In 2014 the Smart New World exhibition took place in Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, which Elmine and I visited. Part of it was the installation “18.591 Articles Sold By JSTOR for $19 = $353.229” with those 18.591 articles printed out, showing what precisely is behind the paywall, and what Swartz was downloading. Articles, like those shown, from the 19th century, since long in the public domain, sold for $19 each. After Swartz’ death JSTOR started making a small percentage of their public domain content freely accessible, limited to a handful papers per month.
The Düsseldorf exhibit was impressive, as it showed the volumes of material, but the triviality of most material too. It’s a long tail of documents with extremely low demand, being treated equally as recent papers in high demand.
Scientific journal publishers are increasingly a burden on the scientific world, rent-seeking gatekeepers. Their original value added role, that of multiplication and distribution to increase access, has been completely eroded, if not actually fully reversed.
Another year is coming to a close, so keeping up with my tradition of the last few years (since 2010, see last year’s edition) I am writing down the things in the past 12 months that gave me a sense of accomplishment or joy. It is often easy to focus on things not achieved, or left unfinished, as those are the things demanding attention. Often I find that in my daily routines I focus on what’s next, and I tend to forget a lot of what I actually did do. Obviously any year also has its hard moments, disappointments and failures. So to remind myself that this year was a full year where things happened that I loved doing or enjoyed (sticking to mostly business related, some personal), here’s the ‘Tadaa!-list’ of 2014
With Marc, Paul and Frank, I formally incorporated The Green Land and had our first (temporary) employee
Got to work with the supreme audit authority on the Dutch first national ‘Trend report Open Data’, and now working on the next edition
Presenting with Ernst and Elmine at Sia’s retirement farewell party, and feeling the lasting impact, emotion, and energy of our work together in Rotterdam 2007-2009, reconnecting to several team members. It is a rare treat to get to see the ripples of a (personal) change process years on like that. I was honored by your invitation, Sia. Cocreated Sia’s Lifehack Calendar with party participants
Stepped out of a large tendering process that could have provided for 3 years because it felt all wrong, realizing I can’t stomach the opportunists who aren’t really interested in delivering value, just feeding at the trough
Quit working on a company I was helping establish, even though it has loads of potential (realistically more than my other activities even), because I needed to free up thinking time and shed energy sinks
Worked in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Kazachstan, and Kyrgyzstan, enjoying the differences in stories, experiences, perspectives and outlooks that it provides Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, against mountains
Spent a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing summer week in a gem of an apartment in Copenhagen with Elmine, just enjoying each other, the sun and the city
Got to be there with and for friends in good and bad times, which is the definition of being alive and human
Taking more time with Elmine to explore exhibits, festivals, such as Gogbot, Dutch Design Week, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 3D Print Canal House, Reina Sofia Museum, Smart New World in Düsseldorf, Ai WeiWei in Berlin etc. Worked on seeing, noticing more
Better balanced long term goals and dreams with actions across quarters of the year, yielding improved results.
Worked for the World Bank as a senior consultant / external expert on open data readiness Presenting in Kazachstan at Global e-Gov Forum
Got to celebrate the 3 year existence of the local Enschede FabLab which I helped start, still going strong and having yielded a wide variety of amazing projects
Knowing we’ve touched people, and made it possible for others to inspire people, with MSTM, based on the beautiful feedback we got, and seeing the ripples propagate in Denmark, Netherlands and Canada
Ending the year with a final dinner at a great Swiss restaurant that is closing, in the excellent company of dear friends
My absolute highlight in 2014 was our third birthday unconference in June, Making Stuff That Matters. Not only because of the energy and joy we got from getting to host such an amazing bunch of people at our home, but also because of the things Elmine and I did in the run up to prepare (in Berlin and Limerick e.g.), the help we got doing that (thanks@trox!), the connections we’ve seen grow from it amongst those we invited, and how it is still creating impact months later where participants have taken their own additional steps around making. It was wonderful to create the place and circumstances in which that could happen. We can’t thank all who attended enough for the gift of their participation.