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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:55 02/12/2008
Journal Abstracts #297: February 12, 2008


Journal Name: Prometheus: Volume 25, Number 4, December 2007

Online ISSN: 0810-9028, Print ISSN: 1470-1030


Technological Change and the Form of Science Research Teams: Dealing with the Digitals (pp345 - 361)
Eric T. Meyer
During the late 1990s, photography moved from being a primarily analogue medium to being an almost entirely digital medium. The development of digital cameras and software for working with photographs has led to the wholesale computerization of photography in many different domains. This paper reports on the findings of a study of the social and organizational changes experienced by marine mammal scientists who have changed from film-based photography to digital photography. This technical change might be viewed as a simple substitution of a digital for an analogue camera, with little significance for how scientists do what they do. However, a perspective anchored in social informatics leads to the expectation that such incremental technical changes can have significant outcomes, changing not only how scientists work, but also the outcomes of their research. This present study finds that key consequences of this change have been the composition of the personnel working on the scientific research teams for marine biology projects and the ways in which these scientists allocate their time.

Keywords: digital photography; marine biology; social informatics; technological change

Technology Transfer and IPR Policy for Small and Medium Firms in South-East Asia (pp363 - 372)
Stuart Macdonald; Tim Turpin
In theory, small and medium firms have much to gain from the intellectual property rights system: in practice, SMEs have trouble using the IPR system. Yet the developing world is encouraged by the developed to look to IPR to make its SMEs more innovative and hence competitive. If SMEs are to make effective use of IPR, it must be within their existing business strategy. For them, copying may be a more appropriate and successful form of technology transfer than licensing IPR from developed countries.

Keywords: ASEAN technology transfer; IPR policy; SMEs; innovation

The Use of Touch-Screen Technology for Health-Related Information in Indigenous Communities: Some Economic Issues (pp373 - 392)
D. P. Doessel; Helen Travers; Ernest Hunter
The low health status of indigenous communities in Australia, and other countries, has been a continuing societal problem. One way to improve health status involves the provision of health-related information. Computer-based systems offer new ways to provide such information: thus their application can be seen as process innovations. This paper describes the use of touch-screen technology to present health information in a culturally relevant fashion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Queensland, Australia. Touch-screen kiosks incorporate both computer hardware and software. The paper also outlines some of the key economic concepts relevant to an economic analysis of an information system employing touch-screen technology. It is shown that the economic analysis involves a two-stage process, and it is somewhat more complex than setting up an Internet website.

Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders; digital divide; health information; process innovation; telemedicine; touch-screen technology

Community Mental Health Services as a Process Innovation: Appropriate Economic Evaluation (pp393 - 414)
Ruth F. G. Williams
This article considers the relevant framework for evaluating a major process innovation in mental health services, viz. community-based service provision. Such services involve multiple inputs from various channels (or departments) in government and 'the community'. Conventional economic theory of production is extended here to incorporate the notion that economic transactions are embedded in social relations, i.e. social capital is relevant to community-based service provision. Another fertile concept is that of 'co-production', due to Elinor Ostrom, a political scientist. Ostrom's conception of co-production between government and community inputs is outlined in the context of mental health services. A relevant question for evaluating this process innovation emerges from the co-production framework: is social capital from government a substitute for, or complementary to, social capital from community sources?

Keywords: community-based services; co-production; economic evaluation; mental health services; process innovation; synergy

'Broncoing': A Uniquely Australian Cattle-Handling Technology (pp415 - 431)
Darrell Lewis
The early Anglo-Celtic settlers in Australia arrived with a 'cattle-culture' developed in Britain over many centuries, but their cattle-handling technology proved inadequate for the unique conditions of Australia and new methods were soon devised. For most of the nineteenth century these new techniques required the use of a yard, but eventually the 'bronco' method was developed which did not require a yard and which involved a specially constructed 'bronco panel' and the use of a lasso thrown by a mounted horseman. This new method became the dominant cattle-handling technique in the outback for nearly a century and is still practised on a small number of cattle stations.

Keywords: Australian cattle stations; 'broncoing'; 'bronco panel'; cattle-handling technology; lasso

Original Articles

Review Article: The Rise of Studying Happiness, but what of the Shadow of Unhappiness from Mental Illness? (pp435 - 454)
D. P. Doessel
This essay is concerned with describing some issues associated with a relatively recent development in economics, viz. the economics of happiness literature. After providing a very brief account of the history of the concept of happiness, and the recent literature in economics, the focus turns to two issues that have been relatively neglected. First, there has been little attention in this recent literature to the concept of virtue or a flourishing life, or a moral disposition to happiness. Second, it is argued that the focus on aggregate happiness for a society in general may be misplaced: focus on subgroups, such as the mentally ill, may be more appropriate.

Keywords: economics; happiness; mental illness; unhappiness

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Posted with permission from the publisher.

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