Interviews with the COPIM team about their experiences of working remotely while building major pieces of infrastructure together over the last three years.
Martin Paul Eve, a member of Work Package 3, is interviewed about his experience working remotely while building major pieces of infrastructure at the COPIM project over the last three years.
The COPIM team talks with Martin Paul Eve, a member of Work Package 3, about his experience working remotely while building major pieces of infrastructure over the last three years.
Where are you based? How did you become involved with the COPIM Project?
I am based in Broadstairs, on the Kent coast, but I work at Birkbeck College, at the University of London, where I am the Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing. I became involved with the COPIM project because of my longstanding interest in open access. Indeed, all 9 of my own research books are openly accessible. I truly believe in the power of OA monographs. I want to make that a universal phenomenon, for the good of education worldwide.
What are the three most important things that have enabled you to work remotely on COPIM?
MS Teams, Zoom, and Jitsi? I’m kidding!
Obviously, digital technologies play a core role in making the remote work possible. But it’s a commitment to the modality from the people with whom you work that makes this possible. I must say that I do miss working with people in person, but as we continue to live in a pandemic world, having the possibility of remote participation is important (for reasons that will become clear in the next answer).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this way of working?
For me, there is one core advantage that trumps everything else. It is, quite frankly, still the most important thing in my life and dominates my entire existence.
I am one of the clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who cannot respond to Covid vaccines. I have a severely damaged immune system and would very likely be seriously unwell if I contracted the virus. Earlier in the pandemic, people with my condition had a 27% chance of dying if they became infected.
So, to be blunt: the advantage for me is that I have been able, safely, to participate in the project. Remote working has saved my life.
It is hard to frame a disadvantage against that. Of course, I miss seeing friends and colleagues in person. I used to be a very sociable person. Now that life is gone.
Has remote working resulted in anything unexpected, or that wouldn’t have happened without it?
I feel that I have grown to know my colleague (and, now, friend) Tom Grady very well indeed… But I have never met him in person. This is certainly strange.
Has it prevented you from doing anything important? How did you work around that?
It’s stopped us from having a beer at the pub quite so easily. We worked around it by raising a whisky remotely...