Universities and knowledge sharing: Evaluating progress to openness at the institutional level

Authors : Lucy Montgomery, Cameron Neylon, Richard Hosking, Karl Huang, Alkim Ozaygen, Katie Wilson

Universities are key sites of knowledge creation. Governments and research funders are increasingly interested in ensuring that their investments in the production of new knowledge deliver a quantifiable return on investment, including in the form of ‘impact’.

Ensuring that research outputs are not locked behind paywalls, and that research data can be interrogated and built upon are increasingly central to efforts to improve the effectiveness of global research landscapes.

We argue that mandating and promoting open access (OA) for published research outputs, as well as the sharing of research data are important elements of building a vibrant open knowledge system, but they are not enough.

Supporting diversity within knowledge-making institutions; enabling collaboration across boundaries between universities and wider communities; and addressing inequalities in access to knowledge resources and in opportunities to contribute to knowledge making processes are also important.

New tools are needed to help universities, funders, and communities to understand the extent to which a university is operating as an effective open knowledge institution; as well as the steps that might be taken to improve open knowledge performance.

This paper discusses our team’s efforts to develop a model of Open Knowledge that is not confined to measures of OA and open data. The Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative is a project of the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University.

With funding from the university, we are exploring the extent to which universities are functioning as effective open knowledge institutions; as well as the types of information that universities, funders, and communities might need to understand an institution’s open knowledge performance and how it might be improved.

The challenges of data collection on open knowledge practices at scale, and across national, cultural and linguistic boundaries are also discussed.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02141887

Narrowing the Gap Between Publication and Access: Is a Mandate Enough to Get Us Closer?

Authors : Maria Manuel Borges, António Tavares Lopes

Changes brought about by the Internet to Scholarly Communication and the spread of Open Access movement, have made it possible to increase the number of potential readers of published research dramatically.

This two-phase study aims, at first, to assert the satisfaction of the potential for increased open access to articles published by authors at the University of Coimbra, in a context when there was no stimulus for the openness of published science other than an institutional mandate set by the University policy on Open Access (“Acesso Livre”).

The satisfaction of the access openness was measured by observing the actual archiving behavior of researchers (either directly or through their agents). We started by selecting the top journal titles used to publish the STEM research of the University of Coimbra (2004-2013) by using Thomson Reuters’ Science Citation Index (SCI). These titles were available at the University libraries or through online subscriptions, some of them in open access (21%).

By checking the journals’ policy at the time regarding self-archiving at the SHERPA/RoMEO service, we found that the percentage of articles in Open Access (OA) could rise to 80% if deposited at Estudo Geral, the Institutional Repository of the University of Coimbra, as prescribed by the Open Access Policy of the University.

As we concluded by verifying the deposit status of every single paper of researchers of the University that published in those journals, this potential was far from being fulfilled, despite the existence of the institutional mandate and favorable editorial conditions.

We concluded, therefore, that an institutional mandate was not sufficient by itself to fully implement an open access policy and to close the gap between publication and access.

The second phase of the study, to follow, will rescan the status of published papers in a context where the Portuguese public funding agency, the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, introduced in 2014 a new significant stimulus for open access in science.

The FCT Open Access Policy stipulates that publicly funded published research must be available as soon as possible in a repository of the Portuguese network of scientific repositories, RCAAP, which integrates the Estudo Geral.

URL : Narrowing the Gap Between Publication and Access: Is a Mandate Enough to Get Us Closer?

DOI : 10.20944/preprints201906.0154.v1

Open enough? Eight factors to consider when transitioning from closed to open resources and courses: A conceptual framework

Authors : Michael B. McNally, Erik G. Christiansen

Transitioning from closed courses and educational resources to open educational resources (OER) and open courseware (OCW) requires considerations of many factors beyond simply the use of an open licence.

This paper examines the pedagogical choices and trade-offs involved in creating OER and OCW. Eight factors are identified that influence openness (open licensing, accessibility and usability standards, language, cultural considerations, support costs, digital distribution, and file formats).

These factors are examined under closed, mixed and most open scenarios to relatively compare the amount of effort, willingness, skill and knowledge required.

The paper concludes by suggesting that maximizing openness is not practical and argues that open educators should strive for ‘open enough’ rather than maximal openness.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v24i6.9180

Access to academic libraries: an indicator of openness?

Authors  : Chun-Kai (Karl) Huang, Lucy Montgomery, Cameron Neylon, Katie Wilson


Open access to digital research output is increasing, but academic library policies can place restrictions on public access to libraries. This paper reports on a preliminary study to investigate the correlation between academic library access policies and institutional positions of openness to knowledge.


This primarily qualitative study used document and data analysis to examine the content of library access/use policies of 12 academic institutions in eight countries. The outcomes were statistically correlated with institutional open access publication policies and practices.


We used an automated search tool together with manual searching to retrieve web-based library access policies, then categorised and counted the levels and conditions of public access. We compared scores for institutional library access features, open access features and percentages of open access publications.


Academic library policies may suggest open public access but multi-layered user categories, privileges and fees charged can inhibit access, with disparities in openness emerging between library policies and institutional open access policies.

Conclusion. As open access publishing options and mandates expand, physical entry and access to print and electronic resources in academic libraries is contracting. This conflicts with global library and information commitments to open access to knowledge.

DOI : https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:21881/

Dimensions of open research: critical reflections on openness in the ROER4D project

Authors : Thomas William King, Cheryl-Ann Hodgkinson-Williams, Michelle Willmers, Sukaina Walji

Open Research has the potential to advance the scientific process by improving the transparency, rigour, scope and reach of research, but choosing to experiment with Open Research carries with it a set of ideological, legal, technical and operational considerations.

Researchers, especially those in resource-constrained situations, may not be aware of the complex interrelations between these different domains of open practice, the additional resources required, or how Open Research can support traditional research practices.

Using the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project as an example, this paper attempts to demonstrate the interrelation between ideological, legal, technical and operational openness; the resources that conducting Open Research requires; and the benefits of an iterative, strategic approach to one’s own Open Research practice.

In this paper we discuss the value of a critical approach towards Open Research to ensure better coherence between ‘open’ ideology (embodied in strategic intention) and ‘open’ practice (the everyday operationalisation of open principles).

URL : Dimensions of open research: critical reflections on openness in the ROER4D project

Alternative location : https://www.openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/285

Open Science by Design

Contributors : National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Policy and Global Affairs; Board on Research Data and Information; Committee on Toward an Open Science Enterprise

Openness and sharing of information are fundamental to the progress of science and to the effective functioning of the research enterprise. The advent of scientific journals in the 17th century helped power the Scientific Revolution by allowing researchers to communicate across time and space, using the technologies of that era to generate reliable knowledge more quickly and efficiently.

Harnessing today’s stunning, ongoing advances in information technologies, the global research enterprise and its stakeholders are moving toward a new open science ecosystem.

Open science aims to ensure the free availability and usability of scholarly publications, the data that result from scholarly research, and the methodologies, including code or algorithms, that were used to generate those data.

Open Science by Design is aimed at overcoming barriers and moving toward open science as the default approach across the research enterprise.

This report explores specific examples of open science and discusses a range of challenges, focusing on stakeholder perspectives. It is meant to provide guidance to the research enterprise and its stakeholders as they build strategies for achieving open science and take the next steps.

URL : https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25116/open-science-by-design-realizing-a-vision-for-21st-century

On the role of openness in education: A historical reconstruction

Authors : Sandra Peter, Markus Deimann

In the context of education, “open(ness)” has become the watermark for a fast growing number of learning materials and associated platforms and practices from a variety of institutions and individuals. Open Educational Resources (OER), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), and more recently, initiatives such as Coursera are just some of the forms this movement has embraced under the “open” banner.

Yet, ongoing calls to discuss and elucidate the “meaning” and particularities of openness in education point to a lack of clarity around the concept. “Open” in education is currently mostly debated in the context of the technological developments that allowed it to emerge in its current forms.

More in-depth explorations of the philosophical underpinnings are moved to the backstage. Therefore, this paper proposes a historical approach to bring clarity to the concept and unmask the tensions that have played out in the past.

It will then show how this knowledge can inform current debates around different open initiatives.

URL : https://journals.openedition.org/dms/2491