Work interests: research, editing, ethnobotany, prehistory, plant genetics
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: Aroideana, Economic Botany, Farming Matters, PLoSOne
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: Economic Botany, Ethnobotany Research and Applications, New Scientist, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter, Archaeology in Oceania
By Research Cooperative, 2019-06-04
There is a lot to learn about cabbages - and they in turn are just a small part of the large family of brassica vegetables!
This new book on cabbage is good to read, for anyone who grows, cooks or eats cabbages:
Muckenhoupt, Meg. (2018). Cabbage: A Global History. London, Reaktion Books.
There are many interesting side-stories along the way. The author has read - and eaten - widely to give us this book. I particularly like the use of old paintings of cabbages and cabbage fields to illustrate the book here and there.
The book is one of many in the "Edible" series published by Reaktion Books.
By Research Cooperative, 2019-05-06
Book review: The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District, by James Rebank (2016, Penguin Books, UK).
Peter J. Matthews, for The Research Coooperative, blog, 6th May 2019.
The Lake District of northern England is most famous today as a scenic destination for millions of tourists annually, a get-away-from-it-all region for visitors from across the United Kingdom and the world. It is mountainous, with many peaks of more than 600m, including the highest peak in England, at 978m. These are not high mountains by world standards, but at a latitude of around 54 degrees North, the entire region is very cold in winter, has short summers, and is not easy for farming.
It is in this region that James Rebanks grew up as a farmer and shepherd, like his parents and grandparents and others before them. While telling the story of his own family, and the tensions, tenderness and cooperation that coexist in a multi-generational family farm, Rebanks also tells the larger story of a traditional farming system that has existed for thousands of years, based on sheep herds that may have originated with the migrations of Vikings into the region from northern Europe. There is also a story here of modern social history, telling how landless peasants became tenant or smallholding farmers while also retaining access to high mountain pastures (the fells) that are still managed as commons, having escaped enclosures (privatisation) during and after the 19th century.
The author also shows how traditional "cultural landscapes" and "intangible cultural heritage" are formed, and how these may struggle to survive even as efforts are made to preserve the outward, material appearances of a landscape. To understand his own world, Rebanks stepped outside, into the world of academic study, and then returned. Rebanks is quite explicit in his own wish to dedicate his life to a particular place and culture, while helping others to do the same in other regions of the world, through various kinds of negotiation with the modern world. He is anti-dogmatic, despite his dedication to a particular way of life: his purpose is not to prescribe solutions, but to help others find their own solutions, and to enjoy their own ways of living. The stories in this book are both personal and universal, and I could easily find resonances with my own experiences of life growing up in New Zealand, where my ancestors were farmers, and where some branches of the family remain close to a particular landscape and rural culture, while others have wandered far from it.
Perhaps it is my own farming instincts and family history that made this book so interesting for me, but I also want to think about the implications for my work as an ethnobiologist. For many years I have been looking at how people across Asia and the Pacific have maintained certain plants, cultivation methods, and cooking methods over thousands of years, not only across generations but also across cultures and languages. Although we often think of the world as divided by geographical, social, and cultural boundaries, there are also many continuities across ancient cultural landscapes. Understanding such continuities may help us to recognise shared interests in the present, and opportunities for mutual support in the future.
[See also: The Illustrated Herdwick Shepherd, by the same author].
Photo above: "Herdwick sheep browsing in a field remarkably popular with moles", by Pete Birkinshaw, 19th February, 2009 (via Wikimedia Commons and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).
By Research Cooperative, 2018-11-13
I tend read whatever happens to come to hand, when a free moment lets me get started -- and then I try to finish what I start, but sometimes it's just not possible; sorry to the authors.
Here's a list of finished readings in 2018 (to help me recall where I went in spare hours).
Wohlleben's book gave me good food for thought while looking at forests in China and Vietnam.
* * *
Crumley, Jim (1997) The Company of Swans (Engravings by Harry Brockway). Harvill Press. London. Non-fiction.
Drucker, Peter F. (2001) The Essential Drucker. Collins Business: New York . Non-fiction.
Fermour, Patrick Leigh (1953) The Violins of Saint Jacques. John Murray: London . Fiction.
Follett, Ken (2017) A Column of Fire. Penguin, New York. Fiction.
Garfield, Simon (2000) Mauve: How one man invented a color that changed the world. W. W. Norton: New York and London. Non-fiction.
Gopnik, Adam (2000) Paris to the Moon. Random House: New York. Non-fiction.
Hemingway, Ernest (1929) Across the River and Into the Trees. Arrow Books: London . Fiction.
Higashino, Keigo (2015) Malice. Abacus, London. Fiction.
O'Brian, Patrick (1973) H. M. S. Surprise. Norton: New York and London . Fiction.
Wohlleben, Peter (2017) The Hidden Life of Trees. W. Collins: London. Non-fiction.
By Research Cooperative, 2018-07-15
The following note is advice that I gave to someone who joined the Research Cooperative and made a public request for help finding a postdoc position in a particular research field, but without providing any details of full range of interest, actual experience or publication record, present location, or a wished-for destination.
As a result, the best I could do was speak from my own experience, in general terms. Perhaps the story is useful for others too, in some way.
* * * *
I can't give any specific direction to ongoing work in your area.
What I can say is that opportunities are many if you can show sufficient ability (through publications and personal encounters) and interest (when speaking or corresponding with potential hosts).
In my own case (starting out as a post-doc in the more friendly 1990s), opportunities in Japan arose through my communication with students of my own generation, post-docs of my own generation, and eventually with potential senior hosts.
I gave seminars whenever and wherever I could find an interested audience for my work. I explored potential work places while working on short-term contracts in nearby work places. And I kept writing and publishing my own single-author papers and reviews whether or not I had a current employer.
In fact I never applied for an advertised position but was able to find hosts to support my applications (to Japanese government funding agencies) for funding to work in particular labs on projects of mutual interest.
Whenever I had income I invested as much as possible in my own work, field travel and equipment, and kept working and writing. I had my own research direction and goals and found people and institutions willing to support me.
I found people and work opportunities through proactive correspondence (which is what you have done by joining this network; thank you for joining).
All this is to say: have courage, and have faith that the work you do matters and needs to be done, and keep looking for opportunities wherever they may be, and keep looking for ways to add to your experience and learning.
By Research Cooperative, 2018-07-15
"OneAll Social" is a system module in the back end of our network. With this, Admin. can let new members signup using an existing account at another social network, or signin using that account.
Another function of the module is to allow members to share their comments, blogposts, and other activities with other social networks where they have accounts.
At present, it is possible, in theory, to share to a Facebook account or LinkedIn account. Each member has to set this up for themselves after logging in to the Research Cooperative.
Go to YOUR USERNAME in MAIN MENU>>ACCOUNT SETTINGS>>NETWORKS>>Facebook Icon (or other Icon)
If Facebook recognises your email address (used to set up the account at Research Coopeerative), then clicking on the Facebook Icon will activate sharing to your Facebook account.
After that, when you compose a blog post (for example) the sharing options will be shown after the text field, and can be checked or unchecked for the message:
I will try sharing the present post with my Facebook account, which is sure to be ignored as yet another dull message from the Research Cooperative! Sorry!
By Research Cooperative, 2018-07-06
A common problem that many researchers face when working in a second language is uncertainty about how to write a service request (see "Offers & Requests" in main menu) in the second language.
Authors may be uncomfortable making a request for help public, and not being sure of how to express the request is likely increase the discomfort. This leads to a natural resistance to make public requests for help.
This is why it is important for editors and translators to make public offers of help, so that authors can find them easily and then contact them using our "private note" messaging system. After login, each member can find the "private note" tab under their own username in the main menu.
It may also be useful for our network to provide individuals support in composing requests for help. I can offer such support as Administrator, but only to a limited extent as I have a full-time research job that needs most of my time.
What our network really needs is a volunteer support team who can help authors compose requests for help for either the public "Offers & Requests" or for private notes that can be sent to specific editors or translators in our network (or other service providers in the network - proofreaderes, illustrators, etc.)
If you would like be part of such a volunteer support team, please let me know!
By Research Cooperative, 2018-04-07
Dear Members (newly-joined), I am the creator and administrator of the Research Cooperative. This means I am looking at the signup details of every new member, and making sure that real people are joining the network. So I am sure that this message is reaching real people! Please do not ignore the Research Cooperative after joining! This is my main advice. The practical value of our network depends on each member completing a public profile, and then using the forums at least occasionally. Our goal is NOT to become another global, personal-data-grabbing network. Fear not. Our goal is to support a large and active community of people interested in education, research, and the practical aspects of scientific communication and publishing. Please have the confidence to ask for help or to offer help. The best way for young researchers to learn about scientific writing is to help others, and also to learn from professional editors or translators, and from the comments of reviewers. Paying for help from a professional editor or translator is also a good way to learn how to write better, and is a worthwhile investment. If this leads to a manuscript being accepted for review by a good journal, then much can be learned from the reviewers who help to make that journal good. Having feedback from good reviewers, and acting on that feedback, is much more useful than having a paper uncritically accepted by a journal that has few readers. Experienced, professional editors and translators are strongly encouraged to promote their services through our network. Inexperienced editors and translators are also strongly encouraged to raise their hands, and gain experience through our network. These are all matters that can and should be discussed by our members in the various forums of the Research Cooperative. The opportunities and issues for communication in different subject areas, countries, and journals are very diverse. Finally, I would be grateful if new members can tell me anything at all about their impressions of the network, the general ease of use, specific problems with navigation, and any other issues. All feedback is welcome. Sincerely, Peter Matthews (Kyoto, Japan) [Posted 7th April to 405 newly-joined members of our network]
By Research Cooperative, 2018-01-08
Recently I began putting a slogan header on the Services top page where all the service offers and requests are shown.
The aim is to change this whenever the existing slogan looks tired or badly chosen.
Today's new slogan is:
"Good communication needs authors who care about their readers. Please ask here for help, or offer help"
Suggestions for a better slogan are welcome, preferably something original.
Update (5th July 2018): current slogan is "Services for authors who care about their readers: Ask here for help or offer help!"