An open door to tomorrow

Innovation and Luxembourg, Suffering a Brain Drain!?

Ten years ago, when I started going to the Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg (BNL - the National Library of Luxembourg), the “poverty” of the library (e.g., infrastructure, resources, services, etc.) of the world's richest (if not mistaken) country shocked me. The BNL was so underdeveloped, when compared to many public and private libraries in the USA. More surprisingly, many libraries I had visited in Brussels, Paris, and other cities were not so nice, either.

(Just note that some BNL librarians appear to be cold and distant at first. But, when they get to know you, they can be friendly, very helpful, and even sweet.)

Over the last ten years, the BNL has improved dramatically, and has become one of the best/favorite libraries I know in the region so far. Although I still miss some aspects of American libraries – for example, specialized librarians (e.g., law librarians) and more conducive, competitive, extremely intense, and intellectually stimulating atmospheres for studying, I am OK with the BNL. Hope that it keeps improving in coming years.

However, talent management in Luxembourg concerns me/us greatly.

It is obvious that Luxembourg has an advantage in attracting people because of competitive salaries, benefits, etc. But, it may not be so good at retaining their top talents in some sectors (though, of course, there are really talented people in Luxembourg, but some of friends have been disenchanted. They have moved to other companies and countries with better opportunities).

There seems to be something dysfunctional: something does not ignite, but undermine the passion of people.

Modeling human well-being and societal progress

For those who already read our article "Towards International and Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration for the Measurements of Quality of Life" in Social Indicators Research and have become interested in modeling, you may want to watch Tony Buzan's video on Mind Mapping. It may give you an idea of modeling as I think that modeling and his mapping are closely connected.

And, the book Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist (Second Edition - link to Morgan-Kaufmann Publishers) by Allemang and Hendler is very nice, very progressive and pedagogic to learn about modeling.

Towards International and Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration for the Measurements of Quality of Life

Our paper (with the title above) has been published and is available as "Online First" on SpringerLink now:

When we started creating our eLab in 2006-2007, it was probably one of the earliest ones. Now there are many eLabs, especially nice ones in the UK and other universities. Though, I understand that many researchers focus on eScience, while we are more interested in eSocial Science and measuring societal progress.

We have written the earlier versions of this paper for the last three years. And, as the time has passed, we have learned new stuff, and tried to make the paper shorter and less technical. Therefore, quite frankly, the paper is getting outdated as technology advances so quickly. Though, our article provides a general introduction to eSocial Science.

A good news is that we've got a new idea. Although we cannot go into details at this time, what we wish is we make it accessible and useful for as many people as possible.

We hope to update you about progress on this site (by the end of this year, if possible). Also, we will see you at future conferences and meetings! At the moment, we are interested in the 9th IEEE International Conference on e-Science in Beijin, China in 2013:

Updating you on eLaboratories

We have been working on two main subjects: (1) international and interdisciplinary collaboration for quality of life (QoL) research; and (2) computer-based technology and infrastructure assisting (1). This type of computer-supported cooperative work in the social sciences has been termed eHumanities or eSocial Science.

QoL or human well-being research has gained momentum after the representatives of the European Commission, the OECD, the UN, the UNDP, and the World Bank made the Istanbul Declaration in 2007 to undertake the measurement of societal progress in each country. In the context of QoL or human well-being research and measurement, one of the most influential concepts is the capability approach (CA). Yet, the operationalization of the CA has long been one of the serious challenges faced by social scientists. As regards to this issue, we argue that modern technology has the potential to provide ample tools for enhancing the measurement of human well-being, and facilitating large-scale collaborative research on the QoL.

We have developed a methodology, procedures, and tools based on the new technologies developed for both governmental and intergovernmental (OECD) sponsored assessments and that are ready to be used for QoL analysis. We propose a viable alternative for facilitating international and interdisciplinary research collaboration to develop a methodology and a dashboard of indicators to monitor the progress of human well-being over the years and to formalize its multidimensional measure for international comparisons.

Barriers to the wider uptake of eResearch in the social sciences

eResearch is to conduct research of all kinds with the use and support of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).  TAO (a French acronym for "Testing Assisté par Ordinateur") is one of such eResearch tools and over the last years, TAO has become prominent in international comparative assessments in education (e.g., for OECD).  In winter 2002, TAO was started (as a little almost-doomed project with little resources) in Luxembourg; it gradually got known in the EC, Europe, and the USA, and then it became some kind of international "Million Dollar Baby" tool.

Observing people's reactions to eLab and eResearch

In our Online Community, we wish to offer a taste of the future of the virtualization of some scientific tasks, and to let the reader imagine a world built on interconnected networks of eLaboratories designed to push our collective thinking and understanding into an Era of Globalization.

In this Community, we use the core technology (named TAO/Generis) that has been successfully employed in the electronic reading assessment of the OECD's PISA 2009 and for PIAAC 2011 and many other international projects.  Developed since 2003, the platform TAO is fully-fledged and Blah blah blah.  It sounds too much boasting and I am not even a TAO creator.  But, I would like to disseminate information about TAO because it is brilliant!!

Applying the Capability Approach to assess human well-being: Step 1

Creating a venue for public discussion and public participation advocated by Amartya Sen

Every summer I search for a new elegant hat. In fact, I do have a few “pretty” ones, but I usually end up wearing my old “NASA researcher” hat. Since it is a bit ugly and evokes the one of Japanese colonialist soldiers, I do not like it so much, though that wide-brimmed hat is extremely light, foldable, heat-resistant, and super practical. So, in general, I guess I like things to be practical and usable. Like me, people may not use things if they are not designed with the ease of the users in mind, no matter how interesting they look and no matter what “lip service” (Comim, 2008, p.176) people pay. And, the same claim probably applies to theories, too.

The Capability Approach (CA) is known to be non-user-friendly (see Alkire, 2002, etc). Measuring capabilities has been one of the greatest challenges faced by us, the supporters of the CA. And, we have been stuck for a while, without knowing how to put the theory into practice, although many of us have been so intrigued by the CA partly because of its pragmatic nature. public participation and scientific collaboration public participation and scientific collaboration This presentation, " public participation and scientific collaboration", was presented by Raynald Jadoul of Public Research Centre Henri Tudor to the session entitled 'RC23 - Sociology of Science and Technology", held at the occasion of the First ISA (International Sociological Association) Forum of Sociology themed on "Sociological Research and Public Debate", at Barcelona, Sain, on 5-8 September 2008.

The content of this mini-book focuses essentially on the methodology aspects developed inside the eLaboratories; without providing too many technical details, the presentation gives a good overview of the models and tools involved in all the steps required to manage a real survey - from the modeling of the studied domain to the collecting of the interviews' results.

This mini-book is available in the "Books" section: click here to read this book.

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