Commentary on the Scholarly Kitchen provides some of the most insightful and spirited writing on the site, but it can get lost. I’m starting a new feature — every week, I’ll go through the comments and highlight some of my favorite quotes. I hope it helps you find perspectives you might otherwise have missed, and also give a well-deserved spotlight to the commenters who are already bringing it.
Here are this week’s favorite quotes, linked through to the full comments (links cover the first few words of each quote):
Ownership of ideas is hindering progress, not helping it. Yes, it is central to our information economy, and so deeply entrenched that most don’t think it questionable, but it is the crux of many of our current issues. It divides the effort involved from the pay-off received. Technology is driving that situation toward a ludicrous state – putting old ladies in gaol for sharing files?!? — Scott
The mistake that is often made is to take data directly to knowledge in order to make a decision, skipping the need to human intervention. In fact, many people incorrectly view this as a feature not a bug. This is not really a route to wisdom. Google helps us find the data faster but does not negate the need for substantial human intervention to arrive at useful knowledge. — Richard Gayle
DESIGNATION is a DEFECT and not a BENEFICIAL FUNCTION. People are not using their own judgement. Whenever the functionof disignation becomes delegated to some person or institution, especially institution, it deteriorates with time. This is the sort of thing that happened a number of times in the financial area. — Sammy Finkelman
I’ll buy that some books get a lot of editing and channel support, but it’s a farce to claim that even the majority of the 400,000 titles published last year got kid-glove treatment. The ones that didn’t get support are not allowed to take back their rights. The same standards should apply to publishers. — Brian O’Leary
I understand the need to put an an easily recognizable if mischaracterized face on the problems facing academic publishing, but I think you’ll run into problems pretty quick going this way. For example – a kid in his mom’s basement sharing mp3s with his friends is way easier to demonize than an academic researcher studying childhood leukemia and sharing PDFs with his colleagues. The mp3s weren’t produced via federal grant aka taxpayer money. — Mr. Gunn
If the quotes featured here interest you, be sure to follow the links. In nearly all cases, the authors of the original posts provided compelling replies (or other readers did), and the discussion is much richer and nuanced than these quotes can represent. These are just signposts pointing to some further insights you might have otherwise missed.
Please let me know if I should continue this feature weekly: