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(Source: everythingisaremix.info)

I delivered this statement as a panelist at the RIPE@2022 conference “Between the Fourth Estate and the Fifth Power: Conservation and Innovation in Public Service Media Journalism”, September 19, 2022.

Facing competition from large platform giants, from Facebook to TikTok, how should, how could nationally embedded legacy Public Service Media providers ever even hope to compete with those global competitors?

One way to do so would require embracing digital remix culture with its three foundational pillars: copy, transform, combine.

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Laudatio delivered by Leonhard Dobusch at the 38th EGOS Colloquium, July 7, 2022, at WU Vienna, Austria.

How can we assess what a pioneering and lasting contribution to “the social sciences dealing with organization, organized and organizing” is, as is required for anyone receiving an EGOS Honorary Membership. To do so, as a proxy, let me briefly sketch what is particular for organization studies as a discipline – and not just particular, but particularly great:

  • Organization studies is truly transdisciplinary. At EGOS, Business scholars meet sociologists and political scientists and anthropologists and communications scholars and also the occasional economist.
  • Probably because of its transdisciplinarity, organization studies is also characterized by great methodological openness and diversity. Organization studies was about mixed methods long before it was considered cool.
  • And, related to both these features, organization studies is a field that sports theoretical pluralism.

And this triad of transdisciplinarity, methodological openness and theoretical pluralism is also, what Sigrid not just contributed to, but rather what she lived, what she exemplified, what she spearheaded.

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Konstantin Hondros and myself had been invited to contribute to the great series of evidence summaries for the 21 for 2021 project, a CREATe project within the AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC). Specifically, we put together a synthesis on “Three Faces of Openness in Organising Copyright”:

In this blog, focusing on copyright-related aspects of open approaches across domains, we will first develop a typology of openness in organising copyright, ranging from permissive over viral to restrictive openness. Based upon this typology, we will review the empirical evidence available for each of these three types of organising copyright-related openness. We conclude with some reflections on potential avenues for future research within and across the various domains of openness.

Check out the blog post in full over at CREATe.

(leonhard)

In a recently published article in New Media & Society, Nicholas John (2022) reports on the decline of the use of “sharing” in the self-presention of large social network sites (SNS) over the last decade:

“there is a clear reduction in the use of the terminology of “sharing” in the self-presentation of SNSs during the decade under study. Where in the mid-2000s SNSs relied heavily on a rhetoric of sharing to promote their services, by 2020 “sharing” appears hardly at all.” (p. 2)

The world’s largest social media service Facebook is a case in point. Facebook changed the description on its landing page from “Share what’s new in your life on your Timeline” (2011) to “Connect with friends and the world around you on Facebook” (2020; on a side note, German Facebook still refers to “teilen” as of 2022).

Proportion of social network sites with “sharing” on their front page, 2011–2020. (Source: John 2022, p. 7)

Interpreting his findings, John states that “sharing” is no longer “the constitutive activity of social media” (p. 6). I would tend to disagree with this rather bold assessment and instead argue that sharing is still constitutive for even the largest and most successful social media sites such as Instagram or TikTok. However, the activity of sharing has become so institutionalized – taken-for-granted, as neo-institutionalists would say – that emphasizing it is not necessary to clarify what is happening on social media anymore. Actually, John himself later refers to related studies that put forward such a reading, claiming that practices such as “sharing” or “remixing” have “faded in to the ‘background noise’ of mainstream culture” (p. 12, with reference to Rosa et al. 2021).

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We, that is Sigrid Quack, Konstantin Hondros, Katharina Zangerle and I, proudly present the article “Between Anxiety and Hope? How Actors Experience Regulatory Uncertainty in Creative Processes in Music and Pharmy”, which has recently been published in “Research in the Sociology of Organizations” (RSO) as part of a volume on “Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey”. Check out the abstract below:

Uncertainty about Intellectual Property Regulations (IPR) is prevalent in today’s knowledge-based and creative industries. While prior literature indicates that regulatory uncertainty affects creative processes, studies that systematically analyze the effects of IPR on the experiencing of involved actors in creative processes across fields are rare. We ask how core professional actor groups including creators, legal professionals and managers involved in creative processes experience regulatory uncertainty in the fields of music and pharma. By studying practices of engaging with, circumventing and avoiding regulatory uncertainty about IPR, we show how creative processes in both the music and pharma fields are entrenched with emotional-cognitive experiences such as anxiety, indifference and hope that vary by professional group. Our findings point toward managers and legal professionals observing, exposing and cultivating emotions by ascribing experiences to other actor groups. We conclude that comparing regulation-related emotions of involved actors across fields helps to develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics of creative processes.

In case you or your institution does not have access to RSO please do not hesitate to contact me so I can send you a copy of our article.

Over at Elephant in the Lab, Paul Börsting and Maximilian Heimstädt blogged about “Wikipedia as Science Communication” and provide a neat step-by-step guide for researchers who want to improve their field’s coverage in the world’s most important encyclopedia:

Instagram, TikTok, Clubhouse: Today, researchers who want to share their work with non-academic audiences can choose between a vast array of digital platforms. Some of them vanish as quickly as they appear. Others attract an audience that is looking  for something other than scientific content. This blogpost is a plea for researchers to consider one of the most important and yet oftentimes neglected digital platforms when thinking about science communication: Wikipedia. Occupying a stable position among the most accessed websites, it has become the most popular encyclopedia worldwide. However, when considering various alternatives for digital science communication, many scholars think of Wikipedia as just  another profile page on the web, complimenting their institutional website. However, they are missing the point. The great but underappreciated advantage of Wikipedia is that it allows researchers to communicate research results and scientific expertise in exactly the place where people look for it: in topical Wikipedia articles. In this way, Wikipedia provides one of the most straightforward and effective means to share knowledge and to leverage research findings towards societal impact. Engaging with the vibrant  community of co-editors on Wikipedia is also not a one-way street but in turn can broaden one’s horizon and potentially inspire future research.

Check it out!

Five years have passed since universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutions in Germany initiated terminating their contracts with the world’s largest scientific publisher, Elsevier (see also “‘The Garbage Strike Test’ Put to A Test in Germany: Already One Month Without Elsevier”). There are now almost 200 institutions that no longer have a contract and thus no direct access to Elsevier journals. The reason for this wave of cancellations was a combination of exorbitant price (increases) and the publisher’s refusal to switch to new open access publishing models.

However, it is precisely such new, quasi Germany-wide Open Access agreements that have been signed with the two next largest scientific publishing houses, Wiley (2019) and Springer Nature (2020), as part of „Project DEAL“. These agreements provide for all participating universities and research institutions to be granted access to the publishers‘ journals (archives) and for all articles written by their researchers to be freely and permanently accessible on the Internet worldwide. In turn, Publish & Read fees are charged for each published article. The contracts have been published in full on the web, including conditions (see contract with SpringerNature and contract with Wiley).

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In theory, publishing content financed by public and tax-like television licence fees under open content licenses should be a no-brainer. As with publicly funded research, open licenses improve distribution, allow for remix creativity and unlock access to popular free knowledge platforms such as Wikipedia.

In practice, however, advocates of open licenses in the realm of public-service media face several hurdles, such as:

  • Standard licensing procedures in the world of public-service media do not include open licensing options and are typically limited in time and in scope. Therefore, releasing material under an open license requires renewed rights clearing efforts with all right holders involved to reflect the conditions set out in open licenses — given the often high number of creators and right holders involved in video content production, this is a difficult, time-consuming, and costly task.
  • Standard remuneration rules can make open licensing unattractive for creators. One common provision, for example, requires public service broadcasters to pay repeated fees any time material is broadcast. With an open license, there are usually no required payments. As a result, remuneration schemes have to be changed to avoid or mitigate the loss of income for creators.
  • European Union competition law prohibits state subsidies that may distort competition. Usually, free and open licenses don’t pose a problem in terms of competition law as long as no special advantage for an individual market actor is associated with using an open license. Generally, public broadcasters act with great caution when it comes to competition rules and many have concerns regarding licensing arrangements that could potentially set off competition issues.
  • There are fears of information manipulation. In light of recent debates on disinformation and “fake news”, public-service media fear that the content they release might be deceivingly and fraudulently manipulated so as to misrepresent facts. While Creative Commons licenses generally permit the creation of derivative works or adaptations (unless the licensor chooses to release content under a NoDerivatives license) and attribution is a requirement for all CC licenses as is a link back to the original so users can see any changes made, they do not govern defamation, disinformation or fabrication of information, which are violations dealt with outside the scope of copyright. Still, there is a reticence in public media television to openly publish content due to such threats despite the aforementioned safeguards within the CC licenses.

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Screenshot of website for the course “Organizing in Times of Crisis”

Confronted with the need to adapt teaching in the summer term to the ongoing corona cris, my colleague Elke Schüßler, who is regular contributor to this blog, and I teamed up with six other organization scholars in Germany and Austria to design a collaborative open course on “Organizing in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid-19”. From the course description:

The worldwide spread of the Covid19 virus poses a grand social challenge. Seriously threatening the health of the world’s population and accompanied by huge social and economic disruption, it is one of the largest immediate crises for Western societies since World War II and a humanitarian disaster for humankind around the world. Drawing on classic and contemporary organization theory, this course aims to illuminate many pressing questions surrounding the pandemic, such as how supply chains can be organized to ensure adequate supplies of health material, the strengths and difficulties of open science approaches to the development of a vaccine or capabilities of different forms of organization and coordination to quickly and adequately respond in times of crisis.

All course materials, readings, assignments and video lectures are available open access at timesofcrisis.org and the corresponding YouTube channel respectively. Given that all is available under a Creative Commons license, we invite lecturers to use, adapt and build upon our materials. Where possible, we offer the course material in open, changeable formats to make adaptation as easy as possible (e.g., the standard course syllabus). Check it out!

(leonhard)

Inspired by a post on this blog about the dangers of predatory publishing and open peer review as a potential response, Maximilian Heimstädt and I decided to dig deeper into the issue. Specifically, we were able to get access to some data on (potentially) predatory journals in organization and management studies. Based upon the analysis of this data we discuss the potentials of open peer review for our own discipline. The abstract reads as follows:

Predatory journals have emerged as an unintended consequence of the Open Access paradigm. Predatory journals only supposedly or very superficially conduct peer review and accept manuscripts within days to skim off publication fees. In this provocation piece, we first explain how predatory journals exploit deficiencies of the traditional peer review process in times of Open Access publishing. We then explain two ways in which predatory journals may harm the management discipline: as an infrastructure for the dissemination of pseudo-science and as a vehicle to portray management research as pseudo-scientific. Analyzing data from a journal blacklist, we show that without the ability to validate their claims to conduct peer review, most of the 639 predatory management journals are quite difficult to demarcate from serious journals. To address this problem, we propose open peer review as a new governance mechanism for management journals. By making parts of their peer review process more transparent and inclusive, reputable journals can differentiate themselves from predatory journals and additionally contribute to a more developmental reviewing culture. Eventually, we discuss ways in which editors, reviewers, and authors can advocate reform of peer review.

The article has been published in the journal Management Learning and is available as an open access full text.

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
November 2022
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All texts on governance across borders are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.