08 October 2017

Review: Lumos Helmet

Despite much derision on my beloved cycling forum, I backed the Lumos helmet kickstarter a couple of years ago.  It took a while to arrive, but eventually turned up last December.

Having now ridden it through one winter season, and even through the summer (when I would usually go helmet-less), I  thought I should write a review.  Especially since every single day of those 10 months at least once person has commented on it or asked me about it.  I've had people chase me down the road to discuss it, and one woman even rolled down her car window to ask about it.

Generally, people just want to know where I got it.  If they ask me if I like it, I say yes, which is true.  It's proven reliable. I've gotten in the habit of signalling my turns, and I do like being able to keep my hands on my bars/brakes.  I still tend to hand signal, but I like having the flexibility.

The main downside is just that it's heavy.  I don't notice it much on my short commute, but I don't wear it on longer rides.   Occasionally the lights glitch and don't respond to the switch but a re-charge sorts it.

Battery life is good if just using the indicators but short if using the brake light accellerometer, but I plug it in at work, and it's no more bother than normal rechargable lights. I do wonder if i'm havung to charge it more frequently these days though....

When it first arrived, I thought the switch on the back looked like a weak spot (especially for those of us with finger nails), but it's held up fine.

I've not used the app much.  It's handy for varying the rate of beeping (which accompanies the turn signal), but once I got that set, I've not used it much.  Oddly, the app only works  if the helmet's turned on.  So, I can't sit at my desk and check if it needs charging.

I don't know if I'd pay full price in the shops for it (£159 on amazon) but for what I paid, I'm happy.

13 September 2017

Journal ownership models

When people talk about journals as 'black boxes' usually they mean things like how reviewers are chosen, and the decisions made by editors. We don't talk much about journals as capitalist ventures, beyond decrying the cost of subscriptions (see my posts on Open Access) or predatory journals.  But there are many models of journal ownership and management, and if we understand them, we can make better sense of apparently puzzling decisions.  Here are five with which I am acquainted.  I'd be interested to know of others, or for corrections to my models.

Model A: the Learned Society journal:  this is a journal that is published by a learned society or disciplinary group.  Ownership is vested in the professional association, who contract with a publisher to publish the journal, and with a group of academics (often based in one department) to edit it for a number of years.  Some journals stay in certain foundational departments, more often they move around, and departments are invited to bid for them periodically.   Learned socities often use journal funds to pay for their administrative costs, run conferences, and other activities of benefit to their members.  Possible examples*: BJPS, ASR

Model B: The Association Journal: whereby a collective body or organization owns the journal, but editors are selected, rather than solicited.  A contract with a publisher ensures that the journal is published.  Funds again usually go to both administrative costs, editorial costs, and to support other endeavours of the owning group. Possible examples*:  African Affairs, Africa 

Model C: the Collective Model.  Ownership is vested in the editorial collective, and decisions about editors and often about papers are made collectively.  Both journals that I know which run on this model date from the 1970s. Again, a contract is negotiated with a publisher, and money is often used to run conferences, sponsor academic travel etc, as well as cover the costs of editing the journal.  Examples: JSAS, ROAPE

Model D:  the Private Ownership model. The journal is owned by an individual and profits accrue to them.  That individual might contract out the editorial work, or take it on themselves.  Possible examples*: TWQ

Model E: the Publisher-Owner model.  The publisher 'owns' the journal and contracts with an editor or editors to run the journal. Possible examples*: JMAS

In the case of models D and E, I presume that proceeds of the journal pay salaries and other expenses, but are less likely to support conferences and other activities, but I may be wrong.  Certainly editors could negotiate such agreements into their contracts, if publishers were amenable, but I'm not aware of examples that do this.  It's also difficult to know whether journals are Model D or E, since we're not usually privy to their contractual arrangements.

How any of these groups relate to their editorial boards is generally unrelated to their ownership, with the exception of Model C, where the editorial board is resposinble for both organizational and editorial decision making.  In Models D and E editorial boards usually serve at the pleasure of the editor.

Finally, peer review is unrelated to both ownership and management.

*This is based on the best of my knowledge. Please let me know if I'm wrong, so I can correct it.