I’m currently mulling around a bunch of thoughts and half-formed opinions on the distribution, ownership and attribution of ideas and information in an age of free-flowing digital media.
One of my current concerns is the tension between perceived needs one the one hand for attribution, academic traceability and ownership of ones own words; and on the other hand for privacy. This is seen in sharpest relief in solicitations for academic surveys. Routinely such instruments come with a disclaimer pointing out that all answers will be anonymous. Well-structured surveys and questionnaires, though, often also contain a section for general comments and feedback. In most cases I do not want this to be anonymous – indeed I would rather it formed part of a dialogue between the researcher and subjects, allowing both to benefit, learn and develop.
I am considering taking up a habit of always adding my contact details to academic survey submissions to deliberately challenge the assumption that I wish to be an anonymous donor of information, and to encourage researchers to participate in a community of interest.
Some things I have read recently on associated topics include: