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


Potential for impact in science

By Research Cooperative, 2021-02-21
Potential for impact in science

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:

Specialist vs generalist services for science communication

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)

Reading in 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

Posted in: Books | 0 comments

Responses to the Research Co-op Newsletter - July 2020

By Research Cooperative, 2020-07-17

The Research Cooperative Newsletter is sent out occasionally to all members with the aim of reminding members that our site is still active, and to encourage use of the site, and provide some guidance on how to use the site. Th Newsletter is very much "grey literature" and not very exciting, so we expect a proportion of members to "unsubscribe" and are happy if a measurable number of members read the message.

In the Admin dashboard, we can see what the response has been (see image below). Any suggestions on how to make our newsletter more interesting are welcome! Thanks.

Newsl response July 2020 copy.jpg

The Research Cooperative and Covid 19

By Research Cooperative, 2020-06-23

I'm concerned that, globally, not enough efforts have been made to let most people know what viruses are and how we can protect ourselves and our communities from Covid 19 and economic damage -- now and in the future. Such efforts are just as important as collecting and providing the information on how and where the pandemic is expanding or retreating.

Despite all sincere efforts, perfectly accurate and complete information cannot be expected. Presenting the information we do have is done very well here:

A good public-health service and the economy are not either/or options. We need both: one supports the other.

It also helps to know how, why and where disinformation is created. UNESCO has published a report on this very recently, with the following cover note:

" Access to reliable and accurate information is critical at the best of times, but during a crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it can be a matter of life and death ".



Readings 2019 - another mixed bag

By Research Cooperative, 2020-03-24

Recommended (fun and/or serious)

Agnelli, Marella (1987) Gardens of the Italian Villas. (in association with Luca Pietromarchi, Robert Emmett Bright, Federico Forquet), Rizzoli, New York.

Ambrosoli, Mauro (1997) The Wild and the Sown: Botany and Agriculture in Western Europe, 1350-1850. Cambridge University Press (translated by Mary McCann Salvatorelli  from Italian to English).

Anan, Paro (2019) Being Gandhi. HarperCollins (Illustrations by Priya Kuriyan).

Graeber, David (2019) Bullshi*t Jobs: A Theory (The rise of pointless work and what we can do about it). Penguin.

Ishiguro, Kazuo (2001) [1986] An Artist of the Floating World. Faber and Faber.

Morike, Eduard (1968) [1914] Mozart auf der Reise Nach Prag (Novelle). Philipp Reclam Jun., Stuttgart.

Muckenhoupt, Meg. (2018). Cabbage: A Global History. Reaktion Books, London (see book review).

Pearce, Michael (2017) The Mamur Zapt and the Donkey-Vous. HarperCollins.

Rebank, James (2016) The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District. Penguin (see book reivew).

Varoufakis, Yanis (2017) Talking To My Daughter: A Brief History of Capitalism. Vintage

Tolerable (books with some points of interest, so I finished reading them)

Kruger, Susanna S. (2017) My Mother's Story and Worth: Africa to Aotearoa (NZ, self-published family history with some general historical interest).

Mackintosh, Sophie (2018) The Water Cure. Penguin (depressing description of dystopia dominated by gender conflict).

Posted in: Books | 0 comments

Editing a thesis abstract in Bangladesh

By Research Cooperative, 2019-11-08

This week I have been in Bangladesh for work related to my own research subject. I am collaborating with a counterpart at one of the universities here. He gave me days of his time, so I was very happy to help edit thesis abstracts for two of his MSc students.

The abstracts were first sent to me by email, as digital documents, but I insisted on working with the texts printed on paper, and with the students in person.

One student was sick, so eventually I had a good 30 minutes one-to-one with the other student, working through the abstract and improving the expression.

The basic content and structure was mostly good. By working through the text together, the student could observe the editing process, not just receive a final result. I hope it was helpful. For me as an editor, the work was much easier because I could ask the author for immediate feedback on my suggestions, and for clarification of meaning when needed.

Dhaka red dd bus.jpg

Photo: Almost a red London bus in Dhaka?!

I am sure the similarity is intentional, since so many people from Bangladesh are living in the UK, or have been there for work or study.

Many staff at the university I am working with have obtained a PhD in the UK.

Posted in: Archives | 0 comments

The Wild and the Sown

By Research Cooperative, 2019-07-29

In 460 detailed pages, including a detailed index, this densely-packed book reviews the spread of nitrogen fixing legumes across Europe and their changing roles in two agricultural revolutions (ascending in one, declining in the other):

Mauro Ambrosoli (1997) The Wild and the Sown: Botany and Agriculture in Western Europe, 1350-1850. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

This is an excellent English translation by Mary McCann Salvatorelli. The original Italian edition was published in Turin in 1992.

Posted in: Books | 0 comments
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