aporia step 6/6

sharing (missed) understandings


47 Responses to “aporia step 6/6”

  1. […] apologies for silence – am fieldworking at the mo – and triaging at that – but just to say that developments are looking great considering the changing climate that we’re operating in, and maybe it is time to up the ante with one of our sessions at least

    following the blue-skies Teaching & Learning Colloquia event last year, have been putting together this year’s contribution by way of an online session (in yet another form of “room-space” perhaps, courtesy of emerging web 2.0 technologies)

    how about we try this by holding the T&L session principally online, instead of taking up a “physical” slot, and then coupling this online session variation with a 20 minute tabled agenda item during our standard scheduled Business Meeting to consolidate?

    if agreeable, suggest a form of words for the purposes of programme printing could be something along the lines of:

    “Teaching & Learning Colloquia Series: Scoping Phenomenology 2.0 – online interactive conference session running from 1-31 October 2008, openly accessible to all delegates and potential delegates alike at http://www.aporia-works.org/phenomenologyscope – conference registration welcome but not compulsory for participating online. Without prejudice to those who cannot attend in person, those members who can are additionally invited to participate during the face-to-face […] Business Meeting by way of consolidating matters arising. Minutes of this face-to-face portion of our meeting will then be fed back into the online conferencing process as best we can. Please feel free to direct any queries relating to this session to […] Executive Co-Chair […] email […], in the first instance.”

    at any event, hope this helps – questions? […]

  2. […] apologies in advance for being unable to attend […] due to prior commitments abroad – in absentia, have updated our WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY at page https://ap0riasofar.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/aporia-step-56 with links to current government consultations in specialist context that may each have a bearing on our respective operating environments in the short-medium term
    for the record, these include the Research Councils UK’s consultation on “Code of Conduct and Policy on the Governance of Good Research Conduct” [1], the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills consultation on “A Vision for Science and Society” [2], and the Intellectual Property Office’s consultation on “The Patent Research Exception” [3]
    hope this helps as our community’s prevailing socioeconomic circumstances continue to unfold […]

  3. 1. Are you broadly content with the draft Code of Conduct set out in Section 3?

  4. […] No […] The draft Code set out so far does not adequately clarify, nor appear to seek to clarify, what constitutes “research” activity for the purposes of the suggested Code of Conduct set out in Section 3. For example, it is common practice for publicly funded bodies to conduct “evaluations” of public research and/or development projects, and use “evaluation research methods” accordingly. The research conduct and research integrity of these “evaluations” as being subject to this proposed Code of Practice should preferably be made explicit from the outset if only for the avoidance of doubt in due course […]

  5. 2. Are you broadly content with the proposed outline procedures for Management of Good Research Conduct, and Reporting and Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Section 4 and Appendix 1?

  6. […] No […] Under Section 2.8 of this consultation document, it is recognised that a “key issue at this stage in the development of good research conduct and research integrity policies in the UK is the scale of the perceived problem.” Our evidence suggests that it is not only the scale of the perceived problem, but also the nature of the perceived problem, and options available for bringing such problem(s) to light in view of their very nature that pose key issues. For example, having participated in the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s recent consultation on “Principles of Good Complaints Handling”, some of the key distinctions between addressing both the scale and the nature of the problem at hand with a procedural-based approach as compared to a principle-based approach to investigation have been fleshed out in some detail and made publicly available at:
    Moreover, the RCUK in its capacity as a publicly funded body, and any potential derivative National Advisory Body set up to co-ordinate the addressing of “the problem”, will likely be subject to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s complaints handling principles as a matter of due course. The conflicts in guidance arising out of the suggested procedural-based approach as compared to the Ombudsman’s principle-based approach may therefore benefit from further review at the earliest opportunity […]

  7. 3. Are you broadly content with the suggestions about distinguishing different levels of poor research conduct as set out in the Annex to Appendix 1?

  8. […] No […] The suggestions appear to carry a baseline assumption that the differing levels of poor research conduct can be distinguishable as directly attributable to a named researcher. Our evidence suggests that such conduct can well be conflated by the researcher’s operating environment and prevailing cultural “norms”. In such cases, the problem may harbour a systemic risk that goes beyond the percieved poor conduct of the individual and may require that relevant inquiries commence at an institutional/disciplinary/community level if not as against a sector-wide backdrop. For example, having uncovered poor research conduct at the individual level and traced its roots back to a chain of command being actively sustained at the institutional level, our WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY at:
    takes a uniquely adequate approach to bringing such cultural “norms” carefully to light in the context in which they have been arising. Both the management of anonymity and confidentiality with respect to the Freedom of Information Act’s Public Interest Balance Test (commonly abbreviated to PIT), have played active parts in pathfinding for a working approach to addressing the scale and nature of the problem(s) being raised. In fact, open participation in this present consultation becomes part and parcel of this process, inter alia, for the purposes of expertise sharing even as we speak at:

  9. 4. Do you consider that there is need for the development of a National Advisory Body as set out in Section 4?

  10. […] Yes […] Although a National Advisory Body may help serve to focus sibling efforts across the sector, the proposed body as set out in Section 4 remains problematic. As discussed in detail under our response to Question 2 above, a conflict of guidance arises around the prospect of juxtaposing a procedural-based approach with the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s principle-based approach to handling complaints directed towards those same public bodies that may later be found to have, intentionally or otherwise, mis-handled the application of the suggested procedures. In particular, it is possible for an investigating authority – whether named or otherwise – to intentionally mis-handle procedures, though difficult for the same to justify misunderstanding principles from the outset. Detailed evidence of this practice, and its specifically technologically-enhanced nature, is available on request for the purposes of informing this consultation further on a need to know basis. At any event, such practices may be usefully regarded as “practices-in-transition”, and a National Advisory Body that comprises a pro bono community of peers would not be dissimilar to our own emergent approach to engaging with the broader spectrum of possibly derivative problem(s) at hand. For example see related links at:

  11. 5. Do you have any other comments on the proposals in general or in detail?

  12. […] Yes […] The proposals are welcome as an initial attempt to elicit some sense of the scale of the problem. However, the mode of consultation arguably falls short of that required, or indeed of the latest best practice in this area. For example, the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) recent consultation on “A Vision for Science and Society” showcased a mode of technology-enhanced consultation that could have been usefully employed here. Moreover, the need to gather evidence to inform policy and practice by way of demonstrating due sensitivity to the possible requirements for managing the anonymisation of the comments being invited does not appear to have been taken into account. Thus the mode of consultation itself runs the risk of being inaccessible to precisely those persons most vulnerable to the potential abuses of the procedures being otherwise railroaded into place. In this sense, we look forward to working with you with respect to exemplifying widening forms of participation and engagement as sibling efforts continue to unfold, inter alia, by means of our evolving WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY at:

  13. […] just a note to say that 47th annual […] gathering […] last week went well, with matters arising from our roundtable […] last year being given the full go ahead by the executive committee during our business meeting, with the umbrella organisation […] happy for […] to take the lead – as such, was happy to accept invitation to serve a second […] term as executive co-chair, with […] continuing to chair our environmental sibling […] alongside.

    my session based on lessons being learned from WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY efforts continues to be publicly accessible online, with commentaries consolidating […] commitments posted at https://ap0riasofar.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/aporia-step-66/ in the first instance […] please feel free to visit the GaLLeRY, and be rest assured that there is perhaps hope for us all yet […]

  14. […] Please find attached PDF of APORIA’s application to participate in the […] by way of widening forms of participation in the first instance.

    Feel free to get back to me directly with any questions/problems arising at any stage whatsoever – and here’s looking forward to […] next steps […]

  15. 1. Is the research exception in need of clarification? Do you have any evidence to support your view?

  16. In light of the Court of Appeal upholding an earlier ruling by the High Court, which has newly granted the right to patent a piece of software in the UK in addition to the US and Europe (JISC Legal Newsletter, Oct 2008, No. 43), it would be helpful if the research exception could be clarified with respect to software patents as a matter of some priority.
    In particular, our own evidence suggests that research methodologies may lend themselves to being codified by a specific software process – and glossed as “patentable” – without necessarily making clear that the underlying methodology may be subject to a certain dynamic fluidity of “inventive” steps peculiar to the field from which it has arisen and thus, in principle, can not be adequately commoditised as a discrete product as such without violating its own capacity to co-innovate during the very instances of its use.
    For example, a software process that purports to be a patentable product for community “survey” purposes is as much a part of the community that the software process seeks to engage, during those very same passing moments of engagement, as it is the software process per se. The innovating “information system” arising out of the community being engaged by the survey as facilitated by this software process is then neither tied to the patentable product, nor the community-in-practice. Rather the innovating information system, which may subsequently serve to inform public policy decisions and matters of due concern to the immediate co-innovating community itself, would need to be left open to further public scrutiny during the period of community engagement itself. In this case, it would be difficult to argue – without due clarification of the patent research exception – in what sense the (patented) software process underpinning the (broader) survey process can be distinguishable as either the “subject of research”, or the “research tool”, or both, or neither. Moreover, the potential research data arising out of the software process which could then be packaged and possibly made available as part of a patent research exception scenario being applied in any given case would be qualitatively different to the sort of research data that would be open to view if the software process were to be made visible during the survey process itself. In this sense, researching software processes-in-practice is likely akin to researching social processes-in-practice and so arguably could be usefully subject to the same sorts of checks and balances that we have developed for researching social processes-in-practice from the outset.

  17. 2. If you consider that the research exception does need clarification, how would you like to see this done?

  18. Given that the issue now extends to software patents in the UK, we would hope that this present consultation can be extended and run more broadly to ensure that all potentially newly interested parties may have a chance to share their expertise in relevant detail.
    In particular, it may be useful to employ the sort of technology-enhanced consultation processes recently showcased by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills exercise regarding “A Vision for Science and Society”, together with more traditional means.
    It would also be useful to get the non-legal experts’ understanding of this issue, as it is often the non-legal expert who needs to make the case for funding a research programme in view of possible restrictions around patented processes. Similarly, it can also be the non-legal expert that spearheads relevant steps when producing their own research agendas and associated outputs – software or otherwise – in the context of their own specialist disciplinary efforts as against a background of possibly deeply conflicting socioeconomic circumstances. For example, practicing members of open source software communities within institutions of Higher Education may have much to contribute in this regard as circumstances continue to unfold.

  19. 3. Do you have any evidence of research being hindered by patents on research tools, or of the current law working effectively?

  20. Yes. Our own evidence, gathered over a period of just over 10 years, has tracked developments in the granting of software patents in the US, Europe, and now the UK, to the extent that it has affected how we go about our own research and development in this area with regards the various patenting requirements serving as either a support or a hindrance to our ability to innovate – and co-innovate – amongst the various communities that we actively engage.
    In short, in order to sustain our ability to co-innovate without interruption, we have a policy of publicly archiving our discoveries – in the very instances of their use – so as to establish “prior art” and thus help avert any potential dispute that may arise out of independent attempts to patent any particular “software process” that may otherwise impinge on our own scholarly endeavours.
    In some senses, the current law acts as a deterrent for us to seek to patent such “software processes” ourselves because we want our scientific discoveries to be readily available and accessible for further scrutiny in the widest possible sense. Conversely, with clarification, we hope that the law can act as a deterrent for others seeking to willfully interrupt our work for their own perceived benefit as against the potential costs and benefits for the public good.

  21. 4. If you consider that research has been hindered by patents on research tools, how do you think this could best be overcome, or has research been able to continue?

  22. Our research has been grossly interrupted by the spectre of patenting twice in the past 10 year period. The first interruption – which spanned a period of suspended activity for over 2 years whilst issues surrounding ownership of possibly patentable software processes were clarified in High Court pre-trial proceedings – could have benefited from a clarification of the patent research exception. As it turned out, we ended up relying on the “prior art” argument and reverting to the last published version before going on to research related issues arising across interdisciplinary endeavours and communities accordingly.
    The second interruption has been more subtle – and perhaps more wide ranging. In pursuing a “prior art” policy to further research and development without undue interruption, we had sought to engage Web 2.0 technologies supported by publicly funded software development platforms. However, the funding body itself has proven to have become somewhat of an onerous liability. This second case continues to play itself out as we speak, with evidence being curated inter alia in the form of our evolving WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY, publicly accessible online at https://ap0riasofar.wordpress.com/
    Unfortunately, the confusion that has surrounded this second case with regards to the public officials involved only serves to demonstrate the extent of training required in this area before some of the real values of our emerging digital economy can be realised – i.e. the training of staff not only employed by public funded bodies set up to support research, development, and innovation activities in these areas, but also staff employed by Higher Education Institutions charged with the same.
    Perhaps the UKIPO can seek to engage the Research Council’s new “Digital Economy” programme in this regard which has already managed to commit £46M to research for 2008/9 and £34M for training over a five year period. For example, coupling a next round of more detailed consultation on the patent research exception to such research and/or training allocations may serve to pre-empt two birds with one stone, so to speak, from the outset.

    At any event, in the interests of open development, please be advised that our responses to this consultation are being concurrently placed in the context of their use amongst our related WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY commentaries at https://ap0riasofar.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/aporia-step-66/ and we hope this helps permit our research to continue for the time being at least, if only in part.

  23. […] Arc I – MAY 2008 Arc II – JUNE 2008 Arc III – JULY 2008 Arc IV – AUGUST 2008 Arc V – SEPTEMBER 2008 Arc VI – OCTOBER 2008 Arc VII – NOVEMBER 2008 WordPress.com WordPress.org widening forms of participation […]

  24. […] Comment on this story […] In fairness to our present generation of emerging scholars, as compared to our esteemed elders who continue to confer an “audacity to hope” of sorts, perhaps it may be helpful to share an insight reached during a recent DIUS workshop on “Building mature relationships with our stakeholders: how can we make it work” – namely that our democratic landscape is being transformed, literally, as we speak by virtue of the very voices we choose to give to that “speak” – whether “academic-speak” or “political-speak” or neither or both. Unlike the American system that posits lobby groups and voices labelled “academic”, labelled “minority”, labelled “gendered” – and then quota’d and counted as such – we have tended to cultivate democratic channels of engagement which may wel have now reached a stage where it really does not matter WHO says what, so much as WHAT is said.

    Arguably, an acid test was duly passed when my contribution to the recent DIUS consultation on “A Vision for Science and Society” purely in the name of “Aporia Pidgeon” (with anonymised email address) was permitted to “pidgeon-speak” on a par with anyone else who had sought to engage with the consultation process, either individually, or professionally, or on behalf of their institution, and so on. Of course, this is only the latest in a long line of non-linear technology-enhanced cultural developments so far, and for a more complete rendering of our present generation’s demonstrable ability to implement as needs be, please feel free to visit our WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY, for example, publicly and anonymously accessible online at […] http://aporiasofar.wordpress.com/ […] and perhaps be rest assured that there can always be changes afoot with regards to widening FORMS of participation for those who are – pro bono, at least – willing to entertain them in all good humour, if not in good faith […]

  25. House of Commons Select Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (IUSS) call for evidence on “dumbing down” (see related THE article […] ) with this furled page specifying guidelines for FORM of written submissions being invited by 11-DEC-2008, including a link to more detailed UK parliamentary guidance for witnesses submitting written (and/or oral) evidence to Select Committees in general

  26. This DIUS “debate” on “the future of Higher Education” is set to close in JAN-2009 and has opted to run on a proprietary blogging service hosted by the JISC, in comparison to the preceeding DIUS technology-enhanced consultation exercise on “A Vision for Science and Society” run and developed on an open source software platform which was framed by the bottom line of QUOTE: “Enabled by WordPress and the CommentPress theme. DIUS is happy to share code and templates on request.”

  27. […] and daddy bear said “who’s been dumbing down my porridge?” and mummy bear said “who’s been dumbing down my porridge?” and baby bear said “who’s been dumbing down my porridge – and eaten it all up?” […] then daddy bear said “who’s been sitting on my chair?” and mummy bear said “who’s been sitting on my chair?” and baby bear said “who’s been sitting on my chair – and broken it into pieces?” […] and by-the-by, daddy bear said “who’s been getting into my bed?” and mummy bear said “who’s been getting into my bed?” and baby bear said […] ruh-roh […]

  28. […] wiki page aggregating cetis-2008-challenge tagged material amplifying face-to-face conferencing, including links to audio files in turn amplifying, inter alia, DIUS debate on the future of higher education, and online education in particular, with sibling debate amplifications set to continue into January 2009 (for evolving backdrop to DIUS debate, please see http://www.dius.gov.uk/policy/he_background.html) […]

  29. […] Response to consultation on Parliamentary Ombudsman’s Principles of Good Complaints Handling published here, including list of 140 substantive respondents, together with PDF of final Principles available for download from http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/pdfs/principles_good_comlaint_handling.pdf […]

  30. […] Actions needed to move beyond the paper model […] The Knowledge Council will track pilots of innovative knowledge and information management technologies, and where possible it will co-sponsor them with interested government departments. The Knowledge Council will ensure that the results (successful or unsuccessful) of pilots are communicated across government […]

  31. […] albeit this m(a)y be a cricket ball if and only if this is not a caper […]

  32. […] May I on behalf of […] thank you for your careful and thoughtful response to our consultation on Good Research Conduct.
    We received a high number of responses, more than 120 in total, and these have been detailed and thoughtful. In addition there are clearly a variety of views on some of the detail of how issues flagged in the consultation should be taken forward. We are currently in process of giving all of these the detailed attention which they clearly deserve.
    We hope to complete our analysis and consideration of our response, including some further consultation with other national bodies which many respondents urged, by March (or at the latest April) 2009. We will then respond further to you, with an outline of the conclusions and proposals we have drawn from the consultation […]

  33. […] Thanks for taking the time to write this – good to know now that we’re […] fully committed to bringing this development trajectory to its rightful completion […]

    A developer community is subject to its incubating environment, and it is the incubating environment that is currently undergoing root and branch review, albeit cloaked in “politics

    But the nature of the “politics” have shifted since […], in part due to the fact that aporia has been able to laboriously find a way to gently point out that the (political) emperor isn’t wearing any clothes and, in particular, point this out to the relevant empire builders before their going out and making a complete public spectacle of the fact.

    However, if we were to continue the analogy for the time being, we are now at the point where the emperor is being introducing to a “trinny and susannah” perspective – namely, that true freedom to do as needs doing comes simply from being comfortable in your own skin – any cloak will do, irrespective of its magic colo(u)rs, or indeed none. The moral of this story being that transparency carries its own worth, warts and all – capiche?

    When participating as fully as needs be next week, my rule of thumb is to be as much an (admittedly incubated) happy “developer” as any other, and if unhappy during passing moments, to get to the root of why this might be and have a go at addressing it for both myself and whoever else may happen to be experiencing the same consternation around me. By the end of the week, if we are not all happy, then we will have a chance to roll our own “cloaks” and observe what colo(u)rs they turn out to be. We will then have the option to take these colo(u)rs back to the drawing […] board and paint our picture if we should so wish – […] worth at least 1,000 authentic words – for all to share, incumbent or otherwise.

    In this sense,.my community participation remains pro bono – and so does my voice […]

    So, hope this rendition is ok […] for you to just be able to get on with precisely what you do best without having to worry about anything – or anyone – in particular: dare say that with […], […], […], and in fact any community member doing likewise, we’re all in for a bit of a treat.

    Oh, and just incase anyone should ask whether there is any “method in this madness”, personally like to call it “forging crucible at source” […] http://ap0ria.wordpress.com/2007/08/03/forging-crucible-at-source/ […] See you next week […]

  34. […] public domain thus far and, weather permitting, as far as needs be (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hint, hint …o/) […]

  35. […] Thank you so much for this – far from being […], it is actually very helpful – and good to know that you did have a chance to discuss “school of oolong” ideas with your colleagues in general terms at least […]

    The website is indeed impenetrable in parts without due oral guidance, partly to allow for the various members across the community giving rise to the commentary to have a chance to reflect on the same without feeling too exposed to “non-member” scrutiny in the first instance. In the second, “non-members” who express a public interest in wanting to understand further are invited to participate in a “guided tour”, either on a one-on-one basis, or in a small group, or even live in the context of their own community fora by way of a GaLLeRY installation. This aporia research approach allows the management of anonymity to be fine tuned with respect to the audience at hand at the time of data generation and, moreover, supports the due administration of the Public Interest Balance Test pertaining to the UK Freedom of Information Act on a case by case basis.

    In this sense, our […] conversations were very much tempered by the fact that the DIUS had chosen a JISC platform to host the HE debate, and although – as discussed – the Times Higher Education website had also offered to host a debate on their own terms, the act of THE’s publicly offering an alternative to the JISC-hosted option had already served to call into question JISC’s status as a possible (un)trusted-third party in the eyes of potential contributors to any such debate.

    Therefore it is good to hear that your colleagues were found to be wary of “blurring” the focus of the then HE debate, as this was precisely my concern also i.e. to have provided yet another way to contribute would have called into question JISC’s trusted-third party status even further and, on balance, arguably would not have been in the public interest at the time.

    However, having had a chance to sound out such issues with your kind self in person at that early stage, I was then able to feedback to members across the community in general terms, including to Dr […] in his capacity as JISC Executive Secretary (albeit employed by the HEFCE) and […] in her capacity as JISC Head of Innovation.

    In particular, it was agreed with both that the members of the community have a chance to share lessons learned with each other – and, moreover, show that such lessons can be learned by explicitly drawing upon the potential collegial strengths of the broader JISC community – before submitting the grass roots issues that had arisen to further public scrutiny in due course. This was also based on the fact that the GaLLeRY had already served as an evidence-base for contributions to public consultations run by the: DIUS on Science and Society; Parliamentary Ombudsman on Good Complaints Handling; Intellectual Property Office on the Patent Research Exception; and RCUK on the Governance of Good Research Conduct.

    In the 3 months of silence that followed, it became apparent that the […] may not have agreed to the same. Nevertheless, in good faith, I participated during the […] last week in the hope of continuing to share lessons learned in the agreed vein. So, having managed to set up a follow up meeting […] for the purposes of taking the […] team and other interested parties on a guided GaLLeRY tour (as described above) so that the […] could be advised accordingly as to next steps, I then received an email apologetically canceling this meeting on the basis of “family” advises received in the intervening period – call it […] “micro-management” if you will, but it actually belies a more fundamental set of governance issues on the part of […] in relation to the […] which has been brewing for some years now, albeit managing to fly under the radar, so to speak, of evidence-based public and policy debate.

    The WHiSPeRiNG GaLLeRY provides a way into precisely that evidence-base drawing on a 28-month research study, and hence has given rise to all manner of bureaucratic maneuvering on the part of the […] in relation the the […] and […]-funded derivative bodies. As such, I am more than happy to share this evidence-base in its integral details with you and your colleagues by way of a guided GaLLeRY tour, so that we might – together as peers – come to a shared understanding of how best to proceed, including a decision as to whether or not it should be brought to Rt Hon […]’s attention at this stage.

    My alternative is to try take the same decision in the absence of you and your colleagues kind and informed counsel, and although there may be some reason why this might theoretically have to be the case, my gut feel is that collegiality needs to begin extending into the […] as much as it values the nature of how we in HE actually get things done for public good also, and herewith lies the heart of this open aporia invitation.

    At any event, here’s wishing you a good weekend – if not Easter break (?) – and looking forward to hearing from you in due course […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s