Quantifying access to knowledge


Herewith Access to Knowledge: Defining and Measuring Economic, Legal, and Human Capital , my contribution to a July 13, 2008, program called International Law and the Evolving Knowledge Society at the 2008 meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries.

My presentation responded to (and should be read in conjunction with) Lea Bishop Shaver, Defining and Measuring A2K: A Blueprint for an Index of Access to Knowledge, 4:2 I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society (forthcoming 2008):

Comparative indices are widely used in international development circles to benchmark and monitor public policy objectives. To date, however, no one has examined how an index of Access to Knowledge might be constructed. This article examines the methodological issues involved in such a project and provides a blueprint for the development of a robust and reliable A2K Index. For those new to the Access to Knowledge framework, this article also serves as a concrete and concise orientation to the ideological perspective rapidly reshaping the fields of international development, communications, technology, education, and intellectual property policy.

I intend to address this issue in future posts. In the meanwhile, I note that many of the observations in my A2K presentation were derived from my work on inflation indexes and the methodological problems that confound the measurement of price change — The Price of Macroeconomic Imprecision: How Should the Law Measure Inflation?, 54 Hastings L.J. 1375 (2003) — and my work on the use of right-skewed statistical distributions in bibliometrics — Modeling Law Review Impact Factors as an Exponential Distribution, http://ssrn.com/abstract=905316.

I thank Lea Shaver and the program's organizer, Marylin Raisch, for a most entertaining and engaging program at the AALL conference.