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Journal Abstracts #20: December 4, 2001


Journal Name: Prometheus, Volume 8, Number 2, December 1990



Soviet Science under Gorbachev
by Stephen Fortescue
Gorbachev has exposed science to the same pressure for restructuring as all other sectors of Soviet society, as there has been an increasing recognition of poor scientific returns on a major investment. Some of the key problems of Soviet Science are examined, in two basic categories: problems which are internal to Soviet science itself and problems of its relations with the outside world. The first category includes planning and funding difficulties, management style, and management-staff relations; the second, backwardness in key technologies and isolation from the world scientific community. The analysis of each of these areas of difficulty includes an account of current attempts at reform.
Soviet Union, Gorbachev, science

Information Diffusion: Reconciling Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy
by Ralph J.K. Chapman
This paper is concerned with the policy-making processes and the nature of the information available to those who participate in them. At a very simple level of concern is the issue of how to define what is a risk to which governments should pay attention in the public interest. For those responsible for making policy decisions there are real dilemmas. The policy process itself is inadequate to deal with the processing of scientific information about risk. A representative parliamentary system is notoriously ill-equipped to cope with a multiplicity of information sources. The question of which particular scientific voice should be regarded as legitimate is problematic. There is no single institutional centre to identify particular problems. It is this latter question that creates the most difficulty for policy-makers since they need to base their justification of policy on the most valid of grounds. In the past objective scientific fact has been so regarded. Today there are as many different scientific opinions as there are advisers. Problems are defined and redefined depending on the control of the agenda at any one point in time. Some suggestions are made about how these dilemmas might be addressed.
policy, public policy-making, information diffusion, problem identification, risk analysis

Computer Crime: New Problem for the Information Society
by Tom Forester and Perry Morrison
The new information and communication technologies bring many benefits to society, but they also create new social and ethical problems - such as software theft, invasions of privacy, hacking and the creation of viruses. Computer-assisted crime is one of the most serious and its apparent growth in recent years demonstrates clearly how new technologies create new opportunities for criminal activity. The available evidence on the nature and extent of computer crime is reviewed, together with the available data on participation. Techniques for improving computer security are then discussed and the appropriate lessons drawn.
Information society, information technology, computer crime, computer security

Value Added Services: Applications, Acceptability and Policies -- the Case of Teleconferencing
by Michael Quayle
Recent technological developments have fused computer and telecommunications technologies together creating the scope for a wider and more diversified array of communication services. The new services rising out of this integration are called value-added services (VAS) and are offered on value-added networks (VAN). One such new offering is teleconferencing which involves multipoint simultaneous or store and forward connect facilities using audio, video, computer or graphic support systems. This paper reports on some results collected from a recent study on the applications and acceptability of teleconferencing as a new value-added service. It compares views recently collected from the United States and explores the actors that will determine acceptability and take-up of the new service offering. Some attention is also paid to new regulator provisions and pricing practices for the VAS and contends that teleconferencing may well be a test case to determine the boundary between old and new technologies.
teleconferencing, technology, regulation, telecommunication policy, market boundaries, diffusion

W.M. Hughes, the Commonwealth Line, and the British Shipping Cartel, 1914-1927
by Kosmas Tsokhas
The origins of a number of important public enterprises can be traced to the First World War. This article deals with the Commonwealth Line and traces the factors which led to its creation by government and those that caused its privatization. The article traces the history of the Commonwealth Line from its formation as a desperate measure to overcome a wartime shipping shortage that was preventing the transportation of vital primary products, especially wheat. Emphasis is placed on bargaining between the Australian and British governments over the tonnage to be allocated to Australia. At the end of the war the Line's obsolescent ships and its need for greater public investment was not welcomed by the Common wealth government. The article concludes with a discussion of the decline of the Commonwealth Line after 1918 and emphasizes the role of the British shipping cartel and labor costs in it demise.
Labor markets, public enterprise, shipping, war, cartels

The Need for Management Information for Government Planning Strategies to Prepare for the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect
by B. Henderson-Seller and A. Henderson-Sellers
There is a growing realization that the greenhouse-included warming of the planet and the intensification of the hydrological cycle will have a significant impact on human society and its economic infrastructure. The significance of the effects for Australia, and for any other community in the world, will depend upon how government agencies and planners prepare for the consequences of these predicted changes. Governments need considerable help with any decision process associated with a long-term issue such as greenhouse. Availability of information (both accurate and complete) is of crucial importance if governments are to be expected to develop national (and polynational) strategic plans to ensure the continuation of, and development of , an acceptable lifestyle over the coming decades and centuries. In this paper, the authors present the scientific and planning background to the proposal for an integrated greenhouse data management system (IGDMS) and we briefly note some policy and planning options. The IGDMS proposed here is a first step in providing government departments with the decision support/management information systems required to face the global change challenges of the next century.
decision support systems, data management information systems, Greenhouse, climate policy

The Low Down on High Tech Down under, or the Plain Person's Guide to the Multi-function Polis
by Ian Inkster
This paper examined conditions of Australian acceptance for multifunction polis (MFP). A specific physical location has taken the place of the earlier network concept. Other characteristics are: the MFP will be an entrepot; it will export information, produce and institutional modes; and it must serve as an environmental tariff wall. For Japan the MFP can contribute to technological 'catch-up and serve the dual function of improving Japan's international and cultural image as well as focussing information transfer to Japan. For Australia the MFP can facilitate industrial restructuring by providing an innovating, institutional environment for manufacturing innovation and production, with a possible increase in foreign investment and venture capital. This restructuring link is problematic due to external uncertainties. Key issues are urban location, internationalisation, the centrality of high-tech, contracted employment, internal organization, the position in the technological system, and the decision making process.
Multifunction polis, MFP, entrepot, restructuring, innovation, foreign investment, location, high-tech, contracted employment

Current Trends in Research Policy
by David Phillips and Aat Vervoorn
The major research policy issues being addressed in Australian higher education arise from problems common to all developed countries and cannot be understood purely in terms of local circumstances. In the immediate future there is likely to be more rather than less emphasis on the competitive allocation of resources, selectivity and concentration in funding, and the setting of research priorities. These trends, together with growth in postgraduate research training, will encourage movement towards a method of funding higher education in which the research and research training functions of institutions are more explicitly identified and there is greater reliance on targeted research funding.
research policy, higher education, university research, Australian Research Council, targeted research funding, research training

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