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Meanwhile, over in Academia…

As a designer doing a full-time PhD, I’ve been made increasingly aware of the difference between academia and industry.

Not that academia is necessarily bad. In fact, some bloggers admit that, contrary to popular opinion, they actually like academic work. (It’s worth pointing out here that the writer has come to doctoral research after years in industry, meaning that academia in their words is wonderful in allowing them to research what they want).

Meanwhile, over at Mozilla, Doug Belshaw writes about internet-pathways to learning (basically, those fueled by passion rather than need. Similarly, virtual science communities are changing science research: with a wide range of sources available, the why research was carried out in a particular was is now as important as the how, and it’s (hopefully) easier for researchers to network and for results to be checked. [EDIT 21/02: Here’s another important link. Dr Inger Mewburn aka The Thesis Whisperer notes that academics often don’t see the point of blogging despite it helping her work be visible, and furthermore that they’re unlikely to make time for it when there’s no institutional recognition for doing so anyway).

When it comes to education, we need background knowledge. (I wonder about this in relation to design).

Sadly, really useful projects such as Zotero may not be seen by academic panels (i.e. the people who decide tenure) as worthy of scholarship. This is sad, given that other academics such as Lee Shurman have suggested that work worthy of scholarship should fulfill the criteria of being public, an object of critical review and evaluation for the appropriate community, and able to be used and built upon and developed by the community. (I also mention this in a blog post on my other site reporting about a talk on a scientist using Python for data modelling).

Academics say that people aren’t coherent in speech? Turns out that academics themselves are the worst culprits. However, Claire Warwick of the Guardian rightly calls out people condescending to academics when giving advice about using social media: she points out that it may not be about a lack of understanding as much as worrying what the consequences of tweeting etc may be.

And finally,  who says you can’t share science with LOLcats?