I, for one, would love to see corporations *eliminated* from universities and other tertiaries. No more funded chairs, no more philanthropic grants from wealthy benefactors trying to revise history to erase their past lack of ethics. Instead, let's vastly increase taxes on the ultra-rich *globally* & fund research learning *with open source results for the planet's benefit* from the public purse, without the vested interests or attempted reputation scrubbing.


While we're at it, let's also get rid of all these university "commercialisation" organisations. They're actually a corrupting force - universities and learners are not a resource to be mined for the exclusive benefit of corporate shareholders. They exists to propagate knowledge freely, and to make the world a better place for all.

@lightweight It's not going to happen. Personal experience: none of my fellow academics use free open source tools, I have tried encouraging using plain vanilla LaTeX, they scoff at me; I now literally compel my students to use free open source software, but it's a completely different, losing game with colleagues. They have taunted me in the past when I suggested to use even such things as R, They flatly refuse to use anything but Word/Excel/powerpoint/spss. Who/What are you talking about?

@arin_basu getting them to change software will take a while... but we can remove the corporate money from the system quickly. That should include rejecting "educational discounts". It has to be done at a policy/governance level. It can't be a decision for academics who're already compromised by their dependence on corporate largess. The ones who weren't willing to compromise generally haven't survived, so we need to shift the structure to keep those with strong principles viable.

@lightweight This is the difficult thing to do. Part of it is explained by the culture of publish/perish that exists in many institutions, the urge/need to get funds for promotions among the younger academics and lucre of the 'awards' many multinationals offer. Interestingly, as the shift to reproducible research and open source becomes mainstream, the culture will shift.

@arin_basu The change will start by people like us propagating the idea that corporate money is dirty, and tarnishes the reputations of those who accept it... and it is and should be true.

@lightweight ... yes, and also, the existing non-corporate funders need to be a little more open and generous with their purse strings to novel ideas. MBIE for instance in NZ is good with new ideas, but some other funders need to be open to new ideas as well. Unfortunately, because of their stringency in assessing ideas in the first place, many researchers veer towards corporate funding.

@arin_basu yes - there's a lot of broken ideology in gov't organisations.

@lightweight , also, some corporates such as Microsoft Azure platform continues to make presence in academic circles and encourage 'open source' academic institutional research.

@arin_basu educators need to be reminded that being an educator means 2 things: 1. constantly learning, and 2. constantly sharing. If they don't want to do those two things, they should be looking for another job. Suggest that the next time the institution "downsizes" its educational staff, the only ones who'll be safe are the ones that use Linux on their desktop :)

@arin_basu the long and short of it: create a solid enough case (and, given the right leadership, that'd be trivially easy - savings in cost, improved pedagogy, respecting learner privacy, institutional autonomy, etc.) and don't give people a choice. This would be one of the few things that would benefit from some bold top-down leadership.

@lightweight I remember raising the exact points you write here in a meeting with the vice chancellor and his management team. His/their response was that in their experience it sounded great on paper but impractical; anyway, it is interesting to see now a push towards adopting cloud based solutions and providing 'instances'. I welcome this having moved to use Emacs/Jupyter notebooks for most of my academic work, but we'll see how others respond, 🙂

@arin_basu sounds like a few difficult people need to be moved out of the way... :) - if things aren't changed, they - based on what you're saying - will continue to be broken.

@arin_basu @lightweight I guess depends on the local 'culture'. In my neck of the academic woods, R is *the* tool for statistics, and LaTeX (to a lesser extent) for publication. Students are weened off Excel and Word where possible.

@robertfromont @lightweight
You have great academic culture where you work! When I first joined my current university and proposed a course where I'd teach R to students, a professor who evaluated my proposal challenged me why was this necessary. Eventually after some debate, I was able to use R. I find students readily adopt, but quite a different story with fellow academics. As a result, my PhD student struggles to produce different versions (Word/LaTex/PDF) for his three supervisors, 😞

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