Ragged Digital Vision: Historical Document
This is an overview of the digital vision of the Ragged project with a particular view to involving people in an open peer review process. The Ragged project uses available infrastructure and common technology to achieve its aims. The digital vision is a key part of this. The principle tenet of the Ragged project is to facilitate and build inclusive social capital.
Inclusive social capital is loosely situations where people choose to voluntarily associate with each other and where membership in that group serves as a free resource to those people. In short, Ragged aims to propagate community activities which are outward looking rather than exclusive private clubs. Digital engagement and ownership is at the heart of Ragged Online and holds knowledge building through community support and development as its goal.
Update: It has now been over a decade that the project has run trying out all manner of educational experiments and testing the original aspirations. This digital vision published below is to be understood as a historical document of which some aspects still hold and others have proved problematic. In particular the aspirational visions and wishes for technology have proved to be riddled with issues which were not foreseen at the time; the rise of surveillance capitalism and the use of technology to negatively affect the life opportunities of certain populations has resulted in an evolved perspective in a phase where a critical eye is being cast over the roles technology plays and the power it has in the lives of people.
The following period (2020 onwards) is one where the Ragged University project is moving significantly towards open source and transparent technology when it is used and reducing the reliance on it as a means for education. EdTech is now running aground on the hidden treachery of drive to monetise incurring many casualities along the way. Big philosophical and value questions are now being brought to the fore as these become more salient in public culture. Prior to the next iteration and formulation of the Ragged University digital vision as a part of its journey, you are welcomed to tune into well established thinkers raising issues which must be grappled with. In particular the critical thinking of the following people offer to the reader significant insights into the problems which everyone faces in respect to the adoption of technology into their lives and cognitive spaces.
Her books ‘Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age’ and ‘Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor’
Her book ‘Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy’
Her book ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power’
There are a great number more thinkers who are important commentators and thinkers in this area which we must be more critical of, they are not included in this list but will be when the next iteration of the digital vision is produced. Please watch the videos and read the books if you can
“We have lived in this world where little things are done for love and big things for money. Now we have Wikipedia. Suddenly big things can be done for love.”
The Key Aims of the Ragged project can afford to be dynamic by using the qualities of virtual space to be, like the web, decentralised:
1: Evolve a website which provides logistical support for Ragged events
The project aims to support a rhizomatic model to satellite out across the country and pivots around the axiom ‘use available infrastructure and common technology’. To keep costs low and logistics simple, rather than physical offices the overall project is managed and coordinated in virtual space. Here, centrally held documents can be openly accessed by anyone and downloaded to distribute the methodology. The events system and local pages will serve as the infrastructure to publicise Ragged community activities wherever they may happen.
2: Curate a quality collection of open access learning and knowledge resources
With the advances made possible by the development of the world wide web, connecting people to quality free online knowledge resources is something which facilitates learning (informal, lifelong, creative and academic) and is easily achieved. By highlighting lectures, pdf libraries, knowledge tools, online courses and peer led forums which are known for their quality and open access, the website can serve as a toolkit for autonomous self development.
3: Act as a hub for the propagation of open community groups
A key strategy is to realise cultural ‘dead stock’ in economic terms and take what is already there and build on it. Ragged seeks to identify cultural activities in the regions and actively promote them. With the events system all free and open community events being held by anyone can be publicised to benefit the life of a city. Simultaneously toolkits on how to promote events will be made available to other community based projects and articles invited from them to increase their digital footprint.
4: Utilise crowdfunding models to underpin community and creative enterprises
Crowdfunding describes collectivized efforts of individuals in networks who pool their money via the internet to support initiatives by other people or organizations. Crowdfunding platforms have now become established as ways of financing all sorts of project. The Ragged website will encourage autonomy through these innovations in funding by promoting them as a platform and helping local projects and creatives engage with them for finance. This will similarly be used to propagate Ragged groups. Indiegogo, one of the world’s largest and most successful crowdfunding sites, was developed to “fix the funding process by removing the middleman”. Now with the ability to embed the crowdfunding platform and publicise work widely, social initiatives can flourish.
5: To cement learning and incentivise skills development through tangible outcomes
As a virtual space the Ragged website can support the publishing of individuals, on the world wide web, in print and in ebook. This type of tangible outcome through production of artefact is an incentive to learning and can act to cement knowledge. The production of these artifacts (books, blogs, ebooks) leads into meaningful intellectual as well as economic activity. The website will be used to run competitions and campaigns which incentivise learning and production through fun theory.
6: Create a self sustaining enterprise generating revenue through ecommerce
The website will serve as a digital shopfront from which various products will eventually be sold. A significant proportion of sales have moved online globally through ecommerce. This is a cheap and effective way of selling good produced through the project such as books, stationary and T-shirts. Taking advantage of the new technologies which remove the bottleneck of old distribution networks, a revenue stream can be set up to make the Ragged project self sustaining.
7: Drive local economic regeneration by supporting independent businesses
There is a strong need to support independently owned businesses so that healthy local economies can pass on their benefits via positive externalities. Externalities are the costs or benefits to a party not involved in the primary activity such as beekeepers keeps bees for their honey but also pollination occurs of surrounding crops. Forging links with the business community and entrepreneurs the Ragged project will get people knowledge building, upskilling and generating linking social capital through sharing insights. The website will act support a reciprocal dynamic where businesses can gain from positive publicity as well as take advantage of the free market spaces set up in ‘Smiths Market’ (a proto commerce scheme). Enabling digital engagement amongst small and medium sized enterprises is a focus for the Ragged project.
Physicists analyze systems. Web scientists, however, can create the systems
Some of the aspirational thinking for Ragged Online raises intriguing questions. It is useful to generate as many potential questions as possible and use them as a starting point for going into the next stage of thinking. This problematising seems key to the forming of a solid digital base…
Use of common technology is a vital element for a healthy economy along with research and development. Effective use of the internet is a key resource for fostering talent, attracting investment and prosperity to localities in an increasingly globalised community. With logistical and computing tools readily available today it is an area which must take a centre place in service delivery, cultural enrichment and economic development on a local, national and global level.
Just as the adoption of industrial technique and invention was vital to make the United Kingdom one of the leaders of commerce and international trade in the Victorian era; the adoption and adaptation to digital technology is now vital for maintaining a cohesive economy and society in this age.
The move of a country dominated by industrial manufacture to one of information and service provision is a complex and extended that requires heavy, long term investment in people. The post industrial age brings with it the transitions and innovations required of any geometric shift in society. The United Kingdom started its changeover from a manufacturing economy to a service driven economy in the late 1970’s. The Ragged project aims to innovate effective strategies for effecting the change to digital living in its localities.
Resources and infrastructure are available to develop sufficient technological engagement to generate uptake amongst the population of skillsets required to take a significant part in the breaking information age and future markets. For example open source software solutions and web platforms are sufficient to enable small businesses to advertise online and perform regular tasks such as office management.
Moving With The Times
The world is digital, there is no going backwards. We can surf the creative wave and be propelled forward if we engage
Technology engagement and information skills require widespread projects which enable access for all individuals, to businesses and institutions in the United Kingdom. There are various strategies which can help lead to achieving this, most importantly digitally linking similar interests in joint activities to gain the strengths of a network.
The Ragged project aims to factor into this cultural shift by generating inclusive social capital that connects people which each other and free resources. By creating a culture of self development and signposting free knowledge resources the backdrop for cultural mobility is set. Consolidating on the educational policy of prior accreditation Ragged hopes to build bridges for motivated individuals into industry and academia.
Digital connectivity and skills acquisition enables innovation and wealth creation. It creates a basis for investment, entrepreneurship and equality of opportunity that extends its benefits out into areas of health, education and the public sector.
By carefully designed inclusion policies, the gap between the affluent and poor can be made less abrasive by facilitating entry into the market place, reducing living costs and raising standards of living. By utilising generations of non-cutting edge computer technology, a conduit can be created which supports programming skills, access to quality learning resources, access to work markets, and development of collaborative communities. This can act as a catalyst to self developed, responsible, motivated individuals, if the un-obstructed opportunity is there.
The widening digital divide in the UK is being addressed by various initiatives including schemes which have the vision to provide more accessible broadband. The Ragged project aims to supplement these efforts by teaching communities how to make full use of the available low tech infrastructure and common technology.
Jeremy Hunt once described the United Kingdom digital strategy as “pitifully unambitious”. There will be significant fallout from an apathy towards universally connecting people to digital resources. There are serious costs in a lag for any nation to adopt and actively enfranchise the population with the technology that is to dominate world culture and economic markets. There is a choice to be made between the alternative costs of upskilling and retooling, and the costs of protecting industry agreements in the retrospective status quo. Inclusion is a diverse term and has many implications. The level of inclusion can be correlated with the long term success and sustainable prosperity of a society.
Our greatest achievements as a species have come from the ability to collectively coordinate with each other through inclusion
Anecdote can be drawn from the development of the Guttenberg press, where although the machinery was purchased and brought to the UK, artisans from the continent had to be brought in at great expense to operate the equipment. Dissemination of knowledge and skills is the life blood of tomorrow’s marketplace. The guild system resulted in an exclusive use of the technology and thus limited the growth of the market through a bottleneck in availability. Prosperity depends on a thriving market place, and it is good to have affluent neighbours to form that marketplace. This applies in both knowledge and economic terms; and the two are linked.
It is contended by the Ragged project that without an inclusive ‘guild practice’ a closed reactionary economy will undermine and harm itself through a gridlock arising from mercantilist protectionism and a homogeneity of produce and a lack of diversity of stakeholders. These economic descriptions also translate into knowledge terms where opportunity brings about an aggregation of minds, and knowledge spillover results in invention as well as innovation.
Ragged digital strategy aims to remove obstacles to investment in development of human capital. The strategy aims to blend with other digital engagement initiatives which hold complimentary social, educational and economic objectives. By annexing, and networking digital projects, the Ragged project can realise dead stock in society by cost effective structural alignments. Dead stock is produce which has inherent value but which is in a state where that value cannot be appreciated or realised.
Adam Smith coined this phrase where he was thinking of land as dead stock which could not be turned into circulating money unless it was the basis of credit as happened with land banks when land, not gold and silver, were the basis of credit creation. Here I stretch the notion to refer to intellectual capital.
Facilitating a thriving local digital society through perpetuating competent open source software and resources, Ragged Online can lead towards the increased participation in the intellectual property realms by realising dead capital. Dead capital describes situations where people do not have access to representation by the law. Enfranchising people through new digital IP entities can build added value using publically owned data and tools. The principle of representative law is a core part of economy and society. The development of silicon technology has brought a global socio-economic transformation of historic proportions, in which information has become a central factor in the scaffolding of modern life.
To create a truly inclusive society, all forms of information technology need to be more accessible
Dr. Bonnie Jones – U.S. Department of Education
New digital technologies have ushered in global micro-economic integration and changed the economics of the Pareto principle which is summarized in the axiom that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers, and variants of it. New communications and distribution networks have acted as a catalyst in the shift of the global economy from one that is grounded on land, labour and capital towards one that trades in information and knowledge. A creative wave of destruction has come along to disrupt pre-existing forms with new ways of coordinating and doing.
Emerging technologies have been used by new generations to create novel modes of social, political and economic intercourse unanticipated by those who developed and introduced the underlying technologies. The gap is growing between those countries prepared to exploit the new opportunities provided by continuing advances in communication and computation, and those which are not.
Digital engagement is critical to any society’s aspirations for sustainable prosperity, social cohesion and cultural vitality in the modern western paradigm. Pathfinding in the technology age offers increases in efficiency, reductions in transaction costs and development of new markets. Helping to provide opportunities for indigenous business is a prerequisite for future investment and maintaining competitiveness in a grossly elaborated economic landscape.
There is lots of research which shows the benefits of digital inclusion. Here are just some excerpts to illustrate the need:
The digital economy generated around £125 billion in gross value added (GVA) in 2007, representing around 10% of United Kingdom gross domestic product (GDP). In the same year the digital economy employed over 2.1 million people, representing around 6% of total United Kingdom employment. In 2007, the digital economy generated about 10% of United Kingdom Gross Value Added, and accounted for 6% of total UK employment.
(Taken 25th December 2012; http://inter active.bis.gov.uk/digitalbritain/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/DEB-Factsheet-Digital-Britain2.pdf)
In 2011 the United Kingdom’s IT & Telecoms industry delivered an annual Gross Value Added N, contribution of £81 billion, directly contributing 9% towards the UK’s total Gross Value Added (the difference between raw materials and the goods and services produced from them). Optimisation of ICT could generate an additional £50 billion of GVA across the UK economy over the next 5-7 years. The economic contribution of the Internet is now said to be worth an estimated £100 billion to the UK economy.
(Taken 25th December 2012; Linsights-2011/technology-insights-2011-key-findings/)
In 2010 it was predicted that by 2012 that 10% of consumer spending will be made online. IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), the UK’s industry association for e-retail, estimated the value of the United Kingdom online retail market at £77bn
(Taken 25th December 2012; (http://www.internetretailing.net/2010/06/one-in-every-10-will-be-spent-online-by-2012-study/)
In October 2011 the Telegraph reported that according to the Office for National Statistics, Britons spent an average of £539m online each week in September, out of £5.61bn total sales. This makes Nearly £1 in every £10 is spent on goods bought online for the first time
(Taken 25th December 2012;
In October 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers was commissioned by the government to study the effects of digital inclusion. They worked with Martha Lane Fox who heads up Raceonline 2012 the following are some of the key findings of the report
(Taken 25th December 2012: http://www.parliamentandinternet.org.uk/uploads/Final_report.pdf):
Digital and Social Exclusion
10.2 million adults (21% of the UK population) have never accessed the internet including 4.0 million adults (9%) who are both digitally and socially excluded.
Households offline are missing out on savings of £560 per year from shopping and paying bills online. People living in 3.6 million low income households which are digitally excluded are missing out on annual savings of over £1 billion a year from shopping and paying bills online. ^
Home access to a computer and the internet can improve children’s educational performance: if the 1.6 million children who live in families which do not use the internet got online at home, it could boost their total lifetime earnings by over £10 billion.
Unemployed people who get online could increase their chances of getting employment with an estimated lifetime benefit of over £12,000 for every person moved into employment. If 3% of the digitally excluded found a job by getting online it would deliver a net economic benefit of £560 million. People with good ICT skills earn between 3% and 10% more than people without such skills. If the currently digitally excluded employed people got online, each of them would increase their earnings by an average of over £8,300 in their lifetime and deliver between £560 million and £1,680 million of overall economic benefit.
Improved Government Efficiency
Each contact and transaction with government switched online could generate savings of between £3.30 and £12.00. If all digitally excluded adults got online and made just one digital contact each month instead of using another channel, this would save an estimated £900 million per annum
Total Economic Benefits
The total potential economic benefit from getting everyone in the UK online is in excess of £22 billion.
There are lots of positives which come of digital engagement for society, the community and the individual. Digital systems not only provide new distribution networks for the delivery of goods and services, they hold the potential to reduce costs in health, education, social services and many other areas of public responsibility. Technology offers greater accessibility to information, better communication and greater interaction which facilitates a wider discourse of communities from professional networks and advisory services to special interest and community groups.
Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the average UK family would miss out on savings totaling up to £560 a year if they did not use the internet to shop around for the cheapest deals on products like energy, insurance and household items. Poor digital provision is already disadvantaging a significant proportion of the population.
Digital systems offer a social and cultural involvement by providing more opportunities to meet with like minds and participate in decision markets. Rural areas distant from major centres, can now become economically involved as digital engagement provides access to markets, jobs and networks.
Digital innovations such as Wiki’s promote co-productive development of human social and intellectual capital. Wikipedia now has over 15 million articles which research has shown to be as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Facebook added over 200 million users in less than one year and its membership would now place it as the third largest country in the world, after China and India. In the USA, 17% of couples married in the last three years first met online. Socially and behaviourally the development of the world is now woven with the digital.
The internet is a pivotal element of the vision that underlies the development of the Ragged project. Civil organisations use the internet to communicate, collaborate, relate issues, reach consensus, raise and inform awareness, organise events and provide information. A thriving civil society is the bedrock of social cohesion and is a focal point for generating inclusive social capital.
“If anything deserves a reward, it is social contribution. Creativity can be a social contribution, but only in so far as society is free to use the results”
– The GNU Manifesto
Realising Digital Engagement
It is important to explore the different ways of getting people to take technology into their lives so that the benefits can be felt. To ensure digital engagement we must collectively enhance the demand by putting Say’s Law in context; access to the product creates the demand, the demand creates the supply and thus a growth dynamic is generated.
Ragged aims to facilitate digital inclusion by providing the motivation to develop the skills necessary for participation in new technologies. Promoting and uniting community hubs around the benefits of open source technology will enfranchise underserved communities partly by removing financial barriers. Key to ensuring digital inclusion will be the promotion of open source values, software, and resources which allow financially underprivileged communities to take part.
Ragged Online will act to connect people to the relevant online resources to facilitate their creative and intellectual enterprises the personal liaison philosophy of the face to face events will help enact this aim. Users include students and academics researching their work, families developing each other, professionals engaged in self improvement, autodidactic individuals and elderly people engaged in lifelong learning.
Ragged’s general strategy is one which utilises common technology and available infrastructure to gain immediate traction in communities whilst being able to link in with larger technology and learning initiatives. Whilst being inspired by the Ragged Schools movement, it is the Ragged Schools Union which the project seeks to emulate rather than being a ‘Ragged School’ itself. In this way the project can act as a catalyst to building networks by bridging barriers.
As mentioned earlier, the internet represents a significant technological advance enabling decentralised production of many types of work. The cultural revolutions which follow such a leap forward in infrastructure are happening now in an exciting age which is more than capable of supporting an ‘enlightenment period’. This is a time which enables many solutions to the problems we face today. We can view it as an opportunity for forward thinking and optimism.
The long term digital vision is of creating a website which is globally scalable, has a robust content management system, signposts and makes searchable other websites, innovates a Global User Identifier (GUI) ‘warm’ peer review system, stores public datasets, innovates with the crowdfunding model and generates a wiki community space. Utility will stimulate engagement.
The plan is being implemented in modular steps so successful formats can be consolidated upon that emerge from pilot formats. The benefits of the overall project are found in promoting inclusive social capital, facilitating the autodidactic, academic and professional communities, increasing the public understanding of the internet, and promoting the innovation which comes of the open community.
Openness and access to scientific data and knowledge greatly benefits both the individual, and society. Helping people to understand and engage with the principles of science provides the life blood of intellectual advance and technological evolution. The word ‘science’ here is used the broad definition of the Latin root ‘scientia’ meaning ‘knowledge’; and the methodologies of how we arrive at increasingly reliable forms of knowledge through a collaborative process. ‘Scientist’ thus takes on here a much more universal perspective of those who work with knowledge acquisition as a focus.
Getting people to understand they have ownership of science is of critical importance to an enlightened and progressive problem solving society, a culture which yields economic fruit and peoples who feel valued. Richard Feynman put it “Science is a system we have developed to keep us from fooling ourselves”.
Key to ‘ownership’ is open scientific education. For many, the only perceived connection to knowledge and science is through the popular media such as television, books and newspapers. The sensationalisation, truncation and distortion of issues by the press diverts from the acquisition of knowledge.
There exists a tension and anxiety in the academic world which is reticent to connect with the edificatory function of the press. Lack of public confidence in the public press derives from the focus on ‘entertainment over content’ which creates an aversion in the academic community to engage in media. This brings about an increasing isolationism which narrows the possibilities of progress.
Science As A Communitive Process
Knowledge building is generated from cooperative behaviours and the digital age is ideally suited to capitalising on this
In the life of the city (polis) it is important that academics contribute to the media just as it is important that the media retains to its noble origins of edification. Public confidence in knowledge expertise and the scientist needs to be built as much as confidence in journalism to inform the collective. It is vital to communicate findings clearly and avoid over-simplifying, sensationalising and obscuring subtle information. It is also vital that a culture of learning is promoted to the same extent as entertainment is.
New strategies must be embraced alongside philosophical recapitulation of scientific method, such as the famous contributions by the Vienna Circle. The internet represents a magnitudinal shift of publishing media and information opportunity away from traditional powerbases towards a concept of ownership akin to a type of citizenship. In this pivotal age there is a need to temper this change in the information frontier with the enlightenment values of logic, first principles and constructive dialogues. One could argue it is a responsibility to become informed and to develop an enriched theory of mind to accommodate the global citizenship which is evolving.
Not only should increased interaction between scientists and the public be fostered but universal ownership of philosophy, the ‘queen of the sciences’ as well as science (knowledge) itself should be marked out as a collective goal. Openly engaging the problems of misinformation and distrust needs to be done with deconstruction of rhetoric and argumentation in favour of constructive conversation which aims at collaborative progress. Central to making this notion work are the ideas of co-production and mutual ownership.
The sharing of knowledge syntheses and data sets is a stimulus to exponential societal advance. Gerald A. Carlino describes the positive effects of ‘knowledge spillover’ as a ‘non-rival knowledge market externality’ that has a spillover effect of stimulating technological improvements in a neighbour through one’s own innovation.
By driving an understanding of the differences and relationships between data, methodology, increasingly reliable knowledge, falsification and different types of information; then a more rounded, balanced and integrated knowledge base can benefit society in its need to get away from the over specialisation and the industrial paradigm of compartmentalisation.
The effect of knowledge spillover:
- Improves networking of intellects promotes connectivity of transferable knowledge
- Promotes comparison of independent iteration and highlights trends
- Improves development of theory and practical use of information
- Fosters the innovations of interdisciplinary conversation and renaissance thought
- Draws upon the power of the ‘wisdom of crowds’ and decision markets
- Underpins the skilling up and retooling of the general population
- Facilitates economic engagement in the information age
Barriers and issues which play roles to impeding engagement include:
- Pack mentality and caste development
- Cult of personality and status The idolatry of correctness over enquiry
- Fixation on negative criticism rather than affirmative dialogue Commercial forces dictating the nature of study
- The repurposing of knowledge from understanding to entertainment
- The fossilisation of institutions away from adaptive and flexible kinship relations
- Compulsion towards excessive bureaucracies, and outcome measurements
Understanding and taking part in a process of evaluation is a vital part of how we arrive at increasingly reliable knowledge
Scientific journals use a process of peer review, in which scientists’ manuscripts are submitted by editors of scientific journals to (usually one to three) fellow (usually anonymous) scientists familiar with the field for evaluation. The referees may or may not recommend publication, publication with suggested modifications, or, sometimes, publication in another journal.
This is an attempt to keep the scientific literature free of unscientific or crackpot work, it helps to cut down on obvious errors, and it generally improves the quality of the scientific literature. Work announced in the popular press before going through this process is generally frowned upon.
Sometimes peer review inhibits the circulation of unorthodox work, and at other times may be too permissive. Criticisms of these restraints are that they are so nebulous in definition (e.g. “good scientific practice”) and open to ideological, or even political, manipulation. Apart from promoting a rigorous practice of a scientific method, they have been cited often to serve to censor rather than promote scientific discovery.
Apparent censorship through refusal to publish ideas unpopular with mainstream scientists (unpopular because of ideological reasons and/or because they seem to contradict long held scientific theories) has tinted the popular perception of scientists as being neutral or seekers of truth and often denigrated popular perception of science as a whole.
Scientists must choose which problems to work on, and they must decide how much time to devote to different problems. They are often influenced by cultural, social, political and economic factors. Scientists live and work within a culture which often shapes their approach to problems; they work within theories that often shape their current understanding of nature; they work within a society that often decides what scientific topics will be intellectually and financially supported and which will not; and they also work within a political system that often determines which topics are permitted and financially rewarded and which are not.
Both of these constraints indirectly bring in a scientific method work that too obviously violates the constraints will be difficult to publish and difficult to get funded. Journals do not require submitted papers to conform to anything more specific than “good scientific practice” and this is mostly enforced by peer review.
The peer review process is not always successful, but has been very widely adopted by the scientific community. The primary constraints on contemporary western science are publication (i.e. peer review) and resources (mostly funding).
As a result, experimenters are expected to maintain detailed records of their experimental procedures, in order to provide evidence of the effectiveness and integrity of the procedure and assist in reproduction. These procedural records may also assist in the conception of new experiments to test the hypothesis, and may prove useful to engineers who might examine the potential practical applications of a discovery.
Each element of scientific method is subject to peer review for possible mistakes. Sometimes experimenters may make systematic errors during their experiments, or (in rare cases) deliberately falsify their results. Consequently, it is a common practice for other scientists to attempt to repeat the experiments in order to duplicate the results, thus further validating the hypothesis or further reinforcing its querying.
In the absence of any formal peer review process regarding the ideas expressed in this site, one can primarily only offer up the work to the quoted authors who have produced the individual works called upon to underpin each thesis to form an opinion.
Scientists sometimes lie, just as all humans are susceptible to this behaviour. Scientific fraud is relatively rare, because if you are found to have committed fraud as a scientist your career is generally weakened, if not completely ended. Sooner or later, someone somewhere will try to repeat your work and find out they cannot. Such cross checking is a great deterrent to those ill thought out individuals.
They might be in a good position to comment on the context in which their work has been used and to scrutinize the way in which the work has been conveyed. Secondarily, readers and thinkers who choose to engage the work herein as an intellectual exercise would be encouraged to contrast as many educated perspectives as possible simply to enliven debates that might be born of this simple offering.
Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge
These are some of the reasons for all the checking and rechecking which goes on in science, and why the scientific method is so powerful. It is built to handle error and deceit and to be, sometimes very slowly, self correcting. Due to this, the scientific method is the best way we know of to get near the ‘truth’ about the world around us. Peer review is a critical aspect of scientific method.
Recognizing the fact that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. It has been said that “Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view.”
Nigh the less, a formal process of peer review is essential for any work to be accepted as anything more than an exercise in thought. The hypotheses’ contained have not been offered up to any formal review and are therefore recognizable as uncorroborated ideas and no more.
The Fantasy Enlightenment League is a scheme devised to make everyone a stakeholder in knowledge in a fun way, fostering invention and innovation through a dynamic learning and production environment.
Key priorities are:
- Incentivising knowledge production in the community (artefacts)
- Creating learning frameworks which provide pathways through recapitulation (histories)
- Generate situations of open peer review (collaborative ecologies)
- Use of common technologies to engage a wider population (publishing media)
There is a great need for people to grapple with the rationales involved in how we arrive at ideas and increasingly reliable knowledge. There is a necessity to have the fact that everyone is a part of intellectual life of first principles and analytical thought as common currency. It is important culturally that the message of ‘we are all capable of learning and contributing to collective conversations’ exists in a tangible form. This has extended effects in the social, economic and educational realms.
Over time the question of how the Ragged project gets people to engage in knowledge production (i.e. theories) and communitive activities (i.e. peer review) whilst learning key concepts in knowledge building has been explored. This has been discussed with a number of professionals, communities, and academics. This is a discussion of the Fantasy Enlightenment League and the technologies being explored to realise this vision
The Fantasy Enlightenment League
To stimulate the production of knowledge and incentivise engagement with established tenets of scientific method, this open peer review system is being devised:
A GUI-based warm peer review system will serve to make a contribution to annex the traditional modes of peer review supporting a cultural advance which underpins public engagement by institutions and knowledge production. The GUI warm system also serves to protect the identity and privacy of the individuals to increase objectivity and equity within the peer review process. A clear, rigorous and robust legal-ethical framework is essential to instill confidence in the participating individuals.
The purpose of the GUI system will be to focus attention to the content, quality and methodology of the work rather than preconceptions about the provenance of origin. Distinct protocols for the protection of intellectual property be in place so that appropriation of research is avoided.
Society should not be afraid of ideas, hypotheses and knowledge; nor sharing them. Through protecting intellectual property and ensuring accreditation to authors, these worries can be mitigated.
Peer review in itself can serve as a teaching-learning tool for the philosophy of science and methodology. It poses the question to accepted scientific/intellectual method as to whether the known method is sufficient to screen out unreliable ideas – it should be able to explain why ideas are correct or incorrect, corroborable or uncorroborable. Bonkers idea’s are welcomed to test the theory of method. Work will accumulate as a public repository where it will accept work from any discipline and filter into Dewey decimal context for filing purposes. An editorial board will be able to comment and contribute to the peer review but not vito contributions by exemption unless they fall out with the Ragged ethos. The board will be constructed of qualified people and produce journalistic, open appraisals of work to demonstrate proper method in deconstruction.
Peer review must be opened out to the public in its overt form so there is total transparency and participation, and where everyone is a co-creator. The sharing and curation of data will facilitate scientific endeavour and the generation of new ideas through provision of the raw stuff of correlation, comparison, and taxonomy. This facilitation of the generation of new knowledge will stimulate invention and innovation that offsets the cost of sharing and curation by filtering into the economy of universities and beyond.
Science is an objective method to keep us from fooling ourselves
A clear and concise cost-benefit analysis of open access ethos should demonstrate the efficacy of creating and perpetuating such a culture. Social capital research illustrates the benefits to economy as well as in social and intellectual terms. The Ragged project aims to draw upon advice from experts across a diverse range of fields to inform the inception and evolution of the initiative.
It is absolutely vital that society reinvests in its future in an adaptive way which encourages the use of available modern resources and makes the wide public base intellectual assets. With society changing form and going through huge changes not only in thought but also physical makeup there is a definite need to evolve the relationship of the individual to science, knowledge and learning.
Thus a multi-levelled view of the scientific endeavour will be developed in the spirit of enlightenment philosophy structured with:
- A recapitulation of established contributions to scientific philosophy and method which will demonstrate guidance and a learning ladder for practical contributions
- An open Dewey GUI warm peer review process which will act as a platform for thinkers (developing and established) to share their ideas and work with a view to facilitate intellectual and technological advance
- Prizes and Fun Theory to incentivise active participation in peer review process using gamification principles