Five questions for James Lomas
While we are busy resetting research publishing with Hypergraph and drafting our first community projects to give our community members an open platform to share their experiences with academic work culture, we also want to introduce the team to the community.
To cut a long story short: Please say hi to James Lomas, our product manager! In this blog post James will answer five questions about himself, valuable lessons learned while working in the open, and the way he views the world of the future. 🎧
Please introduce yourself: Who are you and what is your role at Liberate Science?
My name is James. I love music and have strong opinions about things. I'm always curious for new perspectives and insights. Big ideas excite me and I'm fascinated by the system of human civilisation. I am the product manager for Hypergraph and support the development team by helping out with the work process, discussing and reviewing work, and performing user tests.
Why do you choose to work at Liberate Science and what do you hope to achieve with the team?
While I was doing my thesis on the usability of scientific papers, my supervisor helpfully provided me with materials detailing the rather messed up state of the publication process and industry. This felt like a problem to solve with a completely new publishing platform. Not long after, I met Chris. His ideas differed from mine, but were frankly better. I immediately knew I wanted in and was very excited when Chris told me he had received funding.
First and foremost, this is about scientific reform to me. My ultimate goal is to have Hypergraph become the way of organising and publishing scientific information. But already influencing the conversation and making people aware of the idea of publishing as-you-go would be great.
What are the most important things you learned while working at Liberate Science?
It took me a while to adapt to this way of working - self-organising, autonomous, flat, or however you want to call it. As a product manager, I felt the need to have some sort of control or authority over the development team, coming from a feeling of responsibility over the end product. How can I ensure that we deliver a great product if I can't tell anyone what to do? 😅
I have found the team very supportive in this process and thinking back, I think I could have been more trusting of the team and relied on them more also to help me figure out my role. The most important realisation is that I don't need to call the shots for my opinions and ideas to be heard and valued.
Can you describe your life in 5 pictures?
Do you think the world will be a better or a worse place 100 years from now? Do you see our present world as a better place than the world of a century ago? How so?*
I'm very hopeful. I think the world has become a much better place over the last 100 years. Safer, fairer, more comfortable, more free. I'd like to mention the work of Hans Rosling and Rutger Bregman as an alternative to the view that everything is terrible and getting worse. That's not to say we don't still have a long way to go. The last years have been very confrontational. We are realising the consequences of limitless greed, oppression and disrespect for nature and other humans. Although we can't reverse climate change, I feel there's a lot of positive energy being directed towards making things better for the world. I think our lives might be less comfortable in 100 years, but more real and more fulfilling, by being better connected to each other and the planet that sustains us.
*Credit for this question goes to The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock.