Re: Newsletter & Call for Papers WebSci'18

re "newsletter", a quote from my in-progress PhD thesis:

“The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation we
tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the
most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We
march backward into the future. Suburbia lives imaginatively in
Bonanza-land” – Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage: An
Inventory of Effects, p74-75, 1967

I offer a brief reflection on spotting archaic practices:

On 2018-02-17 13:04, Steffen Staab wrote:
> Web Science is the premier interdisciplinary conference on understanding
> the World Wide Web in all its facets - technological, social, cultural,
> political. WebSci'18 is held 27-30 May 2018 at VU Amsterdam, The
> Netherlands. Below are highlights of the program and call for papers.

re "papers", what are the "effects" of this sort of mentality on the

> ********************************
> Tim Berner's-Lee: Turing Lecture
> ********************************


> ******************************************************************
> ******************************************************************

papers, papers, come get your papers in the electric age! Is it merely
the lack of technology or know-how to use the "new" medium to its full
potential, or are we simply attaching ourself to the past because some
chose to speak for all?

> The 10th International ACM Conference on Web Science in 2018 (WebSci�18)
> is a unique conference where a multitude of disciplines converge in a
> creative and critical dialogue with the aim of understanding the Web and
> its impacts. 

The "impact", ie. the *effects* of the "paper" in practice is crystal
clear. I argue that we haven't actually studied the *effects*, but the
anecdotal evidence is clear. While the *content* of these Web
conferences are about the Web (and no doubt that it has value to
humanity), the message is delivered in is something no less than an
enhanced version of a physical paper; better ink via faster horses. It
has been more or less that way since the Web was conceived. That has set
the tune on the rest of the workflow, anything from discovery, reuse,
funding, policies, to our rights.

> WebSci�18 welcomes participation from diverse fields
> including (but not limited to) art, anthropology, computer and
> information sciences, communication, economics, humanities, informatics,
> law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, and
> sociology. We particularly welcome contributions that seek to cross
> traditional disciplinary boundaries. We are seeking papers that describe
> original research, analysis, and practice in the field of Web Science,
> as well as work that discusses novel and thought-provoking ideas and
> important research-in-progress.

The content is a by-product given the framework it has set itself. The
*effects* of the requirement to participate *is* part of this
conference's "impact".

What is the impact of this conference on the Web and our society?

Is it self-aware?

> Possible topics for submissions include (but are not limited to) the
> following:
> Current theoretical, methodological, and epistemological challenges of
> Web Science:
> * Ethical challenges of technologies, data, algorithms, platforms, and
> people in the Web
> * Interdisciplinarity in Web Science
> * Modeling Web-related structures, data, users and behaviours
> * Impact of big data on the development of Web Science
> * Web Science approaches to data science, data analytics, and the Web of
> data
> * Detecting, preventing and predicting anomalies in Web data
> * Data curation and stewardship in Web Science
> * Sharing Web research data, Web archiving, and scholarly uses of Web
> archives
> * The psychological, sociological, legal and technological aspects
> related to the temporal and spatial dimensions of the web as a
> repository of information
> Web practices of individuals, collectives, institutions, and platforms:
> * The architecture and philosophy of the Web
> * Social machines, crowd computing, collective intelligence, and
> collaborative production
> * Health and well-being online
> * Humanities, arts, and culture on the Web
> * Web Science and the Internet of Things
> * Web economics, social entrepreneurship, and innovation
> * Analysis of online social and information networks, social media analyses
> * Governance, democracy, access, intellectual property:
> * Personal data and privacy
> * Anonymity, security and trust for Web access
> * Web access, literacy, divides, and development
> * Knowledge, education, and scholarship on and through the Web

This is all fascinating.

> Submission
> **********
> WebSci18 is a selective conference with a rigorous review process.
> Reviewing will be single-blind (authors are identified on submissions;
> reviewers are anonymized). To accommodate the distinct traditions of Web
> Science�s many disciplines, we allow for two different paper submission
> formats: full papers and short papers.
> Full papers are up to 8-10 pages long, ACM double column. Full papers
> should present new and substantial theoretical, empirical,
> methodological, or policy-oriented contributions to research and/or
> practice. Full papers include an abstract, an introduction, sections and
> especially significant conclusions and should be well on top of the
> current literature in the field as evidenced by appropriate referencing.
> Full papers should be original work that has not been previously
> published. Full papers are presented through regular talks. The program
> committee may decide to recommend full papers that were rejected as such
> to be accepted as short papers, if the authors agree.
> Short papers are 3-5 pages long, ACM double column. Short papers should
> present new ideas and/or work in progress that may have significant
> impact to or implications for the progress of the Web and Web Science.
> Short papers should include an abstract, an introductory paragraph and
> appropriate references. Short papers should be original work that has
> not been previously published. Short papers are assigned short talks.

"full", "short", US Letter, font-size 10pt, black ink, number of
words... How does the print-centric format have any relevance on what's
intended to be expressed? Why must the results be presented and consumed
in a non-interactive, anti-social manner?

What are the *effects*? What are the affordances?

This is of course completely arbitrary and archaic in that this
particular "publisher" requires academics to present their scientific
results in a way that that "publisher's" platform can accommodate. At
another time, in a galaxy far far away, for another "publisher", it will
be completely different.

Consider the *effects* of imposing knowledge to be squeezed into these
static two dimensional containers.

What is this conference's impact on the scientific community?

How did it lead academia to use the Web towards its full potential?

The "average" academic that studies or works with the Web is unaware of
the medium it is using to express its knowledge simply because it is
told not to really use it. We pretend to use it. We talk about the
content, but we don't go further. Some will argue "change is slow",
"that's how things are", but they only speak for themselves. Evidently
the Web has taken off, but it is only them that are left behind.

If you are an academic supervisor or a team lead of some sort, please
take a moment to consider whether you want to grow your team with
expertise in LaTeX/Word or the Web stack when it comes to
publishing/consuming scholarly information. Whether you are a junior or
senior researcher, the actions you take today matters.

Have a look at the Web. What's stopping you from participating in that
bazaar of ideas and exercising your freedom of expression? You need to
go through a third-party? You think that's air you're breathing now?

> Both types of accepted submissions will be included in the proceedings,
> which will be archived by the ACM Digital Library. However, in order to
> accommodate the publication priorities of different scientific
> communities, we allow authors to opt out of having their contribution
> appear in the published proceedings (thus allowing the authors to retain
> the right to publish later in academic journals).

>From the sounds of it, the former requires the publisher to have
exclusive rights on the work. Why must (most likely) publicly funded
research go through that torture? Why can't the knowledge producers
retain "ownership"? What are the *effects* of academics giving up their
hard earned rights?

Having said that, the alternative sounds good! Get the "stamp of
approval" from the scientific community, then proceed to self-publish
and archive.

> Furthermore, the WebSci18 Scientific Program Chairs intend to organize a
> special issue of The Journal of Web Science. Authors of selected full
> and short papers and extended abstracts will be contacted and invited to
> submit a full-length journal paper for the special issue. All papers
> invited to this submission will go through a peer-review process before
> receiving final approval.
> Submission Instructions:
> ************************
> Full and short paper submissions should be formatted according to the
> official ACM SIG Conference Proceedings,
> see��(From the zip
> files provided, please select the SIGCONF version). 
> ***********************************************************
> You can find the WebSci�18 paper submission pages at
> Easychair:�
> ***********************************************************

What are the *effects* of using Easychair:

* asking everyone to create (yet another) account at a third-party
service in order to participate;
* agree with the terms of service;
* invest content (eg reviews) into a silo, with no comforting guarantee
on its permanence.
* maintain disconnection from the rest of the Web
* ...

Needless to say, none of this is meant to finger-point at any person or
group. If anything, a reflection on the collective's practices. There
are different stakeholders. One size does not fit all either. I think we
just need to be a bit more mindful about what constitutes scholarly
communication which is nearly non-detachable from the Web (today), under
what conditions one can participate, and the *effects* that this sort of
a conference (in the pursuit to share scientific knowledge) has on the
community and the society.

Bon week-end,


Received on Saturday, 17 February 2018 14:36:08 UTC