By now you have probably seen the exciting revamp of our website. These changes are not cosmetic. They represent a fundamental rebuilding of our web profile, including our very active presence on social media via Facebook and Twitter. To deliver to you this web content requires a great deal of engineering behind the scenes--and a hardworking team--not least in organizing and delivering the ever-expanding database of publications (over 5,000 now). And we now have an exceedingly active YouTube channel with videos from our conferences and a great interview series with network members. We've been using all these media to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the start of the Institute's operations in Helsinki in 1985, before the internet became global, our working paper series is freely downloadable, and all our recent publications in journals are open access
Thirty years ago, if you had said 'social media' it would have conjured up an image of people sitting together on sofas reading newspapers on paper, not tablets and phones. Quite nice--especially when accompanied by a cup of tea. My reading was largely confined to the printed mainstream media, and when I wanted a research article I headed for the library shelves. I still remember the heavy metal shelves ('stacks') that you had to move by turning a mechanical wheel to get at the journal archives at my old college in the early 1980s. I guess it built more arm muscle than does moving a mouse around today, but otherwise this means of accessing research findings had little to say for it--though the smell of dusty leather-bound journals does still bring forth a nostalgic smile. And if you were 100 miles away from a university library, let alone 1000 miles away (in Africa, say), you felt very cut off.
So we have come a long way. Still too much of the world's research is hidden behind paywalls but, believe me, it's a lot better than it was. And UNU-WIDER is doing its bit--our working paper series is freely downloadable, and all our recent publications in journals are open access--you'll see those on our publications page with the symbol of an open padlock (most appropriate!). You could, if you want, spend your entire weekend reading and watching our latest output; though I would recommend you get out once and a while, and be truly 'social'.
When I arrived at UNU-WIDER for the first time, we put together the WIDERAngle as a printed newsletter, with desktop publishing software. It was then printed on...