Openness and Praxis: Exploring the Use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education

Author : Catherine Cronin

Open educational practices (OEP) is a broad descriptor of practices that include the creation, use, and reuse of open educational resources (OER) as well as open pedagogies and open sharing of teaching practices.

As compared with OER, there has been little empirical research on individual educators’ use of OEP for teaching in higher education. This research study addresses that gap, exploring the digital and pedagogical strategies of a diverse group of university educators, focusing on whether, why, and how they use OEP for teaching.

The study was conducted at one Irish university; semi-structured interviews were carried out with educators across multiple disciplines. Only a minority of educators used OEP. Using constructivist grounded theory, a model of the concept « Using OEP for teaching » was constructed showing four dimensions shared by open educators: balancing privacy and openness, developing digital literacies, valuing social learning, and challenging traditional teaching role expectations.

The use of OEP by educators is complex, personal, and contextual; it is also continually negotiated. These findings suggest that research-informed policies and collaborative and critical approaches to openness are required to support staff, students, and learning in an increasingly complex higher education environment.

URL : http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3096/4301

Afraid of Scooping – Case Study on Researcher Strategies against Fear of Scooping in the Context of Open Science

Author : Heidi Laine

The risk of scooping is often used as a counter argument for open science, especially open data. In this case study I have examined openness strategies, practices and attitudes in two open collaboration research projects created by Finnish researchers, in order to understand what made them resistant to the fear of scooping.

The radically open approach of the projects includes open by default funding proposals, co-authorship and community membership. Primary sources used are interviews of the projects’ founding members.

The analysis indicates that openness requires trust in close peers, but not necessarily in research community or society at large. Based on the case study evidence, focusing on intrinsic goals, like new knowledge and bringing about ethical reform, instead of external goals such as publications, supports openness.

Understanding fundaments of science, philosophy of science and research ethics, can also have a beneficial effect on willingness to share. Whether there are aspects in open sharing that makes it seem riskier from the point of view of certain demographical groups within research community, such as women, could be worth closer inspection.

URL : Afraid of Scooping – Case Study on Researcher Strategies against Fear of Scooping in the Context of Open Science

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-029

Towards Open Science: China’s Scientific Research and Libraries

Authors : Xiang Yang Huang, Yan Zhao, Dong Rong Zhang, Jing Yu Liu, Cen Zhang

The advance of networking and computing technologies offers unprecedented opportunities for the implementation of principles and practices of open science. By demonstrating attempts of openly working and researching in scientific research and libraries, this paper aims to introduce China’s efforts towards Open Science.

Firstly, this paper reviews Chinese Science & Technology policy and innovation policy towards Open Science by data statistics, indicating that China demands and promotes Open Science.

Based on the situation of Chinese Open Science initiatives, this paper also explores current services of Chinese government, organizations and libraries of moving forward to openness by sharing some cases.

Moreover, Chinese Academy of Sciences is presented in this paper as an example of one of Chinese academic library to introduce its “Open and Collaboration” service strategy planning and Open Knowledge service practice to the need of Open Science and Open Innovation.

URL : Towards Open Science: China’s Scientific Research and Libraries

Alternative location : http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1608

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)

Alternative location : http://libraryjuicepress.com/journals/index.php/jclis/article/view/16

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.

URL : http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10842

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.

URL : http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/7073