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Re: [jox] Request for comments

Hi all,

my ideas:

On 2009-07-13 23:34, Stefan Merten wrote:
Typical mission statements are short - say 3-6 lines. I think that's
good. I'll give it a try:

  This semi-scientific journal is dedicated to study peer production.
  By peer production we understand economic activities which include,
  production, openness and {are primarily done by volunteers /
  external structural forces are absent / non-alienation} such as
Free Software or Wikipedia. Following the principles of peer
production ourselves we are interested in every field where peer
production plays a role. For this we welcome contributions from
classical science as well as from activists of all kinds to foster
the deeper understanding of this phenomenon and the political
implications it might have.

I would prefer to not exclude "non-economic" activities, and IMHO free 
software and wikipedia is indeed not an economic activity, at least not 
in the sense of peer production mentioned here.

May be the "semi-scientific" needs to be discussed. I thought of a
scientific journal with additional activism. What do others think?

No problem with that.

<overall direction>
StefanMn seems to have fairly strict ideas about what is acceptable
content and what is not. I think we need a balance between "there
is no party line / we should respect individuality" and a strong,
coherent editorial direction. My preference would be to be
inclusive, i.e. have dialogue with other "fellow travellers"
whenever possible.

It might seem that I'm quite strict for Oekonux - though for a
reason. I think part of the success of Oekonux comes from the fact
that it is focussed.

Inclusiveness is fine though especially for a semi-scientific journal
like this one it must find a stop where stubbornness and stupidity
comes in. Contributions should also not reject peer production or
contradict it fundamentally. To find these limits is probably part of
the editorial process.

What I like to see is a platform for intense debates within those people 
analyzing peer production from different angles and theoretical 
approaches. For instance a journal could invite people to discuss 
Christian's peer economy approach, because we know, that there are 
different opinions. There, we could get them on the table in a "semi-
scientific" way. Or think of the material/immaterial question.

* Identity of journal:
Relationship to Oekonux? Who is doing this journal? People
associated with Oekonux? How do we phrase it?

In my opinion it is not an Oekonux journal but closely related to


Do we publish a list of peer reviewers / editorial committee
members? This would be useful in my view.

Would be part of openness of course.


* Periodicity:
I'd like to aim for two a year. Ideally we would always have a full
issue's content "in the bag". See how we go, I guess.

Well, that's probably a good question. Would we really want to have a
regular period? This creates high pressure and especially for an
online journal what would be the benefit?

I suggest to follow the old Debian rule: It will be released, if it is 
finished. What I find more important is to find interesting topics, where 
we want to have articles around. If we have, say, two new topics a year, 
then we can organize articles in parallel. Then they can be released as 
they have been finished. We won't have issues, but topics which replace 
the issue-style. Topics can have different numbers of articles and they 
can run as long as there are authors writing articles.

A printed version, if sometimes there is one, would only be a snapshot 
of an ongoing debate.

* Suggested other content:
Reviews (books, journals)?
News analysis (i.e. what is the Pirate Party about, etc)?

This would be nice indeed.

The topic-style above does have the advantage, that continuous rubrics 
can be organized continuously (and not issue-wise).

* Other people:
Do we invite others to join in this list and in the journal process
if we think they would be interested?

May be we can do it like it is typical in peer production: Based on a
growing or grown trust we invite people to an editorial board. This
mailing list can be open for subscriptions, however. It should be
archived on the web in any case - transparency is crucial.


* Proposed Oekonux Book:
Some journal content could feed into book project?

Could be possible.

After a while we could select articles we wish to see in a book.

* Journal Website:
Simple, text-based. Will have to simple be if done by me!


Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler (Einstein). I'd like to 
see the journal integrated in the new ox website. There should be a 
comfortable structure based on topics and rubrics. The main page 
announces freshly released articles in a blog-style including RSS-feeds. 
Articles should be available in HTML and PDF (preferably automatically 
generated). Articles can be commented or pinged on the website.


* Peer-review [a] people:


Simply put, the journal cannot exist without people to assess
submissions. This is a serious commitment, but in my experience it
can also be fun and informative. Please indicate whether you can do



* Peer-review [b] criteria:
We need a list of criteria to help reviewers.
For example: is the article well-written? Is it original? Are there
some major ideas / authors that are not mentioned? Could it be
improved? Could it be cut?...

Good list for a start :-) .


What about original? In today's world and especially in a peer
production context I find it unacceptable that a contribution is
forbidden to be published before inclusion. So do we want to rule out
works which have been available before?

No. Our measure should be if it is a valuable contribution to the given 
topic or not. We should not be shy to reproduce worthwhile articles we 
find at another place (including a prior communication with the author).

* Peer-review [c] publicity of peer review process:
Openly discussed on list? Or by private email to not stifle debate
as people may be reluctant to be honest and critical if this could
result in offended feelings.

Well, I'm for openness again. However, your concern is certainly
valid. And I want to prevent a private parallel structure as well.
Difficult question...

Open debate on an open list. If this procedure fails due to endless 
discussions with non-editors or whatever, then limiting (closing) the 
list to the reviewers/editors could be an option.

I could also imagine that discussing a contribution for instance on
[ox-en] could add to the result.


* Peer-review [d] maintainer / editor's role:

I'm not sure whether the role of a maintainer is the same as the role
of an editor. In particular I think it is good if we have one
maintainer whose main obligation is to care about things going on and
a couple of editors who are responsible for the content tasks. Of
course these roles can be combined in one person. Or am I confusing
an editor with a peer reviewer? Is there a difference between a peer
reviewer and an editor? Which one?

IMHO a reviewer reviews a given article and that's it. This can also be 
done case by case (ask people to review on special topics, e.g. books) 
The maintainer or editor organizes the entire process of reviewing and 
releasing of the final article.

- I'm always happy to learn something or be proved wrong when it
comes to ideas / matters of substance.

- I'm much less willing to compromise when it comes to style and
expression; I have been writing and editing for a while now and I
do tend to trust my judgment on this.

I appreciate that we have an expert here :-) (especially because I'm
not a native English speaker ;-) ).

Yep, the language is my main problem too.

So if I judge a text to be poorly written I would not be
comfortable with it being published as that would undermine the
quality of the journal. I also don't want to find myself in a
situation where I have to completely rewrite something, endlessly
negotiate with authors, etc. Though of course if a text is of very
high substantive quality I would want to help improve it.

I think that's the way to go.


- One power that I claim for the maintainer / editor is the ability
to set deadlines, and act if they are not met: if people fail to
meet deadlines, they miss the boat. People don't turn up late for
work (usually): they should not compromise a project by undue
delays. I will flag messages with deadlines.

Fine with me.

This is not so much a problem if we won't use the issue-style, but the 
topic-style. Nevertheless, it is a question of personal organisation. We 
could set deadlines, especially if we plan series of articles, but we 
don't depend on strict ones.

That's all I can think of. Once again, if there is another issue
that should be discussed, please post.

I'd appreciate if the results of this discussion could be written
down somewhere so they can be referenced easily.


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