Research Cooperative Review, Issue 24 (8th June 2013)
The Research Cooperative
A message to all members ( RCR 24)
Hi from Kyoto,
This is our first Review since January 2013. This year it has been difficult for me to give much time to the network. A three-year research grant is coming to an end, and I have much writing to do, as well as editing tasks for colleagues at the museum where I work. I am also helping with preparations for a conference in Hanoi in December 2013.
However, I have started trying to simplify the network in small ways, as gradual preparation for a big change that is likely to take place sometime next year (see more below). Making the network 'simpler' mainly means removing items that are more of a distraction than a benefit for our members.
I am learning by trial and error, as an administrator.
I'm sorry that I have not had time to personally greet more of our new members.
Thanks to you for joining, and thanks to others who have greeted new members as they join.
For the last few years, our network has been developed using a generic social networking platform provided by Ning, a private company. To use this platform, I must pay a small monthly fee, but this is much less than the cost of managing a system that requires support from technical experts. I am not a computer programmer, and appreciate the fact that Ning does not require the network administrator to also be familiar with coding.
However, our network is currently completely dependent on Ning, and there is no guarantee that this company will exist for ever, or that it will continue to be the best choice of platform for our network.
Earlier this year, Ning announced that they will rebuild and redesign their platform for networks, and that all existing networks will eventually, within one year, have to move to the new platform, which is called Ning 3.0 .
In principle, the pages of all existing members and groups will be automatically be moved into the Ning 3.0 system, but many features of the design and layout may change. Ning is trying to unify the operation of networks on mobile devices and on full-screen computers, and at the same time is trying to make the management of advertising in networks more effective - so that networks can more easily raise revenue and cover costs through advertising (and thus help make Ning profitable).
At present, our network does not earn any income through advertising, but we do need to look for ways to cover costs in the future.
Ideally, income and donations would rise to a level that not only covers the basic running costs, but also allows us to employ staff to help manage and develop the network in ways that make the network more useful for our members.
I have a long wish-list in this regard, but here are two examples:
1. A dedicated staff editor/writer .
This person could be asked to:
(a) manage a general blog that posts stories and information related to many aspects of research, writing, and publishing for research and education, and
(b) manage a blog that specialises in providing information about new academic or educational publishers that are serious, and that have good potential to be useful for contributors and readers in the future. (Only a small proportion of new publishers are likely to succeed in the long term, even if they are established with the best intentions and by people with suitable skills and support).
2. A general secretary .. to communicate actively with members, provide advice, and to seek volunteer support from our members for many different tasks that could be done to support and develop the network.
I will try to post another issue of this review in July. Please contact me at any time if there are any questions or topics you would like me to comment on.
Best regards, Peter (Admin., Kyoto)
ps See previous issues of Research Cooperative Review , our full member list here . Send an offer or request for help here (please choose a suitable category, under the message, beofer you send it!). Find and join special focus groups here.