BBC radio segment on undervaluation of women artists (roughly, selling at 10% of what male artists sell for) here
For those who recoil from audio, as I normally do, there's also a summary in the Guardian here
Collins published The Credential Society in 1979, when his publishers took so tepid an interest in the book they refused to publish a paperback edition. It's now a classic, took on new life with increased concern over escalating costs of university education and student debt in the US.
Turns out, he has a blog, The Sociological Eye - a blog I know I will never find again if I bookmark it. So I link to it here.
Short segment on Radio France on Proust's rejection by Gallimard, account of the many revisions Proust made to the MS once accepted for publication and typeset (he apparently made significant changes to FIVE galleys). The text originally submitted to Gallimard was a "dactylograph" which did not have the now famous first line (Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heur.) - instead there was a rather long and not very interesting sentence setting the scene. It sounds as though the famous line did appear, but was written in as an interlinear note on the dactylograph.
The whole thing here.
So I think for a long time there was this big pool of people that could potentially be contributing, but they were really put off by R-help (note: R-help is a notoriously hostile mailing list and was the only way to get help with R in the early days). And then the timing was lucky enough that there were two significant changes that allowed the community to reinvent itself to some degree.
The first of those was StackOverflow. It seems hard to imagine now, but at the time, StackOverflow was so incredibly welcoming and friendly. And I think part of that was that in contrast to R-help, anything would seem welcoming and friendly,