Chief Admin


Blogs: 169
Pages: 4
Memos: 113
Invitations: 1
Location: Kyoto and Auckland
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

Founding Member

Work: ethnobotany, prehistory, museum curation
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

Category: Research Co-op

The Research Cooperative has been set up as an NPO but lacks funding to develop effectively and to become a registered, officially recognised NPO.

Our network still appears to attractive to many people, but could be more useful with more activity of various kinds.

So... if any of our members has time and energy, I encourage them to look at the Philanthropy University , which has recently opened shop with a range of free online courses for philanthropists, fundraisers, and NPO organisations.

The courses have been developed by the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Please have a look, and if you can learn anything of potential use for the Research Cooperative, please report back to us!

Thanks, Peter

Dear Members and Visitors,

Our network attracts on average around 100 to 200 visitors per day. What do you all do with your time when visiting our network?

I looked at some Goggle stats for our site (7th Feb 2013 to 8th Feb 2015, a period of two years).


(1) Most visitors run away within a few seconds (thanks for finding us!)

(2) A significant number of visitors stay long enough to look at two or three different pages (see "session duration" and "page depth" below). That only requires two or three minutes.

(3) Very few visitors (including members) stay long enough to log in, write a message, or find someone who can help or who they can give help to.

Conclusion: we are not very successful attracting people who really need the social connections that are possible through our network.

Why is this?

Your opinons about the network are valuable, whether good, bad, or indifferent. Without your feedback, we cannot develop the Research Cooperative effectively.

Associative Search for Social Networks

By Research Cooperative, 2014-05-11

I often wonder what the ideal search system for members of social network like ours.

Recently I heard the phrase "associative search" for the first time.

This kind of search is relevant for the museum where I work. We have public access databases, but these merely give results that exactly match the keywords entered into an in house search engine. There is no intelligence in our database search engine.

Here is a good description of how associative search works, from a blog of the Internet Archive:

" When using the new search within a single program feature, the browser dynamically refines the results with each character typed. As typing proceeds towards the final search term, unexpected 60-second segments and phrases arise, providing serendipitous, yet systematic choices, even while options narrow towards the intended results.These surprising occurrences suggest the diverse opportunities for inquiry afforded by the unique research library and encourage some playful exploration. "

This kind of search system is really needed for public, user-friendly, opean access search of museum archives... and it will be especially valuable for users who are not experts for particular kinds of material. Even if they only have a rough idea of what to call something, they have a chance of finding what they want through associative search.

However, this depends on rich and fully indexed content. From a friend in Australia, I heard that a "Virtual Museum of the Pacific" failed from the start because the system was unique or specialised ("designed by programmers") - i.e. too difficult to maintain and update.

It is a trap to invent new technology that is then expensive to maintain and update. In most situations, it is probably best to innovate in how we use easy-to-maintain generic systems.

I hope that someday Ning (host of the Research Cooperative) will realise that it has created an ideal test platform for testing search systems with online social networks.

Associative search might be an ideal service to provide for social networks.

While thinking about this, I also realised that even inactive members of our network can be of interest, since they have provided at least some information about themselves in each public profile page. That information in itself may have value as an archive of mini-biography, even as members inevitably lose contact with the network, by choice or otherwise. Our network can become a kind of social memory for people involved in research communication.

I need to think about this more.

Meanwhile, I recommend the following note by Thomas T. Hills and Thorsten Pachur ,

"Searching Our Cognitive Social Networks: How We Remember Who We Know"

found at


(See also " Associative search and the Research Cooperative ")

Member activities in the front seat

By Research Cooperative, 2014-01-24

Over the last two weeks Sam and I have rearranged the menus, reduced the number of groups, and generally tried to simplify the navigation.

Yesterday I took the plunge and switched the site layout to a new Ning template: "Avant Garde" and using two columns instead of three.

The left-hand column is dedicated to making member contributions more obvious, and the right-hand column holds the sign-in/sign-out boc, and various kinds of network information.

Member activities are now in the front seat, not far behind the engine driver.

In our blog posts, we can change the font style and size. Here I am using the default Arial style, and 12 point size (the default is currently 10).

This is what 10 point looks like.

This is what Times New Roman looks like.

And now I would like to say adieu, it's time for me to take the train to work. I usually sit in the middle carriage.


................................... o o o o o o o o o o ..............................

Visit to Assam, India

By Research Cooperative, 2013-11-22

I've just returned from several days in Assam, and have a backlog of work to do here in Osaka... so, I won't be able to attend much to the Research Cooperative. Welcome to all our newest members. Please look around and make good use of our forums. Enjoy!

Best regards, Peter (Admin.)

How good are the search functions in our network?

By Research Cooperative, 2013-09-06

NOTE: Members of the Research Cooperative are encouraged to reply to this post with feedback that I can transmit to our hosting company, Thank you in advance! Peter.

Ning is the company that hosts our network. I occasionally join the Ning Network Creators Group in order to participate in discussions about problems, fixes, and wished-for features. Over the years, the lack of Search functionality inside our network has been a major concern for me. Today, I posted the following message in reply to another Ning Network Creator's observation that: "UNACCEPTABLE NING SEARCH STILL BROKEN!!!"

Peter wrote:

1. Overall site search (top right) on my Ning 2 network works well.

2. Member search works well.

3. Forum search works not at all. Zilch, which-ever way I try it.

Indexing problems appear and disappear over the years. Indexing seems to be an inherently unstable system that is nevertheless treatable. It should be more stable, but it is not entirely disfunctional.

The problem with search for forums (like the limitations on search inside groups) may be something that is hard-wired into the system.

I suspect that different groups of engineers have been working on different components of the whole Ning system without co-ordinating their efforts to maximise the functionality of search.

Search needs to be raised to a top level domain of Ning development. If Ning management do not have the resources to do this, they should ask Glam to give it special support.

Search development needs to be coordinated across all areas of the platform:

- from the level of how to find Ning networks from outside of Ning,

- to the level of how to find specific kinds of information in specific kinds of content inside each network, and

- to the level of how search and find all advertisments on a site (some users and visitors might be into that, if it could be made possible). It would be good if there was any industry standard for setting different levels of advertising intensity, so that users could set a preference (on their browser for example) and take in more or take in less. My impression is that there is still a lot of room for invention in how advertising can be used to positively enhance the user experience of social networks.

- to the level of the user test-panels and in-site direct feedback.

It would be great if Network Creators could get hosting discounts in return for allowing Ning to (temporarily) install instant-feedback popup windows that are seen by all the various kinds of visitors that come to our networks.

Ning has an original and unique platform, and should be able to generate some valuable patents for itself if it can truly challenge the issue of social search. People have been talking about this problem in the world of social networks generally.

I want Ning to succeed, and for that Ning needs a search system that beats out the rivals.

Incidentally, the very low usage of my network over the years (despite thousands of people joining, with some kind of hope or anticipation) is probably to a large extent due to the crippling effects of disfunctional search inside the forums.

I don't know any better system, so that's why I have stayed with Ning, despite dissatisfaction with the search functions from the very start.

Rejecting applications for membership - detecting spam

By Research Cooperative, 2013-04-16

Joining our network is not an automatic process. The profile of each new member has to be checked by a living person (me) and then manually approved (by pressing the 'approve' button). Without this, our membership would be quickly dominated by spam robots posing as humans, or humans working as spam robots.

Today I found an application and profile that was clearly composed without any evidence of a human mind at work: although all parts of the form were filled with academic looking details, the details in different parts of the form were inconsistent and nonsensical in combination. They appear to have been composed by combining details from the profiles of various recently joined members.

Here is what I saw, with the name deleted in case the name actually belongs to a real person.

If anyone believes this member was wrongly rejected, please let me know!

Thanks, Peter


About R.... G..... [name deleted]

What is your location? (country, region, city, or other))
USA, Nebraska, plainview
Self-description (You can represent yourself or an organisation)
learner, university undergraduate
Work areas/research interests - general, specific, or both
psychology and language learning
Preferred means of contact
Mail via my profile mail box
Preferred language(s) for correspondence
Further details - e.g. contact info, working languages, short CV
Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Kinshasa,P. M .B. 1115, Kinshasa, Speaks and writes English.
Am 24, pursuing Bachelors degree in Agricultural Economics/Extension,Masters Degree in Extension and Rural Development,and currently a Ph.D researcher in the University of Reading,United state and also a lecturer in the University.
What are your favourite local and international research-related journals, newsletters, or popular-science magazines? Please name up to six publications in total, without ranking, across these categories
Global Journal of Agricultural Research - Nigeria, Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, Journal of Agriculture and Environment, Finland, Journal of Agriculture - Pakistan, Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development - Bangladesh, Canadian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Elserveir Journal, UK and the USA.
How would you like to use this website?Private

to start or join a project or group, to make an offer of help
Comments for the Administrator (questions, issues, advice, etc.)Private

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research,

Research Cooperative at LinkedIn

By Research Cooperative, 2013-04-12

Our network has a group at the LinkedIn network.

See: Research Cooperative at LinkedIn

Please join and help us create wider awareness of the Research Cooperative.

Make useful connections there too, maybe!


This is a message I sent today to the Ning Creators network - a private network for people who have created social networks using the Ning platform. The network is managed by Ning, and I am hoping that Ning staff will reply to my message.


Meanwhile, I am cross-posting here so that members of the Research Cooperative can learn something about the limits of how our network is managed.


Peter (Admin., Kyoto)



I have been running my Ning network since 2008, and have more than 6000 members - or maybe not.

There is no easy way for me to verify the email addresses of "active members" who may no longer be active, because their email addresses no longer exist and they are:

(a) no longer contactable through the network, and

(b) unable to log in to delete or renew their pages because their email addresses are no longer working.

Our administration dashboard shows a list of all so-called "active members", but in fact any number of them may have changed their email addresses without updating their member data, before changing their email address.

This is something that can easily happen.

Recently I noticed that there are companies that can test and verify email addresses in bulk, without having to actually send an email and disturb the owners of the email addresses.

To use this service, I will have to manually download all member data as a csv file, delete the unnecessary data, submit the list, pay a large fee, check the results, and then manually find each individual member and delete their member accounts one by one.

Perhaps Ning could team up with one of these companies, and on behalf of all Ning networks negotiate a discount in return for integrating the service with our dashboards. Then we could "confirm active members" with one click, and decide whether to "delete all", "delete selected", "hide all" or "hide selected" from the list of results in the dashboard.

That way, we could show our truly active members member search pages that are composed of actual contactable active members, and not just the ghosts of members past.

All advice on this matter is welcome!

I wonder what of percentage of Ning networks are composed of members identified as "active" but in fact no longer active, nor contactable.

The "confirm active tool" would be a major vlaue add to all Ning networks, and would allow us to talk to advertisers seriously about using our networks for advertising.

If Ning would like to study this issue, I can offer my own network as a guinea pig for assessing the seriousness of a problem that I suspect is endemic to all our networks.

[Cross posting from:]

Occasionally the Research Cooperative receives non-specific offers of volunteer help for administration.

In this page, we show a range of administrative roles for which we need help. The are many roles, and we need many people to help us.

If any of these are of interest to you, please contact: Dr Peter Matthews, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan (email pjm at

Thank you.

1. New member greetings

2. Groups (focus groups for countries, languages, occupations, topics, volunteers, etc.)

3. Forums (for offers and requests)

4. General or Regional roles

5. General management (correspondence, coordination, etc.)

6. PR and Promotional activities (invitations, fliers, etc.)

7. Sponsors and Funding

8. Secretary for Board of Advisors (Board is not yet active)

9. Research and Development (R&D) (for our network)

10. Short Communications of the Research Cooperative (finding and managing writers)

11. Topical Notes (finding and managing writers)

12. Other (make your own suggestion!)

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