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Website linking: The growing problem of “link rot” and best practices for media and online publishers

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Note to FullTextReports followers: This is an excellent article from Journalist’s Resource, a project of Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative. Food for thought and good advice for anyone who publishes anything online. Please share it widely. I’ll leave it here, at the top of FTR for a week or so and then move it off into the archive.

Website linking: The growing problem of “link rot” and best practices for media and online publishers
Source: Harvard Kennedy School of Government

The Internet is an endlessly rich world of sites, pages and posts — until it all ends with a click and a “404 not found” error message. While the hyperlink was conceived in the 1960s, it came into its own with the HTML protocol in 1991, and there’s no doubt that the first broken link soon followed.

On its surface, the problem is simple: A once-working URL is now a goner. The root cause can be any of a half-dozen things, however, and sometimes more: Content could have been renamed, moved or deleted, or an entire site could have evaporated. Across the Web, the content, design and infrastructure of millions of sites are constantly evolving, and while that’s generally good for users and the Web ecosystem as a whole, it’s bad for existing links.

In its own way, the Web is also a very literal-minded creature, and all it takes is a single-character change in a URL to break a link. For example, many sites have stopped using “www,” and even if their content remains the same, the original links may no longer work. The rise of CMS platforms such as WordPress have led to the fall of static HTML sites with their .htm and .html extensions, and with each relaunch, untold thousands of links die. And even if a core URL remains the same, many sites frequently append login information or search terms to URLs, and those are ephemeral. As the Web has grown, the problem has been complicated by search engines, which crawl the Web and archive — briefly — URLs and pages.

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Chief Sustainability Officers: Who Are They and What Do They Do?

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Chief Sustainability Officers: Who Are They and What Do They Do? (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

While a number of studies document that organizations go through numerous stages as they increase their commitment to sustainability over time, we know little about the role of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) in this process. Using survey and interview data we analyze how a CSO’s authority and responsibilities differ across organizations that are in different stages of sustainability commitment. We document increasing organizational authority of the CSO as organizations increase their commitment to sustainability moving from the Compliance to the Efficiency and then to the Innovation stage. However, we also document a decentralization of decision rights from the CSO to different functions, largely driven by sustainability strategies becoming more idiosyncratic at the Innovation stage. The study concludes with a discussion of practices that CSOs argue to accelerate the commitment of organizations to sustainability.

Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence
Source: Harvard Business School

Although individuals can derive substantial benefits from exchanging information and ideas, many individuals are reluctant to seek advice from others. We find that people are reticent to seek advice for fear of appearing incompetent. This fear, however, is misplaced. We demonstrate that individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not seek advice. This effect is moderated by task difficulty, advisor egocentrism, and advisor expertise. Individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent when the task is difficult than when it is easy, when people seek advice from them personally than when they seek advice from others, and when people seek advice from experts than from non-experts or not at all.

Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Bridging psychological research exploring emotional complexity and research in the natural sciences on the measurement of biodiversity, we introduce-and demonstrate the benefits of-emodiversity: the variety and relative abundance of the emotions that humans experience. Two cross-sectional studies across more than 37,000 respondents demonstrate that emodiversity is an independent predictor of mental and physical health-such as decreased depression and doctor’s visits-over and above mean levels of positive and negative emotion. These results remained robust after controlling for gender, age, and the five main dimensions of personality. Emodiversity is a practically important and previously unidentified metric for assessing the health of the human emotional ecosystem.

Dragging Patent Trolls Into the Light

August 21, 2014 Comments off

Dragging Patent Trolls Into the Light
Source: Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

Proponents say that non-practicing entities play a valuable role by sticking up for small inventors, going up against big companies that steal the ideas of entrepreneurs who are unable to fight their own legal battles. (NPEs acquire patents either by purchasing them from companies, inventors, and academic institutions, or by being assigned them in the first place for original work.) If it weren’t for NPEs, the argument goes, resource-rich companies would be free to steal ideas of small inventors without fearing retaliatory lawsuits—and this would poison the business environment.

But critics have another name for many NPEs: patent trolls. In this view, a significant number of non-practicing entities acquire patents for the sole purpose of coercing companies, mostly technology firms, into paying licensing or settlement fees (whether justified or not).

New research coauthored by Lauren H. Cohen, professor of finance at Harvard Business School; Umit G. Gurun, of University of Texas at Dallas; and Scott Duke Kominers, of the Harvard Society of Fellows, attempts to answer that question by studying which firms NPEs target in litigation, when the litigation occurs, and the impact of the legal challenges on the targeted firms’ abilities to innovate and grow. Their paper, released in July, is entitled “Patent Trolls: Evidence from Targeted Firms.”

The research concludes that NPEs not only go after the most susceptible, cash-rich targets, but in the process damage those companies’ abilities to innovate in the future.

5 Imperatives: Addressing Healthcare’s Innovation Challenge

August 19, 2014 Comments off

5 Imperatives: Addressing Healthcare’s Innovation Challenge (PDF)
Source: Harvard Medical School

1. Making value the central objective
In isolation, efforts to either reduce costs or improve outcomes are insufficient; we need to do both through care coordination and shared information.

2. Promoting novel approaches to process improvement
Instead of largely focusing on product innovation, we also must create an environment that encourages process improvement and acknowledges that “failure” represents an important component of experimentation and learning.

3. Making consumerism really work
Today, consumerism remains a strong idea with weak means of execution. We will achieve greater success when providers organize efforts around patient needs and when patients become more active agents in managing their own health.

4.Decentralizing approaches to problem solving
We should facilitate the movement of care delivery and health care innovation from centralized centers of expertise out to the periphery, where more providers, innovators, and patients can engage in collaborative improvement efforts.

5. Integrating new approaches into established organizations
Our future must build on past successes. Existing health care institutions must be reinforced with efforts to integrate new knowledge into established organizations and the communities they serve.

Bridging Science and Technology through Academic-Industry Partnerships

August 7, 2014 Comments off

Bridging Science and Technology through Academic-Industry Partnerships
Source: Social Science Research Network

Scientific research and its translation into commercialized technology is a driver of wealth creation and economic growth. Partnerships to foster the translational processes from public research organizations, such as universities and hospitals, to private firms are a policy tool that has attracted increased interest. Yet questions about the efficacy and the efficiency with which funds are used are subject to frequent debate. This paper examines empirical data from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (DNATF), an agency that funds partnerships between universities and private companies to develop technologies important to Danish industry. We assess the effect of a unique mediated funding scheme that combines project grants with active facilitation and conflict management on firm performance, comparing the likelihood of bankruptcy and employee count as well as patent count, publication count and their citations and collaborative nature between funded and unfunded firms. Because randomization of the sample was not feasible, we address endogeneity around selection bias using a sample of qualitatively similar firms based on a funding decision score. This allows us to observe the local effect of samples in which we drop the best recipients and the worst non-recipients. Our results suggest that while receiving the grant does bring an injection of funding that alleviates financing constraints, its core effect on the firm’s innovative behavior is in fostering collaborations and translations between science and technology and encouraging riskier projects rather than purely increasing patenting.

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