來說他是沒有辦法控制的? 政府部門所擁有的,可能是進出口商、加工廠商的資料、有無定期接受食品安全相關法規、工安或公安相關法規檢查的資料,企業部門所擁有的可能是該品牌產品所擁有的資料,假設政府和企業部門都願意將這些資訊開放出來:
  1. 消費者透過這些資訊取得什麼?
  2. 有這些資訊就表示今天購買的產品夠安全嗎?
  3. 要如何讓消費者用最簡單沒有門檻的方式來取得資訊?
很多產品在開發時的原意都是讓消費者以最簡單的方式去取得信任度高的資訊,但這背後的開發及驗證都不簡單,甚至開發時只以開發者的角度去想產品如何設計,卻忘了加入使用者情境,僅管做了多次的測試,卻依然陷在開發者的思維裡。 今天台灣各地都在談如何發展智慧城市,都在談如何透過數據應用、行動寬頻來讓消費者過得更方便,但最大的限制在於出了這個區域到其他城市時,就得換另一個城市的腦袋,而不是一個介面就可以在全台灣悠遊;又例如,今天我選購了A牌的冷氣機、B牌的電風扇、C牌的吹風機,如何在我使用這些產品時,知道些不同品牌的耗電量如何?要如何透過最簡單的方式,甚至在不連結網路的前提下,讓使用者取得家庭能源的消耗資訊?如何保障消費者在安全的資料傳輸環境中取得這些資訊?以及個人資訊不會因為使用產品而外洩? 每一個問題都代表著開發者、使用流程規劃都需要更貼近使用者行為,去了解不同層面使用者行為,小至個人,大至家庭、團體、社會組織到整個城市,只有完整的規劃,才能知道自己需要什麼樣的資料、如何分析資料、從正確的資料來源取得。
作者:Y.Z

快評:交通部大數據的問題

- July 27, 2015 in Comment

18267956530_3fe5c6259f_o 交通部的新聞稿:交通部與六都共同達成交通大數據六大核心共識 過度著重分析 整個基調很明顯完全側重於分析,或對大數據只有在分析的這一段願意公開承認其價值。只要有碰過數據和資料的人都知道,要從資料中萃取出價值,分析只是其中的一個環節。前面後面都有更多免去不了的功夫。其他各個環節沒有特別強調,應該有幾種可能,一種是已有交通部部內(如運研所、統計處和管理資訊中心)或是六都交通局內的相關編制,自行統包扛去業務,但此法在大數據的時代,相當危險。第二種是主其事者,真的不知道這事不是只有分析而已。但部內和六都各單位限於交通評估專業本來就是相對封閉的政務和產業生態,想要搭上大數據甚至是開放資料(即便是 G2G 而已),業務本身的強烈本位考量,自然就限縮了所謂交通部在此事推進所反應在會議的議題設計上。 不過,六大核心共識是什麼? 三大方向是什麼:(一)公共運輸服務之創新、(二)重大交通路況疏導,以及(三)提升交通安全。 所謂公共運輸服務之創新,「運輸服務」指的範圍是什麼?是指公營的運輸服務體系內的創新(台鐵?),還是包含民營業者服務面的創新(如市區巴士)?還是依附在特許都市特殊軌道系統的服務創新(如小額付費)?還是交通監理面的服務創新?創新的目的是什麼?為什麼要創新?解決了什麼問題?還是發現了什麼新問題的苗頭,不得已要導入大數據的思維?或是,在交通部幾個單位、六都的交通單位之間,根本就連基本資料交換的功夫沒有做好,所以才要特地鎖定在公共運輸服務之創新,來處理本來資料治理缺乏想像、沒有實質進度,導致缺乏常態平台、機制和默契的困境? 所謂的重大交通路況疏導,是大數據的問題嗎?大數據拿來解決這問題,值不值得? 提昇交通安全這點,大概所有的人都不會有什麼特別的意見。而是在怎麼做的層面會有本位和專業的不同。例如交通安全的指標是什麼?支撐這些指標的訊息效度為何,例如交通事故死亡人數,各縣市自行整理和上繳匯報的資料,更新頻率和質量都相當有待改善的空間。在資料本身的質量還無法提供在決策面能有更快反應的空間(例如一個月出一次報表),直接分析這些次級資料的限制是什麼?值得直接就下去分析嗎?還是在「大數據分析工作小組」裡反應比較好?這屬於分析業務嗎? 大問題和新問題? 什麼是交通部自己的大問題?新問題呢?哪些新問題是透過大數據思維才能獲得解法的依循?那些是地方政府的痛呢?六都的交通問題,有一樣也有不一樣的,那些是什麼?這是否可以透過 G2G 的資料交換,讓面貌更為清晰,讓交通部的這個平台和這個小組,能起草的更有價值? 交通管理是交通問題的上游嗎?會不會都市開發計畫才是上游?那麼交通工程呢?一條路做了下去若做的不好,造成事故頻發,是交通管理的範疇嗎?若做下去做的很好,但事故仍頻發,那麼地方政府交通和警政單位之間的資料交換和聯繫是什麼?這些資料交換是否最後可以影響到交通管理的上游,讓某些特定交通管理場景的下游不藥而癒? 如果是台北的知名公車專用道拆了,還是台中的 BRT 專用道轉型廢掉了,那麼交通評估怎麼做?交通部的這個分析小組,這個三年計畫,這個分包下去的計畫,能不能處理道這一段,真正有些拓展大數據和交通「管理」領域的味道? 數據的洞見怎麼進入交通管理的決策?怎麼進入交通工程的決策?怎麼進入公共運輸服務的決策?決策的是哪些人?這些人習慣數據決策嗎?數據的決策怎麼插入決策的流程?靠會議上印出來的紙本報表?另有衡量的指標?交通會報?還是? 資料的交換? 舉一個地方政府(位階類似台北市大安區)的資料交換現況。這個地方政府有兩個主要的資料交換平台,為65個單位提供資料登記、查詢和共享和交換的業務服務,這四種業務服務的定義都不同,不是如字面上想當然耳可以互相替換(交通部這新聞稿也有這毛病)。截至2015年6月9日為止,統整後的服務共有1083個資料表的描述,資料指標超過12706項,每月交換批次約600多次,交換總量超過4000萬條。在政務資料應用權限的部分,分為分析、共享、公開和開放四級。對內向政府各部門提供資料共享和資料分析,對外向市民提供公開資訊 (public information) 和開放資料 (open data)。至於對內有哪些業務單位加入這平台?工商、產業、勞動、社福、民政、衛生、財政、衛生、教育、警政等都包含在內。 另外,在這個地方政府轄內的登記註冊公司,約有16萬家之譜。 我想請問的是,交通部運輸研究所在這部份 (G2G) ,不知道自我的期許可能是什麼。又,交通部的其他單位,例如統計、資訊以及本部等,對於 G2G 又有什麼樣的具體想法。在開了一個關鍵的會議之後,應該有更紮實、全面的想法才是。 作者:TH

城市系列:短評台北市智慧城市委員會

- July 6, 2015 in Comment, Featured

19281640218_d7699559ba_k 日前在台北市智慧城市委員會的發言脈絡,簡單重新把想法整理。
  1. 我們先從題目開始,「智慧城市」就是 Urban 掛(都市規劃)對上 ICT 掛(資通訊),而 ICT 掛又可以拉出來一個目前流行的 Internet 等後面一大掛的輕量級選手。

  2. 會議會有如此精采的討論(這很難得!),在於市府目前想法多以 urban 為主軸,但這也無可厚非。幾個本地城市發展,本來就是 urban 的資源、權力、位階和生態圈比較豐富,這也反應在政務官的背景。ICT 想從「智慧」切下去,對到 urban 習慣的作法,本來就不好切的很全面。切的很快、很全面,而且直接與市民相關的,似乎走到最後都有點問題(如 Wifly)。但對 urban 比較有用(如管線資訊中心)的 ICT 部分,又不是直接面對城市的居民(或網民),很難被 appreciate,啟動的靜摩擦力也會很大。這部份還有類似 BIM 這樣的東西,我個人不覺得一般的台灣 ICT 甚至 Internet 業者會關注這一塊。

  3. 不過 ICT/Internet 在 Urban/Renovation 所服務的場域(例如想要轉型的城市),可能服務的人口很快的就會比 urban 還多。這就是我說的網路人口紅利的概念 [a] [b]。台北市在這一個部分應該是很明顯紅利的。但看看各局處的編制,交通大隊有多少人,資訊局有多少人。這兩邊所處理事情的面貌以及要服務的對象,我不覺得後者會比前者少。但從編制來看,很顯然資訊單位就很辛苦了。

  4. 「交通」剛好是現場列席相關局處內比較奇特的,不完全是 urban,但受到 urban 影響很大。也不能說完全是 ICT,但卻有 ICT 能夠大為發展的空間,交通不能再傻傻的土法煉鋼啊。

  5. ICT/Internet 和 urban 發展所強調的「空間」和「地域」,在台灣好像不是很落的下來(潮詞叫做公共服務的 O2O)。簡單一點來說,例如一個地域的議題拋出來,有意見的可能都不是跟這地域議題切身的利益相關者(如住民、通勤人口等),所以 ICT/Internet 這種本身就極具有超地域特性的領域,要轉換到能透過 urban 強力所主導的軸線然後發展一些作法(如實證場域),很容易走的見樹不見林。

  6. 所以專案辦公室 (PMO) 的組成就至關重要,這部分是 hold 不 hold 的住的關鍵,也是轉換上面(雲端)到下面(城市、場域),或是轉換權力結構的下面(網民?群眾智慧)到上面(都市計畫)的關鍵機制。

  7. 這部份我就沒提了,和台北市遇到同樣問題的城市,在東亞可能不少。問題多的地方,解法可能也要很多。問題多的地方而且人口數量很大的地方,解法要很能 scale。社會問題多的地方、人口有一定數量,而且網路社會發達的城市,怎麼孵出「智慧」的解決方案,這是同樣樣貌的城市(東亞、南亞、中南美?)都會有興趣的。當然也有一些是來自於網路社會發達,但人口數量不高的城市,這對台北市合不合用,PMO 可能要多看多讀多接觸一些實際在那個城市的人。

[a] http://blog.schee.info/2014/12/13/net-demographic-dividend/
[b] http://blog.schee.info/2014/12/31/growth-strategy-demographic-dividend-taipei/ 作者:TH Schee

開放政府夥伴關係宣言(草稿)

- June 5, 2015 in Comment

本文譯自 Open Government Partnership 官方網站,授權條款為 Creative Commons Attribution 3.0,協同翻譯作業區域在 Transifex 的 OGP-Lingua。譯文時間為2012年10月。 2011年9月 身為開放政府夥伴關係的成員,我們謹尊聯合國人權宣言、聯合國反腐敗公約,以及其他國際人權和政府治理的典範機制。 我們認知到來自全世界的人民,都要求他們的政府更為開放。他們訴求能夠更為深入的參與公共事務,並且尋求讓政府更為透明、有反應、更能承擔責信,以及更有效率的各種作法。 我們承認每個國家都處於宣揚開放政府的不同階段,而且我們所追求的途徑,也會根據各自國家的優先目標、國情差異,以及國民渴求等,而有所考量。 我們接受責任,把握這個契機,願意強化政務透明、對抗腐敗、賦權人民,並且擁抱新科技,以創造更有效能和責信之政府。 在國際交流、實現市民參與公共服務改善、管理公共資源、促進創新,以及創造更安全社區的部分,我們堅持開放的價值。我們擁抱透明和開放政府的原則,以期在自己的國家和日益相互依存的世界裡,實現繁榮、增進福祉,與保護人類尊嚴的目標。 在此,我們共同宣告如下的承諾: 增加政府活動訊息的近用。 政府收集和代替國民保管資訊,因此國民有權利要求政府提供政務資訊。我們承諾會宣傳資訊近用,以及加強在各層級政府的政務資訊揭露。我們承諾會進一步努力系統化蒐集和出版政府預算,以及重要的公共服務和活動資訊。我們承諾會主動提供高附加價值的資訊,即時釋出,讓公眾能夠容易發掘、理解和使用,這包含了原始資料,還有利於重製的資料格式。我們承諾若有因不當隱瞞訊息而遭受損失的事件發生時,會致力提供補救措施的有效訊息管道,這也包括了補救過程的監督。我們認識到在促進公民社會獲得公開資料的部份,開放格式是非常重要的,不只如此,促進政府資訊系統的互相整合,也會因此獲得突破。我們承諾會從公民諮議開始,以確定什麼樣的資訊有著最大的價值,並誓言在最大程度上,將公民諮議的結果列入考量。 支持公民參與。 在決策和政策制定的過程,我們重視所有人的參與權利,平等而不受歧視。在公民參與的部份,則包含了婦女的完全參與,因為這能夠提高政府的效能,也有利於知識、創新意圖和監督能力的發展。我們承諾,會使政策制定和決策更加透明,並且建立與公民諮詢的管道,深化公民參與的發展,以監督和評估政府活動。我們承諾,在符合本宣言的精神之下,保護非營利組織和民間組織的運作,這包含自由言論,結社和表達意見的能力。我們承諾將建立機制,以更好的方式,實現政府、民間組織和企業之間的合作。 在我們的部門實施最高標準的職業操守。 具有責信的政府,需有高道德標準和公職人員之行為準則。我們承諾會有強健的反腐敗政策、機制和作為,強化法律規範,以確保公共採購管理的透明。我們承諾將維護或建置法規架構,讓政府高階官員的財產申報資料能夠透明化。我們承諾將頒佈相關規定,以保護舉報者。在尊重特定法令對於執法訊息保護的規範之下,我們承諾,將提供廉政和執法績效的資訊給公眾,以及求助這些機構的步驟資訊。我們承諾,要防止在公共和私營部門間收受賄絡或其他營私的現象,並且分享反賄賂的專業知識。 增強技術近用性以確保開放和責信。 新興的技術提供了資訊共享,公民參與和協作的契機。我們意欲運用這些技術,讓民眾能藉以透過更多的方式,了解他們的政府在做什麼,以及影響決策的關鍵是什麼。我們致力於開發便利和安全的網路環境,提供服務平台,鼓勵公眾參與,分享資訊和想法。我們認知到,提供公平和便宜的技術是一項挑戰,也願意致力於追求更好的網路與行動網路近用,同時也會發掘和推廣公民參與的替代機制和管道。我們承諾要鼓勵民間和產業辨認有效和創新的作法,善用新興技術,賦權人民,促進透明。我們也認知到新技術的運用,克需政府支援公民來使用相關技術的配套能力。我們將致力支持願意運用技術革新來改善政府的公職人員和市民。我們也明白,技術是一種補充性作法,而不是用來取代清晰、可用和有用的資訊。 我們承認,開放政府是一個不斷的過程,需要持續的承諾作法。我們公開的揭露任何致力於實現相關原則的作法,進行公民諮議,擬定發展計畫,並且在遭遇新的挑戰與契機時,更新我們的作法。 我們承諾將以身作則,即使在此宣言不具法律約束力的情況,在自願的基礎承諾上,透過與其他國家分享最佳實踐經驗和專業知識,協助其推進開放政府。我們的目標是培育創新和激盪改革,而非制定某種標準或國家排名來作為國際合作或協助的前提條件。我們強調全面性開放途徑宣傳的重要,願意透過技術近用,來支援政府單位進行開放的基礎能力建構。 我們承諾將擁戴這些原則:除了我們的國際參與之外,也願意共同培育全球性的開放政府文化,進而賦權公民,發展二十一世紀的參與型政府。 在2011年9月20日擁護本宣言的國家:
  • 巴西
  • 印尼
  • 墨西哥
  • 挪威
  • 菲律賓
  • 南非
  • 英國
  • 美國
在2012年4月17日擁護本宣言的國家:
  • 阿爾巴尼亞
  • 亞美尼亞
  • 保加利亞
  • 加拿大
  • 智利
  • 哥倫比亞
  • 克羅埃西亞
  • 丹麥
  • 多明尼加
  • 愛沙尼亞
  • 喬治亞
  • 希臘
  • 瓜地馬拉
  • 宏都拉斯
  • 以色列
  • 義大利
  • 馬爾他
  • 摩爾多瓦
  • 蒙特內哥羅
  • 荷蘭
  • 祕魯
  • 羅馬尼亞
  • 斯洛伐克
  • 西班牙
  • 烏克蘭
  • 烏拉圭
已正式認可此宣言,並且正在發展具體承諾的國家:
  • 亞塞拜然
  • 哥斯大黎加
  • 捷克
  • 薩爾瓦多
  • 迦納
  • 約旦
  • 肯亞
  • 拉脫維亞
  • 賴比瑞亞
  • 立陶宛
  • 馬其頓
  • 蒙古
  • 巴拿馬
  • 巴拉圭
  • 俄羅斯
  • 塞爾為亞
  • 南韓
  • 瑞典
  • 坦尚尼亞
  • 千里達
  • 土耳其

快評:1/16的行政院開放資料座談

- January 16, 2015 in Comment

幾點看法:
  1. ODA(開放資料聯盟)的 governance model 透明度不足,所以在代表性上請更加油。可請參考日本的具體做法,或是這裡。相對而言 OCF.tw 就遠比開放資料聯盟做的更好。
  2. 出席者的建議角度跟背後的「機構動機」是切不開的,但有透明的作法可以稍微 balance 這問題(如本次會議)。
  3. 英國的開放資料發展不是透過成立專責單位在推動,在不同的角度也有非常多的平台,絕對不是單一單位。例如各位熟悉的 MySociety, ODI 或是 GDSHPX.tw 之後有大量文件),以及不熟悉的 involve.org.uk 等。據我所知,數量遠比浮上檯面的還多很多。
  4. 會議記錄來看,講話可能要精確一點,例如「國外如何如何」的表示方式,真的只有國中生的水平(操作太直魯)。建議可以具體說出是國外的什麼單位,那一個國家,以及具體的細節等。如果用「國外」如何如何含糊帶過,那只有便宜行事,尚不具有推動資料開放所需要的基本知識和能力。最好是提這些所謂國外案例時能把研究文件(簡單的文字)在會議後可以一併釋出,這樣會更棒。
  5. 資訊自由法是可以努力的方向,但我倒是不認為資料開放需要專法。”Information Society Code” 的方向更棒。
  6. Google Analytics 要不要嵌入、背後得到網站數據是否應該開放等,這需要有一個辯論和公開過程。但我認為或許可以公開的是政府網站到政府網站間的 “clickstream”。在強調資訊素養和網路安全的這個年頭,什麼是政府網站,政府網站連外的連結是否真的市政府網站,撇開 DNSSEC 等議題,可以參考 http://go.usa.gov/ 的作法。這些資料已經開放,可以試試。
  7. 法人或是佔有官股的公司來投標,這是遊戲規則,本來就沒有問題,但如前所述,在行政院科技會報、經濟部工業局以及科技部等部會,若有 open data 相關的採購案,應該有要檢討報告,例如明確說明誰主導、經手、效益為何、承辦是誰,學到什麼教訓等,美國的 GAO 有很多範例提供參考。
  8. 原來的 DSP 在社企和公司化之後,學到的很多教訓,並不是一個好例子。未來我再多加說明。
  9. TCA 在 Open Data 這件事已經顯現出績效不彰的問題,還要成立一個 Big Data 聯盟,我認為這不是值得努力的方向。
  10. 「開放資料育成中心」也不是一個好的方向,如果企業要自行募款成立當然是沒有疑義,但若牽涉到公部門或是公營的教育單位,應該要走一些必要程序,接受考核。
  11. 要成立「台灣資料公司」民間隨時可以成立,我無法理解為什麼需要到行政院副院長的會議層級來提這件事。
  12. 對於人權、隱私等議題的處理,缺乏類似資料開放的長期辯證和實證的場域。
  13. 若能將本次會議實際需要的成本(人力、物資、調度、費用、承攬者是誰等)公開,更好。
  14. 有人提到 GRB 的 open access,這部分嚴重缺乏關愛。這裡有一份歐盟執委會的繁體中文手冊 (pdf),這裡也有一篇文章提到開放近用的公眾領域問題
以上。

The cost of academic publishing

- April 24, 2014 in Comment, cost, Open Access, publishing, Russell Group, uk

UPDATE 28 April 2014: Imperial have released their subscription data - £1,340,213. This takes the Russell Group to a total of £15.7 million in subscription fees to Elsevier alone with data related to four universities still outstanding.   What could the UK academic community do with £14.5 million? That is the same as the yearly tuition fees for over 1600 undergraduates paying £9,000 fees. And that is what just 19 Universities in the UK are spending in total during a single year on journal subscriptions to a single publisher.   The act of publishing research has an intrinsic cost, and I don’t know anyone who claims otherwise. However, the key questions we as an academic community should be asking is how much this publishing process costs, and if we are receiving value for money. But we can’t answer these questions. Because we don’t know how much academic publishing costs. Historically, the costs of scientific research publication have been covered through subscriptions to academic journals in which the research has been published. Alternative business models are beginning to develop, but the majority of research around the world is still published in journals to which subscriptions are required. Individual academics are largely protected from the costs of access to these journals. Libraries at universities are largely responsible for managing institution wide access to journals, and through JISC negotiate these subscription costs. And then libraries are not allowed to tell anyone what these costs are. Libraries are placed under huge amounts of pressure not to release this data, and in the case of Elsevier, they are explicitly forbidden to by non-disclosure agreements in the contracts they have to sign. Today, Tim Gowers has released data showing that 19 Russell Group Universities alone spend over £14.4 million (excluding VAT) on subscriptions to journals published by Elsevier alone. Without a doubt you should read his blog post which has far more detail and background; but the headline figures are:  

University

Cost

Birmingham

£764,553

Bristol

£808,840

Cambridge

£1,161,571

Cardiff

£720,533

*Durham

£461,020

**Edinburgh

£845,000

*Exeter

£234,126

Glasgow

£686,104

King’s College London

£655,054

Leeds

£847,429

London School of Economics

Not released data

Liverpool

£659,796

Manchester

£1,257,407

Nottingham

Not released data

Newcastle

£974,930

Oxford

Not released data

Queen Mary University of London

Not released data

Queen’s Universty Belfast

£584,020

Sheffield

£562,277

Southampton

£766,616

UCL

£1,381,380

Warwick

£631,851

*York

£400,445

*Joined the Russell Group two years ago. **Information obtained by Sean Williams. Data taken from Tim Gowers blog post found here   This data, acquired through Freedom of Information requests, has focussed upon the Russell Group, but excludes data from Imperial College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, Nottingham, Oxford, and Queen Mary University of London who declined to release their data. And many of these of these are unlikely to be be small spenders. This means that the total figure for the Russell Group will be significantly higher than the £14.4 million stated above. Non-disclosure clauses, included by Elsevier within the contracts have previously prevented libraries from releasing this data, and even from discussing the figures with other libraries or academics within their own University, and the release of this data is likely to cause much comment among libraries and academics. There are large differences between different institutions – for instance Exeter is paying roughly a sixth of the costs being paid by University College London, with UCL spending £1,381,380 (that’s the yearly fees from 150 undergraduates). As Tim mentions in his in-depth analysis, it’s interesting to note that the institutions paying the lowest fees are those institutions who have only recently joined the Russell Group. While a bound physical copy was the only means of communicating written research over a distance, and was a huge development in 1665 with the publication of the first scientific journal, the ‘Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society’, the idea of journal subscriptions in return for access to academic research is understandable. There were large infrastructure costs involved. However, the Internet has created opportunity for significantly reduced distribution costs. Distributing ‘copies’ of digital work costs very little once initial costs have been covered, and given that this is the way many academics access research within the University, there is no justifiable reason why publishers should charge such widely different access fees to universities. Journal subscriptions are not the only cost to Universities for publishing research. As a transition towards open access is made, author processing charges (APCs) are common; especially in the UK where the Research Councils, Wellcome Trust and other funders have mandated that academics make their research freely and openly available at point of publication. However, this APC data is also not available, which means we can’t see how much money is flowing to publishers. And is is especially important in the case of many high profile and prestigious journals which are what are termed ‘hybrid journals’. These are journals in which some articles are freely available to read after receipt of an APC, but a subscription is still required to read the remainder. No data is currently made available that shows how much UK academics are paying to publish in an open access fashion, either in pure open access journals, or these ‘hybrid journals’. However, data released last month shows that in 2012-2013 alone, the Wellcome Trust alone spent over £1 million on articles published in Elsevier journals – of which nearly 95% was in journals to which an academic library had to also pay a subscription. And yet this is only a small piece of the picture; we still don’t know how much is being spent on APCs by other public funded research streams such as from the Research Councils or HEFCE. In a time of decreasing research funding from Government (given UK inflation rates the flat-line research budget results in a real terms cut), and increased onus on students as a source of income, what is an acceptable cost for publication of research? Be that cost met through journal subscriptions or an open access business model. And to whom should we be paying that money? These conversations are rarely had; partly through lack of information, and partly through the disinterest of many academics. And traditional publishers such as Elsevier benefit significantly and exploit the disinterest of many academics in this space. They take work largely funded by the taxpayer, carried out within publicly funded institutions, and then sell it back to this institution, and every other willing/able institution around the world. And then actively work to prevent libraries from releasing information that may begin to establish a competitive market in this space. To an advantage of many millions of pounds a year. Elsevier alone is charging £14.4 million to 19 universities in the UK – and will be gaining literally millions more from the other 100 universities in the country. They are also gaining millions of pounds in APCs. And that’s just one publisher. There are countless other traditional publishers to whom academic libraries pay subscriptions; Wiley, Oxford University Press, Nature Publishing Group, and Springer just to name a few. And none of this data is out there. No-one knows how much money is being drained from the academic university budgets (either from research grants, or indirect money received through HEFCE grants or student tuition fees) to the financial benefit of these for-profit publishers. We need to get a full picture of the costs of academic publishing – both the costs incurred through journal subscriptions and through APCs. While the focus of Tim’s work has been Elsevier, I’ve submitted Freedom of Information requests to Russell Group Universities asking for journal subscription data for Wiley, Oxford University Press and Springer, and I’ll be making this data available if/when it is released. I will also provide information where libraries do not honour their obligations under FOI, do not accept that this information is in the public interest, and what reasons are they give. And it is without doubt in the public interest to have data that can show the cost of publication made openly available. Without this, there can be no development of competitive markets in either subscriptions or APCs. A chilling effect, created by commercial publishers and non-disclosure clauses, requiring a lack of transparency cannot serve anything other than other than the business interests of traditional publishers.

Wellcome Trust APC Data – Thank you!

- April 1, 2014 in Comment

The Wellcome Trust publicly raised concerns about the cost of so called ‘hybrid publishing’ last week as a direct result of the incredible work carried out by many in the Open Knowledge Foundation Open Access working group, and others in the wider community, enriching a data set of author processing charges released by the Wellcome Trust.

‘Hybrid publishing’ occurs when a journal contains articles which have been paid to be freely available online from the point of publication, while also containing articles which can only be accessed through personal or institutional subscription. To ensure academics can view all contents of such a journal, a university library must subscribe to that journal, resulting in publications supported by two funding streams; fees from authors *and* subscriptions.

There have long been concerns among many open access advocates about traditional journal publishers exploiting universities through this publishing model – but there has traditionally been a lack of openly available data. Funders and Universities have not released much data about the author charges, while libraries are subject to nondisclosure agreements stopping them discussing details of subscriptions.

The effort put in to developing the data set was incredible – and I wanted to publicly acknowledge some of those who put so much energy into it:
  • Theo Andrews - created the original google document, and came up with the idea of crowd-sourcing, as well as spending much time hunting for data.

  • Cameron Neylon – carried out an initial tidying up of the data, and helped promote the idea widely

  • Stuart Lawson - put in a super-human effort in data hunting

  • Emanuil Tolev - fixing DOIs, general technical thoughts

  • Alf Eaton – for flagging initial problems with DOIs, data hunting

  • Sam Smith – for helping finish the last load of hybrid/pure journal identification

  • Tom Pollard - who created a script to pull DOIs from PMCIDs
  • Daniel Mietchen

  • Rupert Gatti

  • Jenny Molloy

  • Nic Weber

  • Jackie Proven

  • Fiona Wright

  • Yvonne Budden

  • Dawn Pike

And of course – thank you to the Wellcome Trust, and Robert Kiley, for releasing such a valuable data set that enables much better understanding of the current state of open access publishing. I’m sure I’ve missed some names out, and certainly many were anonymously adding data. If I’ve missed you out,  please do let me know as I’d love to ensure everyone is acknowledged for the effort put in. The enriched Wellcome Trust data set is incredibly valuable. Not only has it enabled us to show the cost of hybrid publishing to the second biggest medical research charity in the world (which in turn indicates the potential costs to other research funders) it also provides a very useful precedent in terms of data release, provides a useful test bed for a number of tools that are currently being developed to automate much of this work, and enables exploration of the different licenses used by various publishers. I am sure many will continue to use this data set in the future. The spreadsheet isn’t yet complete, but when it is, we’ll upload the data to Figshare. Thank you to everyone who has helped with this work! And if you aren’t already, I’d urge you to sign up to the open access mailing list and join us for further discussions and activities around and towards open access. Blogs that have come out of the data: (if yours isn’t here, please email me)

The sheer scale of hybrid journal publishing

- March 24, 2014 in Comment

The last few years have seen a significant rise in what are termed ‘hybrid open access journals’, where only some of the articles are freely available to read and a subscription is still required to read the remainder. As many journals require payment from authors to publish in this fashion, then university libraries need to pay subscriptions to read the remaining articles, publishers are in effect being paid twice for the same work. With recently published data from the Wellcome Trust, the scale of this double charging has become much more clear. In Oct 2012 – Sept 2013, academics spent £3.88 million to publish articles in journals with immediate online access – of which £3.17 million (82 % of costs, 74 % of papers) was paying for publications that Universities would then be charged again for. For perspective, this is a figure slightly larger than the Wellcome Trust paid in 2012/2013 on their Society & Ethics portfolio. Only £0.70 million of the charity’s £3.88m didn’t have any form of double charging (ie, was published in a “Pure Open Access” journal) – with this total being dominated by articles published in PLOS and BioMed Central journals (68 % of total ‘pure’ hybrid journal costs, 80 % of paper total).

Top 5 publishers by total cost to Wellcome Trust

Publisher

No. of articles

Maximum Cost

Average Cost

Total Cost (nearest £1000)

Elsevier (inc. Cell Press)

418

£5,760

£2,448.158

£1,036,000

Wiley-Blackwell

271

£3,078.92

£2,009.632

£545,000

PLOS

307

£3,600

£1,139.286

£350,000

Oxford University Press

167

£3,177.60

£1,850.099

£300,000

Nature Publishing Group (not inc. Frontiers)

80

£3,780

£2,696.396

£216,000

 

Top 5 publishers by total cost to Wellcome Trust – separated into money spent on author charges for articles appearing in hybrid and pure open access journals

 

Publisher

Journal Type

No. of articles

Max Cost

Average Cost

 Total Cost (nearest £)

Elsevier

Hybrid

402

£5,760

2,443.28

£982,199

Pure OA

21

£3,996

2,541.48

£53,371

Wiley-Blackwell

Hybrid

263

£3,026

2,010.88

£528,862

Pure OA

8

£3,079

1,968.60

£15,749

PLOS

Hybrid

0

£0

£0

£0

Pure OA

307

£3,600

1,139.29

£349,761

Oxford University Press

Hybrid

135

£3,177.6

2,004.14

£270,558

Pure OA

32

£2,184

1,200.25

£38,408

Nature Publishing Group

Hybrid

67

£3,780

2,867.82

192,143.71

Pure OA

13

£2,880

1,812.923

23,568

  Wellcome Trust pays nearly £1 million to Elsevier, and pays over £500,000 to Wiley-Blackwell to make articles freely available on point of publication, in journals that a university library will also be trying to find money to also pay subscription fees to. These are outrageously high sums of money! Especially given a recent explosion in the number of journals, and an increase in journal prices, means even well-funded libraries can no longer afford the cost of subscribing to many journals! Journal articles should be published in a way that means they are freely available – and not just to academics, but also to wider public audiences. And I’m not critical of article processing charges. However, I’m unsure how any publisher can justify charging an academic an average cost of £2,443 to publish in a journal that is already being supported by library subscriptions from not just one university, but many universities around the world. And surely no cost based model should charge more for publication in a hybrid journal with multiple funding streams than in one supported purely on author charges (as appears to be the case with Wiley-Blackwell). If you want to know more and might want to help the Open Knowledge Foundation’s soon-to-be launched project on Open Access, please leave your email address in the below form.  
Data

Data source found here

Original data: Kiley, Robert (2014): Wellcome Trust APC spend 2012-13: data file. figsharehttp://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.963054

Enhancements on original data made by Cameron Neylon: https://github.com/cameronneylon/apcs

Knowledge Creation to Diffusion: The Conflict in India

- February 28, 2014 in Comment, development, Guest post, incentive structures, india, Open Access, Policy

facebook-cover This is a guest post by Ranjit Goswami, Dean (Academics) and (Officiating) Director of Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Nagpur, India. Ranjit also volunteer as one of the Indian Country Editors for the Open Data Census. Developing nations, more so India, increasingly face a challenge in prioritizing its goals. One thing that increasingly becomes relevant in this context, in the present age of open knowledge, is the relevance of subscription-journals in dissipation and diffusion of knowledge in a developing society. Young Aaron Swartz from Harvard had made an effort to change it, that did cost him his life; most developed nations have realized research funded by tax-payers money should be made freely available to tax-payers, but awareness on these issues are at quite pathetic levels in India – both at policy level and among members of academic community. Before one looks at the problem, a contextual understanding is needed. Today, a lot of research is done globally, including some of it in India, and its importance in transforming nations and society is increasingly getting its due recognition across nations. Quantum of original application oriented research, applicable specifically to the developing world, is a small part of overall global research. Some of it is done locally in India too, in spite of two obvious constraints developing nations face: (1) lack of funds, and (2) lack of capability and/or capacity.

Tax-funded research should be freely available

This article argues that research outcomes, done in India with Indian tax-payers money, are to be freely available to all Indians, for better diffusion. Unfortunately, the present practice is quite opposite. The lack of diffusion of knowledge becomes evident in absence of any planned efforts, to make the research done in local context available in open platforms. Here when one looks at the academic community in India, due to the older mindset where research score and importance is given only for publishing research papers in journals, often even in journals of questionable quality, faculty members are encouraged to publish in subscription-journals. Open access journals are considered untouchables. Faculty members mostly do not keep a version of the publication to be freely accessible – be it in their own institute’s website, or in other formats online. More than 99% of Indian higher educational institutes do not have any open-access research content in their websites. Simultaneously, a lot of academic scams get reported, more from India, as measuring research contribution is a difficult task. Faculty members often fall prey to short-cuts of institute’s research policy, in this age of mushrooming journals.

Facing academic challenges

India, in its journey to be an to an open knowledge society, faces diverse academic challenges. Experienced faculty members feel, that making their course outlines available in the public domain would lead to others copying from it; whereas younger faculty members see subscription journal publishing as the only way to build a CV. The common ill-founded perception is that top journals would not accept your paper if you make a version of it freely available. All of above act counter-productive to knowledge diffusion in a poor country like India. The Government of India has often talked about open course materials, but in most government funded higher educational institutes, one seldom sees even a course outline in public domain, let alone research output. Question therefore is: For public funded universities and institutes, why should any Indian user have to cough up large sums of money again to access their research output? And it is an open truth that – barring a very few universities and institutes – most Indian colleges, universities and research organizations or even practitioners cannot afford the money required to pay for subscribing most well-known journal databases, or afford individual articles therein. facebook-cover It would not be wrong to say that out of thirty-thousand plus higher educational institutes, not even one per cent has a library access comparable to institutes in developed nations. And academic research output, more in social science areas, need not be used only for academic purposes. Practitioners – farmers, practicing doctors, would-be entrepreneurs, professional managers and many others may benefit from access to this research, but unfortunately almost none of them would be ready or able to shell out $20+ for a few pages by viewing only the abstract, in a country where around 70% of people live below $2 a day income levels.

Ranking is given higher priority than societal benefit

Academic contribution in public domain through open and useful knowledge, therefore, is a neglected area in India. Although, over the last few years, we have seen OECD nations, including China, increasingly encouraging open-access publishing by academic community; in India – in its obsession with university ranks where most institutes fare poorly, we are on reverse gear. Director of one of India’s best institutes have suggested why such obsessions are ill-founded, but the perceptions to practices are quite opposite. It is, therefore, not rare to see a researcher getting additional monetary rewards for publishing in top-category subscription journals, with no attempt whatsoever – be it from researcher, institute or policy-makers – to make a copy of that research available online, free of cost. Irony is, that additional reward money again comes from taxpayers. Unfortunately, existing age-old policies to practices are appreciated by media and policy-makers alike, as the nation desperately wants to show to the world that the nation publishes in subscription journals. Point here is: nothing wrong with producing in journals, encourage it even more for top journals, but also make a copy freely available online to any of the billion-plus Indians who may need that paper.

Incentives to produce usable research

In case of India, more in its publicly funded academic to research institutes, we have neither been able to produce many top category subscription-journal papers, nor have we been able to make whatever research output we generate freely available online. On quality of management research, The Economist, in a recent article stated that faculty members worldwide ‘have too little incentive to produce usable research. Oceans of papers with little genuine insight are published in obscure periodicals that no manager would ever dream of reading.’ This perfectly fits in India too. It is high time we look at real impact of management and social science research, rather than the journal impact factors. Real impact is bigger when papers are openly accessible. Developing and resource deficit nations like India, who need open access the most, thereby further lose out in present knowledge economy. It is time that Government and academic community recognizes the problem, and ensures locally done research is not merely published for academic referencing, but made available for use to any other researcher or practitioner in India, free of cost. Knowledge creation is important. Equally important is diffusion of that knowledge. In India, efforts to resources have been deployed on knowledge creation, without integrative thinking on its diffusion. In the age of Internet and open access, this needs to change. facebook-cover Prof. Ranjit Goswami is Dean (Academics) and (Officiating) Director of Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Nagpur – a leading private B-School in India. IMT also has campuses in Ghaziabad, Dubai and Hyderabad. He is on twitter @RanjiGoswami