Book review - Tiamat’s wrath - book nine of the expanse series.

This book review is really only for people who have been reading all of the expanse book series. If you have not then there are some spoilers in here. I finished this over my summer holiday, and it was a ton of fun. I noted that In the first few books of the series when the action was contained within the solar system a lot of book time was taken up describing the time it took to travel around the solar system, and the intricacies if the orbital mechanics that went into that. ... (more)

The three body problem.

I’ve just zipped through this book in what feels like about a week, but was probably a bit longer. I didn’t like it. The book sets up engagement with a computer game as a key plot driver, along with specific behaviours of an alien civilisation. Both of these are central to the driver of the book and in both cases I wasn’t able to believe what was happening. They lacked internal consistency and plausibility, in particular the plot device of unpacking a proton and accessing higher dimensional spaces. ... (more)

Are scholarly publishers technology companies?

There is tension in this question that gets to the heart of where a publisher should be putting its resources, and perhaps more importantly what the reasons are behind those investment decisions. The side of the argument that says they are not technology companies might say that at the heart of what publishers do is content, and so they are content and service companies. Invest then in acquisition, in reach, in marketing, in branding, in distribution and in making the sales process as cost effective asa possible. ... (more)

Strategies to reduce cognitive load, and make systems more robust whilst doing so, and why that’s important for product development.

At my current company we are looking at strategies for improving the resilience of our core systems, and looking at the issue of disaster recovery from a broad perspective. This comes under the heading business continuity management. From a product development perspective these considerations are also important. For successful products / product organisations consider these two perspectives: Most new business value that we create from innovation projects comes from improvements or iterations to existing products over the creation of totally new products (from an evolutionary perspective this makes sense, products or services that are already making revenue have proved they they have an environmental fitness function that works, whereas new products are like genetic modifications, the vast majority of which lead towards extinct endpoints. ... (more)

key questions about AI in the publishing knowledge industry

At the moment one thing that is front and centre in my thinking about AI and machine learning in publishing and the scholarly ecosystem is how to make the case for ROI for investment in the technology, and more specifically investing in making data actionable. Overall I think there is great promise for challenges like knowledge discovery and machine generated hypotheses, but there is massive potential for these technologies to also just make the quality of our work better, and to increase the value of our work by reducing and removing toil in the workplace. ... (more)

AGILE or agile?

Three links today looking at the state of agile as a software development practice. Flavours of Agile In Flavours of Agile Pat Kua briefly describes and rates a number of agile processes. There are a ton here, and loads that I’d not heard of. One of the key messages that I get from reading this is that “AGILE” as a fixed practice has been growing, especially within in enterprise, and perhaps not to the benefit of actually delivering or simplifying the delivery of complex processes. ... (more)

Some ruminations on software architecture and diagramming

So Pat Kua recently tweeted: UML failed so here we have AML (Arbitrary Modeling Language) — Pat Kua (@patkua) November 9, 2018<_a><_blockquote> and this got me thinking about the worries I’ve had about not doing “diagramming” right, but the above tweet led me to read a ton of really interesting posts on software architecting. Bottom line is, as with so many things, pick the artefact that fits the purpose and the audience. ... (more)

The state of retractions in the research literature.

The results below are oldish, but interesting around the rate of retractions in the scholarly literature, and there is currently a bit of a debate going on around retractions (e.g. What a massive database of retracted papers reveals about science publishing’s ‘death penalty’ | Science | AAAS Steen RG, Casadevall A, Fang FC (2013) Why Has the Number of Scientific Retractions Increased? PLoS ONE 8(7): e68397. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068397 The increase in retracted articles appears to reflect changes in the behaviour of both authors and institutions. ... (more)

RAVE publishing technology conference 2018

I took some notes on some of the sessions at the conference yesterday. Dave Smith - object oriented publishing. Dave makes a good case here about how we should think about the future of scholarly publishing — in terms of objects that can be reformed based on the needs and competencies of the readers. He points out that while we do have in place good ontologies and domain models, our entire view of publishing and our publishing infrastructures, remain laggy and are a barrier to moving in this direction. ... (more)