Let's start democratisingknowledge... :)

Sharing this here. :slight_smile:

"Folks, the stars are aligning. :slight_smile:

I am suggesting to start this thing, democratisingknowledge.(org/net/press/depending on available domain), separately or together with etienne’s idea.

I have always wanted to do this thing. Even the domain i purchased, sainsterbuka.com (sains terbuka is indonesian for open science) only display 2 policy-related statements: dora and leiden manifesto.

As others have pushed from bottom-up (just do it) approach, i have always felt the need for an accompanying top-down (policy) approach too. Especially in the context of post-colonial countries such as indonesia, where to date most academics and researchers simply do what the government told them to do.

Also, the catalyst revolving around etienne’s email (some recent time before and after):

  1. The initiative of democratisingwork.org, which now has been signed by more than 4000 academics globally.

We could even get the same academics to sign democratisingknowledge. :slight_smile: That would be useful as many of them are what you would call ‘rock-star academics’.

If we could get our op-ed published in the same manner, simultaneously around the world’s media, in as many languages as possible, even better. :slight_smile:

  1. The late jon tennant’s work, Democratising Knowledge (https://www.ei-ie.org/en/woe_homepage/woe_detail/16129/democratising-knowledge-a-report-on-the-scholarly-publisher-elsevier), which already has the support of the largest education union in the world, with tens of millions of members. In fact, that’s what the name democratisingwork.org initiative reminds me of initially.

This work’s summary has also been translated into Indonesian, but yet to be circulated. Now is as good as ever. :slight_smile:

  1. Thomas Fazi’s review of Piketty’s new book. In fact, i think we could get piketty to sign it as early as possible. Does he open his data or do other open science processes? If not yet, now is best. :slight_smile:


Piketty focuses in particular on what he considered to be a defining feature of neo-proprietarianism: the privatization and commodification of knowledge. He cites the case of private companies like Google that embark on the digitization and appropriation of public libraries and collections in order to charge people for accessing resources that were previously accessible for free. This is just one of the many examples of the new forms of capitalist rent associated with the private appropriation of knowledge. In many cases, this is appropriation of previously existing knowledge—a kind of modern equivalent of the enclosure of common land in thirteenth-century England. Other examples include trademarks, copyright, design rights, geographical indications, trade secrets, and patents. As Guy Standing of SOAS University notes, since the passage of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (trips) in 1995 (binding on all WTO members), intellectual property has become the prime source of rental income:

Knowledge-intensive industries, which now account for 30 per cent of global output, are gaining as much from intellectual property (IP) as from the production of goods or services. This represents a political choice to grant monopolies over knowledge to private interests, allowing them to restrict access to knowledge and to raise the price of obtaining it or of products and services embodying it.12"

Also, i think open science has not made much progress in the field of economics, despite the reinhart-rogoff infamous spreadsheet error, and these exhortations by noah smith.


"The most dramatic demonstration of this was in 2013, when a paper by influential macroeconomists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, alleging a correlation between high government debt and low growth, was challenged by a team of economists who discovered a spreadsheet error and questionable data-censoring practices. The study, which had been used to encourage austerity in the wake of the recession, is now widely viewed as discredited.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ideas for addressing the replication crisis in empirical economics. Economists Garret Christensen and Edward Miguel have a raft of suggestions for how economists can improve their research practices — pre-registering research plans, full and open sharing of data and code, more stringent statistical tests and the publication of “null” results. Jan Höffler and Thomas Kneib of the Institute for New Economic Thinking suggest that replicating papers should be an important part of graduate students’ education. That idea seems especially promising — not only will it harness a vast unexploited reservoir of talent toward the task of replication, but it will be an effective way of teaching students how to do their own research.

These cultural changes will take many years to become standard practice. In the meantime, economics writers and their readers are faced with the daunting task of deciding how much confidence to place in the results coming out of research in the field. The best strategy, as I see it, is strength in numbers — if a finding is confirmed by multiple teams using multiple data sets and methods of analysis, it’s inherently more reliable than if it relies on one paper only. Instead of treating empirical findings as breakthroughs, we should treat them as pieces of evidence that go into building an overall case.

That doesn’t mean that single results aren’t worth reporting or taking into account, but a single finding shouldn’t be enough to generate certainty about how the world works. In a universe filled with uncertainty, social science can’t progress by leaps and bounds — it must crawl forward, feeling its way inch by inch toward a little more truth.

  1. The recently published DORA’s “Rethinking Research Assessment: Ideas for Action”

Also, their recent funder discussion, which should be held with other funders around the world i think, especially post-colonial governments.

As have already happened for latin america:

Furthermore, specific to indonesia, it seems that the louder the open science people’s voice, the more insistent the indonesian government’s effort to not listen to them, evidenced by their policies of ever increasing integration with commercial and closed science! :frowning:

Also, immediately i think we can get organizational involvement on this, such as DORA, INET, and IGDORE, to name a few.

That’s all for now. :)"


@surya, this post is enticing, but I feel I’m lacking some background on this.

Etienne is Etienne LeBel, right? What was his letter about, could you post it here if it’s not private correspondence?

Could you also clarify what you’re proposing as well, please? Making something similar to democratisingwork.org in the context of knowledge in general?

yup, it’s etienne lebel. he suggested:

“Another idea to consider, in the meantime, is to help with a global petition we will be starting to pass new legislation that mandates minimum transparency standards for all publicly-funded research. The Netherlands, France, and Belgium have already passed new laws mandating open access of publicly-funded research (in 2015, 2016, and 2018 respectively). We’d be doing the same, but just going slightly further, i.e., adding 2 requirements: open/public data (unless valid exemption) and 2. basic reporting (declaring funding sources and competing interests). Once we get enough public citizens to sign (which should be fairly easy given that COVID-19 has made the necessity of research openness even more OBVIOUS), we would take the successful petition to our (respective countries’) politicians to implement!”

i read the email at about the same time as the other information.

the similarity to democratizingwork.org struck my mind. inspiration struck.

you are right, i am proposing democratizingknowledge.press (.org seems to be taken).

the folks who started democratizingwork.org wrote an op-ed which was simultaneously published in many countries around the world. see:


they were then reported and interviewed on other media. see the other parts of the previous link.

i think a similar template of action should be pursued for knowledge.

what do you think? shall we start? :slight_smile:

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I like the idea and agree that now is probably an ideal time to leverage the public interest in effective research to advocate for systematic change in scientific practices. But I have very little experience in mainstream policy advocacy, and what democratizingwork.org work did seems to be at a (relatively) huge scale compared to the projects I’m used to working on. Would you also aim to get coordinated OP-Eds in 20+ countries in 10+ languages? It seems like this would benefit from broad coordination across open-science organisations to get equivalent attention.

I think there is a lot to also consider surrounding the question of when research data is made open, and that this question actually affects the structure of scientific research to a considerable degree. For instance, with biological data–good luck convincing people to make their data open pre-publication, this is a closely guarded secret. Holding the data that undergirds published studies in a public commons…well that seems like common sense. :slight_smile:

But to the question of pre-publication data being open, this is where I think the most impact in science could be made. It seems to me that democratizing access to knowledge must also say something about access to the production of that knowledge, and that this is currently very much not the case (open access to the means of scientific production). A gilded academic elite are the only ones with means to produce the data that is the subject of scientific analysis (I am speaking mainly of experimental sciences in this specific case).

I have imagined what it might look like to have centralized, publicly funded centers of scientific data production that are broadly accessible (following along these lines maybe). One might imagine a democratic structure governing which experiments are done, and the results being immediately available to anyone for interpretation.

Even within academia there is a stratification in scientific capability across labs based upon having/not having sufficient capital to provision state-of-the-art experimental facilities. What you then see is the same well funded labs continue to report leading results mainly because they have the funding to do the experiments–and this becomes self-reinforcing. New ideas/investigators are then starved for capital.

So what does a co-discovering (as an extension of a co-working) facility look like? :slight_smile: Not sure, but I do know that at least right now, it will be relatively expensive.

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thanks @Gavin and @grant. i would reply in detail later. in the meantime, i woulf leave these links here:

Open Science Legislation/Policies around the World


EU OA/OS policies


A snapshot of Open Data and Open Science Policies in Europe Version 2.0, October 2017