Don’t you hate those tacky moments in presentations when the speaker says something like “Hands up who used a deodorant this morning?” and we all squirm a bit and try to think of the right answer – are we meant to smell good, or not to use aerosols for environmental reasons, or rely on pure products like water to do the trick, or regard smelling bad as a badge of democracy? Somehow they always end up by putting you in a false position. So if these are the enemy tactics, then I plan to use them in a presentation I am due to make this afternoon.

Who owns an automobile? I plan to ask, fairly confident of a full house here in Washington DC. But who shares an auto? I seek users of ZipCar, or WhizzGo. And who shares a ride in an auto? Looking here for subscribers to NuRide, ZimRide, GoLoco. And who uses P2P car rental to avoid high rental costs? (see, WhipCar and RelayRides). The point of this annoying catechism is simple. In the land where a man’s car is his castle, the last three years has seen an unprecedented rise in collaborative car investment sharing start-ups. It takes a recession to remind us that the aging, rusting hulk in the drive way costs us depreciation every year, apart from financing costs and running costs. Car ownership used to be a life style given: now its a conscious use of resources decision – and there are clearly other options. And those options rely on networked collaborative relationships to work.

So do my friends in the information markets think that people who shared a car to work will not share content collaboratively with third parties? On one side they acknowledge sharing cultures, and complain bitterly when they see breaches of intellectual property ownership. On the other side they shy away from service sharing with other source suppliers to create service solutions which would help, through ease and completeness of access, in avoiding such breaches. In doing so they force markets into other channels, and as the water finds its way round the rock they may find themselves in mortal danger.

While these thoughts reflect the ideas that I raised yesterday, they were also prompted by an announcement by the Macmillan Digital Science service, figshare, last week. In it figshare announced a new deal with the Public Library of Science in which figshare undertakes to load all of the experimental, evidential data associated with articles published by PLoS. This gives two big collaborative pluses for PLos; in the first place they are able to satisfy the strong demand for the publishing of evidential data without a huge technology investment, and they can point out to users that being enabled to view supplemental data in a browser alongside the article offers major advantages in discover-ability for datasets, videos, graphs, figures and images. All of these factors will draw more article traffic to PLoS. For figshare this collaboration moves them into the mainstream for open access data publishing, and since articles can be sourced from the researcher’s figshare repository prior to technical review by PLoS One, for example, it makes figshare a more sensible collaborator in the sharing that matters – between researcher/author and service supplier.

These collaborations become important and indicative of the future of the industry. For example, poll results (GP Bullhound 2013) this week indicated that over 60% of current games users would want, globally, to buy into the Xbox 720 technology rather than the Sony PS4. It may be that Sony have moved too slowly to turn the PS range into both a consumer and an educational platform. Microsoft, however, have been clear on the educational drive, using SharePoint (whats in a name?) to associate all sorts of content and service environments (think only of copyright cleared content resources like Global Grid for Learning). Walking around BETT in London last week I felt the forming of an answer to the question “Who shares this market with Pearson, if the duopoly idea holds true?” The answer at the moment would be Microsoft, with a sharing attitude towards technology and content collaboration which is serving them well.

Not that they won’t have a struggle in local markets. I was pleased to see at BETT how much revived the service lines of RM appeared to be, compared to a year ago. RM Unify, a system for creating single sign – on in the Cloud to the whole range of Cloud Apps and services that a school may use is obviously a great step forward. And I really liked the idea, in the RM eBooks library, that a teacher could create a research library around a topic for a class, and r3ent access to the books required for the duration of the project. Then let teachers review each others listings, I thought (perhaps via TES Resources?) and the collaborative loop is joined up. The question then remains, in this consolidating world, of who buys TES – or even RM?


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  1. P U B L I S H I N G » Blog Archive » Sharing: More News on February 6, 2013 19:50

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