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New Project Standards

In January 2013, PMI will be publishing the latest editions of three foundational standards:

  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition
  • The Standard for Program Management—Third Edition, and
  • The Standard for Portfolio Management—Third Edition

The major updates to the PMBOK® Guide—Fifth Edition include the following:

  • The content from Section 3 “The Standard for Project Management of a Project” has been moved to Annex A1. The new Section 3 addresses project management processes and Process Groups as in previous editions.
  • A new Knowledge Area has been created called “Project Stakeholder Management” that increases the focus on identifying and engaging stakeholders. This increases the number of Knowledge Areas from nine to ten.
  • Four planning processes have been added to reinforce the concept that each major Knowledge Area has a planning process focusing on how that area will be planned and executed

…so now there is 10 knowledge areas and 47 processes. These are broken town in Table 3.1 on p. 59 of the new 5th ed. PMBOK. Prior to the 5th edition, 4.1 Develop Project Charter was the only process in the Initiating Process Group, however, 13.1 Identify Stakeholders is also in this process group. I try to create a Mind Map (using XMind) of stakeholders for my project communications planning, that is much more detailed and exhaustive for bigger projects. I am curious how the new focus on this knowledge area may improve project success, and hope that it will not be too confusing or problematic for other knowledge areas, especially communications.

XMind has a new version available. I have found XMind very easy to use a mind mapping, and now there are many new features added, especially for those who manage projects. It is turning out to be quite an indispensable tool.


DOAB: Directory of Open Access Books

Directory of Open Access Books logoAs stated on the site, the purpose of the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB): “is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. Aggregators can integrate the records in their commercial services and libraries can integrate the directory into their online catalogues, helping scholars and students to discover the books. The directory will be open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.”

There are many ‘free’ and very poorly conceived ebook sites and directories available for ebooks. Sites such as that require you to register, limit the number of ebooks or restrict the formats available that you can access with a free account or with 160 free textbooks that also promote a variety of other content such as online courses and have commercial advertising. Certainly free ebooks have been around for many years now with Project Gutenberg’s digitization of public domain works (with more than 40,000 book on the site with more than 100,000 available with Project Gutenberg affiliate sites and projects).

Freely available books need to be clear on permitted uses, however. Terms of use still need to be clarified in terms of ‘gratis’ (is it free for me to access) and ‘libre’ (is it free for me to use for many other various purposes). There are many books available for ‘free’, but some of the directories may only permit free access to a chapter or a portion of the book or only permit limited use. They may not necessarily permit reuse for educators, but may only be intended for  individual use or private study or personal research. This clarification in rights is also needed with online courses, and especially with Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

There is a spectrum of Open Access, as recently underscored by the the ‘How Open Is It?’ request for comment lead by PLoS, SPARC, and OASPA prior to OA Week 2012 and the resulting OA Spectrum toolkit, and the resulting OAS publication calls for clarification of the use of Open Access provided by way of Creative Common licences and other related vehicles.

With the rising costs of textbooks and many new Open Textbook initiatives and announcements, such as California passes groundbreaking open textbook legislation (September 27, 2012) and British Columbia Government Lends Support to Open Textbooks (October 16, 2012), there is undoubtedly a greater need for discovering and more easily finding resources that are made freely available.

Also, with the recent availability of the PKP Open Monograph Press (OMP), there may soon be an abundance of freely available book resources from academic presses moving to a fully virtual or digital press. There are already several early adopters including Athabasca University and University of Windsor (Department of Philosophy and UWindsor Library) here in Canada.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (circa 2002) and the Directory of Open Access Repositories (DOAR) (circa 2005) have provided quality directories for journal and institutional repositories for a number of years now. They have provided a certain level of quality control and used open standards like OAI-PMH to promote interoperability and discovery between publishing systems and library catalogue systems or search engines.

Given the current and recent trends in scholarly publishing and communication, especially on the ebook front, DOAB should be well received by and very useful to the academic community.

IOP Publishing moves to CC-BY license for Open Access Articles

So this announcement is only for Open Access (OA) material published by the Institute of Physics (IOP), but it does help resolve the confusing gratis v. libre issue that is involved with OA in terms of how free it is to use (gratis = free as in no cost v. libre = with little or no restriction). The Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) is the least restrictive.

This is probably in response to the 2012 OA Week request for comment by PLoS, SPARC, and OASPA on their ‘How Open is it?’ initiative and the resulting OA Spectrum toolkit (or a very timely coincidence).

Perhaps other publishers will follow suit (even after OA Week) with clarifications on where they fit in the OA Spectrum on various publications and about progressive changes being made on a given date, either retrospectively or on a go forward basis, toward being increasingly open with OA.

“Green” (and the issue with ‘green washing’ with respect to the environmental movement) and “Organic” (with respect to whether ‘certified organic’ or the fact that it just grew on a farm and can be found in a produce aisle of the grocery store) is confusing and can be bad for business, especially with the need for simple understanding and with regard to trust within a community.

Bravo to PLoS, SPARC and OASPA for taking the lead with the OA Spectrum and for IOP for clarifying and improving its standing within the OA Spectrum. Again, let’s hope more will follow.

SPARC Author Rights Initiative

As both authors and educators, it is important to consider what rights and permissions you are handing over to a publisher the next time you go to publish and article.

Read the publishing agreement (or the ‘copyright transfer agreement’) with the publisher before you sign it. Beware of signing away exclusive rights.

SPARC Author Rights Initiative - Poster

SPARC Author Rights Initiative – Poster

Consider the SPARC Author Rights Initiative and signing an addendum to publication agreement with the publisher to retain certain rights, especially for your educational purposes.

Also, consider shopping around to find another journal and publisher. Although when it comes to promotion and tenure and the value placed on certain metrics, there may not seem like that many options. Even though there are sometimes many journals, there are fewer and fewer publishers in the marketplace and there are many similarities with standard agreements. Nevertheless, best to ask before when you have the option of going elsewhere, than asking after your article is published and you have already signed over your rights.

I don’t believe this is easy (especially when publishers seem to have an oligopoly), but I would strongly encourage it. It is in your best interest to try to get the most out of your hard work. Arguably you should maintain some say and role in the promotion and use of that material, but you need to have legitimate options for doing that.

Feel free to comment, and let me know how it goes.

Publisher Offers Business Degree

In the UK, Pearson, a publisher of texts for higher education, has announced they will be offering business degrees. “Pearson. We make learning our business.” does seem very apropos given this move. Many universities have had academic presses in order to further their broad education mandate. That a publisher should want to become an educator is a bit of a surprise. So long as Pearson’s motivation is to fill a certain niche or offer particular value with a business degree or perhaps improve their line of textbooks and not merely to better (and only) market their line of business publications, this should not be too disconcerting. Time will tell whether this is a positive announcement and beneficial strategy for the market in the long run.


SD Card Read Fail

My SD Memory card was not being recognized in my computer, but it was still working in my camera. I tried to get the card reader to read the card on my Mac laptop and then tried the same thing on my Windows laptop. In both cases it said the card was not formatted and offered to format it for me (thanks, but no thanks!). I have to give credit to my wife who suggested connecting the camera via USB. Not sure why I was caught in the loop of trying to get my laptop(s) to read the card via the card reader and trying different card readers, but I was able to download/import the pictures via the USB cable (yes, that’s why the cord comes with the camera). It is so easy to get in the habit of doing things a certain way, that it is not always easy to step back and see another way around a problem.

Use of Pesticides

I’m allergic to bees/wasps/hornets/yellow jackets, but I still like the humble bumble bee. The are typically not very aggressive, since they sting once and die. Although when they are trapped or need to protect the queen, they will sacrifice themselves. Nevertheless, I’d hate to see the extermination/eradication of everything in site with many pesticides used and typical extermination programs. The $7 eco-friendly natural traps (with some apple juice or sugar water) have done wonders to trap dozens of more aggressive yellow jackets/wasps (sometimes as many as four dozen within a couple days) while the bees and other insects go about there business. Once they fly into the traps, they cannot get back out.

With my recent squirrel infestation, I found a $5 rat trap and a peanut does the trick (sadly, squirrels really do seem to be rats with fancy tails when you have an infestation problem). I was even offered a job with a local pest control company given my success with trapping so many of the pests.

Pest control programs that do better to control the populations rather than wiping everything out completely seems like a better — more green and ecological — way to go.