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For decades Kuwait, with its rowdy elected parliament and noisy press, has enjoyed relative freedom. Faced in recent months by unprecedented mass demonstrations demanding broader democracy, the sleekly rich city-state’s riot police have gained a nasty reputation for brutality.

Thus spake The Economist a few weeks ago, just prior to a session organised by the UK Embassy in Kuwait to “focus on finding the right balance between ensuring freedom of expression and security in the context of the rising popularity of social media.” It was vigorously tweeted at #q8_expression, and a couple of accounts of the meeting have appeared online.
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For decades Kuwait, with its rowdy elected parliament and noisy press, has enjoyed relative freedom. Faced in recent months by unprecedented mass demonstrations demanding broader democracy, the sleekly rich city-state’s riot police have gained a nasty reputation for brutality.

Thus spake The Economist a few weeks ago, just prior to a session organised by the UK Embassy in Kuwait to “focus on finding the right balance between ensuring freedom of expression and security in the context of the rising popularity of social media.” It was vigorously tweeted at #q8_expression, and a couple of accounts of the meeting have appeared online.

What if scholars, publishers, and tenure-and-promotion committees embraced short-form e-books as a respectable way to deliver serious scholarship? A Kindle Singles model could help academics and publishers pick up the pace of production. It could be priced low enough to appeal to library budgets. It wouldn’t devour precious shelf space. It would suit libraries’ current desire to build up their e-book collections. And it might pull in new readers for serious scholarship. The approach would also free up scholars to write shorter, if that’s what their project called for. Not every idea needs 300-plus pages to fully explore. Daniel Cohen, an associate professor of history at George Mason University and an advocate of revamping the academic-publishing system, calls this “right-sizing scholarship.

What if scholars, publishers, and tenure-and-promotion committees embraced short-form e-books as a respectable way to deliver serious scholarship? A Kindle Singles model could help academics and publishers pick up the pace of production. It could be priced low enough to appeal to library budgets. It wouldn’t devour precious shelf space. It would suit libraries’ current desire to build up their e-book collections. And it might pull in new readers for serious scholarship. The approach would also free up scholars to write shorter, if that’s what their project called for. Not every idea needs 300-plus pages to fully explore. Daniel Cohen, an associate professor of history at George Mason University and an advocate of revamping the academic-publishing system, calls this “right-sizing scholarship.”

“In a recent study, a team of scientists in China examined the time of day when paper downloads occur from a scientific publisher’s website. Controlling for the time zone where the request originated, they were able to see how hard scientists work overall by examining the downloads for a period of a little over a …

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