Urbanism and Web Science
This issue of UOC PAPERS, the first for this its fourth year, opens as every autumn with the University’s Inaugural Lecture. This year’s lecture is from Alfonso Vegara, architect, economist and sociologist, and President of the Fundación Metrópoli, with a presentation by the University’s President Imma Tubella and a counterpoint from Professor Francesc Muñoz, lecturer on the UOC’s City Management postgraduate programme and Director of the Urbanization Observatory, as well as Full Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The author reflects on the changes over recent years in relation to globalisation in the field of regional planning and intervention, and puts forward some ideas about how to build a new culture of space. The impact of phenomena such as climate change, migrations and multiculturalism represents a challenge requiring new ideas on the spatial dimension of new urbanity and its democratic government. From this proposal, the author goes on to examine the latest reflections in USA and Europe, concluding that to guarantee sustainability and innovation in cities, these cities need to act within the framework of wider ecosystems that allow for the full development of the potential of urban metastructures. In looking at the new challenges facing urban planners, Muñoz focuses his counterpoint on analysing in more detail the current conditions, pointing out some of the more specific limits to today’s urban planning and highlighting the risk of falling into urbanalisation with the reinforcing over recent years of the urban security protocols associated to global terrorism.
The dossier in this issue looks at Web Science. Web science proposes a new discipline to observe the web and everything connected to it. It is to analyse what goes on inside and outside the web, so as to be able to propose improvements and amendments, combining such diverse disciplines as computing, psychology, law or economics. This needs a new professional profile, the web scientist, and, alongside this, the associated new academic needs. The dossier has been coordinated by the UOC lecturer, Julià Minguillón, and includes three articles: the first is by Daniel Riera, Academic Director of the UOC's Bio-computing postgraduate programme, and focuses on the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), detailing its evolution over its two years in existence. The second, by Wendy Hall and Kieron O'Hara, from the University of Southampton, looks at the challenges for Web Science research at this time. Finally, the third is by the dossier's coordinator, Julià Minguillón, and looks at e-learning from the perspective of this new discipline.
The miscellany section contains three articles looking at a wide range of topics. Jordi Alberich, from the University of Granada, and Toni Roig, from the UOC, look at the use of open source in audiovisual creation and production. The article jointly authored by the UOC lecturers Eva Ortoll-Espinet, Alexandre López-Borrull, Josep Cobarsí-Morales, Montserrat Garcia-Alsina and Agustí Canals-Parera entitled “Social Capital As a Source of Competitive Intelligence at Universities”, which is to be published in the coming weeks, examines the role of university students’ relational networks in universities’ competitive development and strategy. The last of the three, by Eva Salas, looks at the subject of cyberfeminism in terms of four different approaches.
Likewise, as with every issue, you can find our Book Selection, a shortlist of recent publications on the knowledge society.
In conclusion, we are pleased to see that after six issues UOC Papers continues to attract a large and growing audience, with nearly 2,500 unique visitors and 3,500 monthly visits. Another more qualitative statistic is the fact that over the three years in existence 91,200 articles have been downloaded. All this allows us to believe that the journal covers an area of interest and that the subjects handled to date have, at the very least, intrigued our readers. Obviously, with this in mind, we cannot allow ourselves to lower our strict levels and must look to keep improving our contents, semester after semester.
Joan Fuster Sobrepere
Director, UOC Papers