Open Educational Resources and Rhetorical Paradox in the Neoliberal Univers(ity)

Author : Nora Almeida

As a phenomenon and a quandary, openness has provoked conversations about inequities within higher education systems, particularly in regards to information access, social inclusion, and pedagogical practice.

But whether or not open education can address these inequities, and to what effect, depends on what we mean by “open” and specifically, whether openness reflexively acknowledges the fraught political, economic, and ethical dimensions of higher education and of knowledge production processes.

This essay explores the ideological and rhetorical underpinnings of the open educational resource (OER) movement in the context of the neoliberal university.

This essay also addresses the conflation of value and values in higher education—particularly how OER production processes and scholarship labor are valued. Lastly, this essay explores whether OER initiatives provide an opportunity to reimagine pedagogical practices, to reconsider authority paradigms, and potentially, to dismantle and redress exclusionary educational practices in and outside of the classroom.

Through a critique of neoliberalism as critically limiting, an exploration of autonomy, and a refutation of the precept that OER can magically solve social inequalities in higher education, the author ultimately advocates for a reconsideration of OER in context and argues that educators should prioritize conversations about what openness means within their local educational communities.

URL : Open Educational Resources and Rhetorical Paradox in the Neoliberal Univers(ity)

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Openness in Scholarship: A Return to Core Values?

Author : Cameron Neylon

The debate over the meaning, and value, of open movements has intensified. The fear of co-option of various efforts from Open Access to Open Data is driving a reassessment and re-definition of what is intended by “open”.

In this article I apply group level models from cultural studies and economics to argue that the tension between exclusionary group formation and identity and aspirations towards inclusion and openness are a natural part of knowledge-making.

Situating the traditional Western Scientific Knowledge System as a culture-made group, I argue that the institutional forms that support the group act as economic underwriters for the process by which groups creating exclusive knowledge invest in the process of making it more accessible, less exclusive, and more public-good-like, in exchange for receiving excludable goods that sustain the group.

A necessary consequence of this is that our institutions will be conservative in their assessment of what knowledge-goods are worth of consideration and who is allowed within those institutional systems. Nonetheless the inclusion of new perspectives and increasing diversity underpins the production of general knowledge.

I suggest that instead of positioning openness as new, and in opposition to traditional closed systems, it may be more productive to adopt a narrative in which efforts to increase inclusion are seen as a very old, core value of the academy, albeit one that is a constant work in progress.

URL : Openness in Scholarship: A Return to Core Values?

Metrics for openness

Authors : David M. Nichols, Michael B. Twidale

The characterization of scholarly communication is dominated by citation-based measures. In this paper we propose several metrics to describe different facets of open access and open research.

We discuss measures to represent the public availability of articles along with their archival location, licenses, access costs, and supporting information. Calculations illustrating these new metrics are presented using the authors’ publications.

We argue that explicit measurement of openness is necessary for a holistic description of research outputs.


Openness as social praxis

Authors : Matthew Longshore Smith, Ruhiya Seward

Since the early 2000s, there has been an explosion in the usage of the term open, arguably stemming from the advent of networked technologies — including the Internet and mobile technologies.

‘Openness’ seems to be everywhere, and takes many forms: from open knowledge, open education, open data and open science, to open Internet, open medical records systems and open innovation. These applications of openness are having a profound, and sometimes transformative, effect on social, political and economic life.

This explosion of the use of the term has led to multiple interpretations, ambiguities, and even misunderstandings, not to mention countless debates and disagreements over precise definitions.

The paper “Fifty shades of open” by Pomerantz and Peek (2016) highlighted the increasing ambiguity and even confusion surrounding this term. This article builds on Pomerantz and Peek’s attempt to disambiguate the term by offering an alternative understanding to openness — that of social praxis.

More specifically, our framing can be broken down into three social processes: open production, open distribution, and open consumption. Each process shares two traits that make them open: you don’t have to pay (free price), and anyone can participate (non-discrimination) in these processes.

We argue that conceptualizing openness as social praxis offers several benefits. First, it provides a way out of a variety of problems that result from ambiguities and misunderstandings that emerge from the current multitude of uses of openness.

Second, it provides a contextually sensitive understanding of openness that allows space for the many different ways openness is experienced — often very different from the way that more formal definitions conceptualize it.

Third, it points us towards an approach to developing practice-specific theory that we believe helps us build generalizable knowledge on what works (or not), for whom, and in what contexts.


The openness buzz in the knowledge economy: Towards taxonomy

Authors : Anna Lundgren, Hans Westlund

In the networked information and knowledge-based economy and society, the notions of ‘open’ and ‘openness’ are used in a variety of contexts; open source, open access, open economy, open government, open innovation – just to name a few.

This paper aims at discussing openness and developing a taxonomy that may be used to analyse the concept of openness. Are there different qualities of openness? How are these qualities interrelated?

What analytical tools may be used to understand openness? In this paper four qualities of openness recurrent in literature and debate are explored: accessibility, transparency, participation and sharing. To further analyse openness new institutional theory as interpreted by Williamson (2000) is used, encompassing four different institutional levels; cultural embeddedness, institutional environment, governance structure and resource allocations.

At what institutional levels is openness supported and/or constrained? Accessibility as a quality of openness seems to have a particularly strong relation to the other qualities of openness, whereas the notions of sharing and collaborative economics seem to be the most complex and contested quality of openness in the knowledge-based economy.

This research contributes to academia, policy and governance, as handling of challenges with regard to openness vs. closure in different contexts, territorial, institutional and/or organizational, demand not only a better understanding of the concept, but also tools for analysis.


Opening the Publication Process with Executable Research Compendia

Authors : Daniel Nüst, Markus Konkol, Marc Schutzeichel, Edzer Pebesma, Christian Kray, Holger Przibytzin, Jörg Lorenz

A strong movement towards openness has seized science. Open data and methods, open source software, Open Access, open reviews, and open research platforms provide the legal and technical solutions to new forms of research and publishing.

However, publishing reproducible research is still not common practice. Reasons include a lack of incentives and a missing standardized infrastructure for providing research material such as data sets and source code together with a scientific paper. Therefore we first study fundamentals and existing approaches.

On that basis, our key contributions are the identification of core requirements of authors, readers, publishers, curators, as well as preservationists and the subsequent description of an executable research compendium (ERC). It is the main component of a publication process providing a new way to publish and access computational research.

ERCs provide a new standardisable packaging mechanism which combines data, software, text, and a user interface description. We discuss the potential of ERCs and their challenges in the context of user requirements and the established publication processes.

We conclude that ERCs provide a novel potential to find, explore, reuse, and archive computer-based research.


Effect of Government Data Openness on a Knowledge-Based Economy

Authors : Jae-Nam Lee, Juyeon Ham, Byounggu Choi

Many  governments  have  recently  begun  to  adopt  the  concept  of  open  innovation.  However,  studies  on  the  openness  of  government data and its effect on the global competitiveness have not received much attention.

Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effects of government data openness on a knowledge-based economy at the government level. The proposed model was analyzed using secondary data collected from three different reports.

The findings indicate that government data openness positively affects the formation of knowledge bases in a country and that the level of knowledge base of a country positively affects the global competitiveness of a country.

URL : Effect of Government Data Openness on a Knowledge-Based Economy