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A web log of developing a career in energy research

energyresearch
Date: 20:59 10 12 2013
Subject: Incompatibility between university IP commercialisation and GNU GPL?
Security: Public

This blog post about industry-university collaboration reminded me about the opinion of the free software foundation regarding university software development. However, considering the comment of Mark at 'IP Draughts' (also interesting; another RSS feed added to my list!) suggests that as far as use of free software with university research is concerned, these model research collaboration agreements (specifically § 4.2 use and exploitation of intellectual property) are void, being incompatible with GNU GPL.

Surely people are aware of free software licences these days???

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energyresearch
Date: 16:48 24 12 2013
Subject: early Christmas present
Security: Public

Eventually got a journal article published today (after a rejection by another publisher: not bitter! ;) ). It has it's flaws, but journal article output is the main measure of an academic researcher's activity. Reminiscing, am disappointed that not as much work was done as envisaged, but at least a minor article is evidence something was achieved during the last twelve months.

Now to look forwards for an improvement in 2014!

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energyresearch
Date: 13:47 27 12 2013
Subject: electronic or paper documents?
Security: Public

In reply to this post about comparison between electronic and paper documents:

The comparison made in this web page between internet and paper is flawed. Firstly, kg's is not a unit of measurement, but kg! Where is the source of statement that CO₂ emissions for A4 colour paper to be 100 kg? Is this value based upon life-cycle analysis calculation? The value is apparently based upon delivery to a given destination, but we need to calculate the CO₂ cost of distribution to each individual reader to be able to compare against an individual user who receives an equivalent electronic copy (html, or pdf) via http, ftp or similar transmission protocol via internet. Assuming a broadband internet connection and an electronic document file size of 1MB, the transmission time would be a few seconds and therefore the comparison with 5 minutes of internet connection time is a false analogy.

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energyresearch
Date: 18:25 12 01 2014
Subject: awareness of open access publishing
Security: Public

It's surprising that people assume either a willingness or existing ability to access academic literature. How many people would be interested in a recent study cited in a blog post, about the impact of green VAT via life–cycle analysis, yet are unable to access it? Fortunately, there are open access alternatives, such as recent special issues supplements: life–cycle sustainability and constructions' sustainability

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energyresearch
Date: 12:15 17 01 2014
Subject: if Sweden can do it...
Security: Public

Impressive to read that Sweden has the capability to source the majority of primary energy from renewable sources.

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energyresearch
Date: 22:20 17 01 2014
Subject: diversity in UK higher education employment
Security: Public

This journal entry post was prompted by an article published in Black British Academics, which is asking for evidence to be submitted to the British government's parliamentary committee. After reviewing the terms of inquiry and the submission process, decided to write an open letter on this web log.

1 Introduction

This author is an un-employed researcher within the area of renewable energy engineering, having recently completed a research contract in Africa. It may be of interest to know that a contributing factor for pursuing employment abroad was a lack of suitable opportunities to continue research within UK. The reason to respond to the request to submit evidence to the committe is due to an news article published by the Runnymede Trust and subsequently referred to by the aforementioned entity 'Black British Academics'

2 Challenges and experiences

As an undergraduate in a physical science subject, the author found the experience of UK higher education to be beneficial overall, but a largely lonely existence. Study of the physical sciences is a difficult, demanding endeavour which was felt to have been made even more so by the near total absence of peers to form lasting relationships in which to seek and provide support. Within the department, in four years of undergraduate study in a (now classified as) Russell Group university, this author encountered one other African (descendant) student and no such staff member. For the purposes of this document, “African (descendant)” is defined as persons of the African diaspora that may be born in African or Caribbean countries in addition to British-born citizens. Distinctions should also be noted in the diversity of Africans within the higher education sector, comprising African-born students of an upper social class in their home countries (mostly characterised by being recipients of private sector, high quality education) and British-born student descendants of immigrants that attended public sector state schools.

Following a period of approximately ten years in business employment, this author returned to academic study, for doctoral research. This decision was spurred by a number of decisions: un-satisfactory career progression; desire to change career; pursue a personal development target attainment. Following successful completion of doctoral research, employment was found only for a short-term, temporary contract of secondary relevance to the research expertise. As indicated previously, the decision to seek employment beyond Europe was only partially driven by a lack of suitable employment opportunities; it was always the opinion of this author that seeking international experience would be rewarding both personally and in terms of professional career development. This author is of the opinion that if there are opportunities abroad, go!

3 University education value

The perceived value ascribed to university education is over-emphasised. Without the necessary open and meritocratic employment opportunities in Europe, there is a risk (not exclusive to specific communities of peoples) that skilled people will simply seek opportunities elsewhere. Nevertheless, the intrinsic value of university education towards personal development should always remain per se a laudable aim.

4 Review of applicants to the tertiary education sector

This author has no comment to make regarding review of applicants.

5 Determination of the need, if any, for interventions

This author has no comment to make about interventions.

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energyresearch
Date: 14:23 05 02 2014
Subject: energy and shelter
Security: Public

(Imminent Dr) J Love wrote a nice reflective post about her observations about the connections between energy and housing. Since an invitation to comment was made, here goes!


Energy use factors in buildings. It is surprising to claim insufficient studies on energy usage within buildings. The Carbon Trust (do they still exist, post-austerity? ;) ) used to publish "best practice" guides which used to contain benchmark data; presumably measurements were made in order to determine these reference parameters? Similarly, surely the Building Research Establishment has conducted extensive measurements on buildings?


Yes, the eternal debate about disciplinary boundaries, particularly between natural and social sciences. Well, there's a reason that economics is rightfully dismissed as the "dismal science". Hence the commentary about behaviour change with respect to energy consumption. Science researchers have often not got involved in research in which humans are the main object of focus, which is probably why "feedback" effects are subsequently ignored and is an essential component of energy consumption (energy supply to a lesser extent, also).


It could be argued that the continued failure at true intra-disciplinary research within the energy sector is the reason for the absence of a more integrated policy regarding (alleged) climate change, environmental management and human health. "Warmth" policy should really not exist and instead by incorporated into existing health policies; many diseases/illnesses are exacerbated by poor living conditions (too cold, too hot, etc.) that are affected to energy supply infrastructure. To paraphrase, (unproven) climate change should not take priority over short–term environmental management (e.g. air-bourne pollution), the latter has a far greater impact upon human health and overall sustainability. For example, coal–power generation with air pollution control devices to control emissions of mercury, fly ash, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides is more important than diverting resources to bury CO₂ under so–called carbon capture and storage.


So, whatever next JL, good luck!

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energyresearch
Date: 17:25 25 02 2014
Subject: Open social!?
Security: Public

Up to now, E has always disparaged the monolith that is social media and ****book in particular. Thankfully, there are almost always alternatives, but one has to look for them...


Prompted by the recent purchase sell-out of 'whatsapp', decided to renew use of 'Diaspora'. The open access world is now seriously compromised by predatory sub-standard "publishers"; in a recent post about publication of fake, computer-generated(!) papers by conference proceedings publishers. For the record, the post was first read via this Diaspora pod stream post.

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energyresearch
Date: 20:29 27 02 2014
Subject: True colours finally revealed
Security: Public

A list of "predatory" open access journal publishers initiated by Jeffrey Beall was considered to be per se a useful service to the scientific research community, as an aid to determine the credentials of emerging publishers in the absence of appropriate bibliometrics such as 'impact factor'. That was until this blog post mentioned an incredulous attack on the open access concept. Mr Beall published an article that dismisses open access as some sort of quasi-communist European plot to deny freedom of expression. The article is laughable in terms of contradiction, confusion and factual error. It was published open access. :)

The rant reminded of the notorious claim by Mr Ballmer that: "linux is a[n intellectual property] cancer". One can assume that Mr Beall is equally ignorant of open source software.

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energyresearch
Date: 11:58 05 05 2014
Subject: Further academic revolution
Security: Public

Further to an earlier post (see: http://academics-anon.livejournal.com/1867197.html), temporary academic professors continue to revolt in order to improve relatively poor working conditions.

Since it has been stated before that the situation of temporary academic staff is not "new" news(!), why is the media becoming more aware now of this scenario?

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