Work interests: research, editing, science communication
Affiliation/website: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
Preferred contact method: Any
Preferred contact language(s): English, German
Contact: email = researchcooperative-at-gmail-dot-com
Favourite publications: Various, and especially the open access versions of older journals with effective review systems
Affiliations: 1996-present: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. 1995: Freelance editor, Kyoto. 1994: JSPS Research Visitor, Kyoto University, Kyoto. 1993: Research Visitor, Australian National University, Canberra. 1991: Visiting Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.1990: STA Fellow, National Institute for Ornamental Plants, Vegetables, and Tea (NIVOT), Ano, Japan
Contact: National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka, Japan 565-8511
Biographical: Established the Research Cooperative in 2001
Favourite Publications: Various
By Research Cooperative, 2022-04-07
John Berendt (2006) The City of Falling Angels. Penguin Books, London, 420 pp.
Non-fiction. A wonderful social history of modern Venice, based on the author's experiences and investigations in the city over many years. The author made patient efforts to meet many different kinds of people, and gain diverse perspectives on many aspects of city life and history. I admire his ability to follow many threads of study and bring them all together. Despite taking up some (locally) very controversial topics, he is able to state at the beginning: "All the people in [this book] are real, and are identified by their real names. There are no composite characters".
Geerat Vermeij (1997) Privileged Hands: A Remarkable Scientific Life. W. H. Freeman and Company: New York.
Non-fiction. The author is a biologist who became blind in childhood, in the Netherlands. After migrating to the USA with his family, at a young age, he became fascinated with seashells, ecology, palaeobiology, and the evolution of molluscs. His vivid descriptions of field work in many different countries transported me far from Kyoto at a time when travel for my own fieldwork has been greatly limited. I enjoyed this beautifully written book as much for the author's personal story as for the broad view of 20th century biology and evolutionary theory.
By Research Cooperative, 2022-01-20
There are many good expatriate writers in Japan.
Some are doing work unrelated to Japan in particular, others have chosen life in Japan as their main focus.
A good example of the latter is the "Cultivated Days" blog, here:
C. W. Nicol (1940-2020) was a pioneer of nature writing in Japan, and became dedicated to ecological education here, establishing an organisation that carries on his work: Afan Forest Trust.
The site is entirely in Japanese, but Nicol published many articles in English in The Japan Times and elsewhere.
By Research Cooperative, 2021-12-19
Copy of an open letter to the Ronin Institute (19th December 2021)
To whom it may concern,
I am a New Zealander working at the National Museum of Ethnology in Japan. This is where I settled in 1996 after a few years of wandering as a post-doc and self-employed scholar. My experiences of working in Japan led me to create the Research Cooperative in 2001, and the network now has approx. 8,000 members who are largely silent and/or inactive. This is partly because I cannot engage full-time with Co-op members while also working full-time for my museum and my own research. See:
The Research Cooperative needs collaboration with like-minded organisations and individuals!
My goal is to make the network self-sustaining as I believe the Research Cooperative will always be needed and useful, if it can achieve the potential I see in it. By self-sustaining a mean in terms of both development of the network and financially.
If the network can become more active, then it might attract sponsorships and advertising revenue, or might be of sufficient value to members to attract subscription payments for specific extra services. For example, professional editing or translation companies might be willing to offer discounts to subscribing members.
The Research Cooperative is a network where novices and professionals involved in all aspects of science communication can gather for mutual benefit.
Is collaboration between Ronin Institute and the Research Cooperative possible? At a minimum this could be a matter of cross-linking and cross-promotion.
Best regards, Peter
By Research Cooperative, 2021-04-08
Codes of conduct, research ethics and integrity... there are many ways to label the subject, but the overall goal is to make science a positive approach to understanding the world and guiding human activities. Science and knowledge can be powerful, anything that is powerful can do much that is good, and much that is not, however "good" is defined.
The actual details that need to be considered by any individual person or organisation depend on context: who is doing the work, who else is involved, the topic of study, the place of study, the methods used, what kind of information is generated, how information is communicated, the ways in which information might be used, intended purposes and possible unintended consequences, and who or what will benefit, or might benefit, directly or indirectly, when, and where.
In this blog post I will gradually add links to a range of websites where codes of conduct and research ethics are discussed or provided. Seeing many different examples may help members of the Research Cooperative consider what is best practice in their own areas of activity, as researchers, students, editors, translators and so on. Codes of conduct are often developed by professional societies, academic societies, institutions. Some may be very broad in scope, others may be designed for specific disciplines or even for specific methods used within a discipline.
If you would like to discuss these matters with other members of our network, please see our topic focus group for Research Ethics and Integrity
Here is an example with very broad scope, published by ALLEA (European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities), which represents more than 50 academies in over 40 EU and non-EU countries. ALLEA aims to promote science as a global public good, and facilitate scientific collaboration across borders and disciplines: The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity
The Code was published in English on 24th March 2017, and was translated into all official EU languages. All versions can be accessed through the link above.
By Research Cooperative, 2021-04-08
Bill Gammage (2012) The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia. Allen & Unwin. 434 pp.
I started reading this in 2020, and finished a few weeks ago... a long slow read but one I savored, as the author gradually builds up a big picture of what Australia was and is. He describes life-ways and a philosophy of living that do not fit the narrow categories of "farming" or "hunting and gathering" commonly used to distinguish Eurasian agricultural societies from many of those that exist (or existed) in Africa, the Americas, and Australia. By showing what Australia was, the scale of loss that followed European colonisation is overwhelming, at an emotional level. Not all is lost though, as this book is also an attempt to help us learn from historical experience, imagine new possibilities, and seek new directions. The lessons here are not just for those who live in Australia, and not just for the descendants of European colonisers. We all belong to a modern industrial world in which it has become increasingly difficult to remain connected to land, and to care for it.
By Research Cooperative, 2021-02-21
Today I sent the following message to a new member:
"Thanks very much for joining. It would be great if you can offer your services in our service forums, and join the Image Workshop community page here:
What we really need is more active use of the network by members: activity promotes activity, inactivity promotes inactivity.
The network is unique in its focus on science communication, so there are interesting opportunities to have an impact for any members who do become active."
The last point explains why I continue to maintain the network despite the persistent lack of activity. I still believe in the potential to improve science communication through better communication among all those involved in writing and publishing research.
Perhaps it is little like the origins of life on potentially inhabitable planets: life can happen, but not necessarily so. There might be life on Mars, or there might not. Our network might come to life, or it might not. Perseverance is needed.
Photo: The Perseverance rover has landed. Photo courtesy NASA, 19th Feb. 2021: https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/25609/high-resolution-still-image-of-perseverances-landing/
By Research Cooperative, 2021-01-28
Our network, the Research Cooperative, succeeds and fails for the same reason:
The nework has universal aims that have attracted members from all scientific areas, but lacks the focus that specialist networks can provide.
Some companies succeed because they offer (for example) editing or translation for all possible topics (and farm out the work to unknown freelancers).
Yet there are many individual editors or specialist editing companies that succeed because of a particular focus on human sciences, or engineering, or medicine, or biology, or other areas.
We should not consider the "specialist vs generalist" contrast to be an "either/or" option at the Research Cooperative.
Maybe we can aim for both. For example, it may be good for us to set up service groups within our system that focus on specific subjects (e.g. offers and requests for editing in mathematics).
That was partly why we set up "topic focus groups"... but those groups are not designed for specific services related to each topic.
In reality, the group pages are not being used for topic discussions or for service offers and requests.
They are not being used, full stop. :-(
Perhaps this means that we have not made it clear that they can be used for discussion and service offers or requests.
We need to think how the functions and potentials of our network can be made more obvious for visitors, potential members, and existing members.
Any opinions on this matter are welcome!
Please reply to this blog. Thanks.
(Photo: nightfall in Kyoto, Summer 2020)
By Research Cooperative, 2020-08-15
Chris Stewart. 1999. Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia. London: Sort Of Books. Great escapist reading for would-be farmers and gardeners stuck in city apartments.
Isabel Colegate. 1968 [reprinted 2020] Orlando King. Bloomsbury Publishing. A timeslip to prewar and postwar Britain and the inner life of a political family, following the structure of Oedipus Rex. The reprint has useful introduction for classically untrained readers such as myself..
Pascale Besse. ed. 2014. Molecular Plant Taxonomy: Methods and Protocols. Humana Press. Has some very good chapters explaining technical aspects of phylogenetic analysis with DNA sequence data