In Diamond Open Access Gets Real, Glyn Moody looks at how an overlay journal solves the cost issue that bedevils Gold open access, using the example of a new Diamond open access journal called Discrete Analysis: the online journal posts links to and descriptions of relevant arXiv.org preprints, after subjecting them to peer review.
Stevan Harnad has an overview of where we are on the road to universal Open Access. In a nutshell, more institutions need to adopt better OA mandates. The book is called Optimizing Open Access Policy.
Awhile back I wrote about a Max Planck institute study that showed that the money circulating in the pay-to-publish system would be enough to transition the whole kit and caboodle to OA. Jan Velterop asks: if that’s true, why hasn’t the transition happened? It’s a very good question, and the answer seems to be that while switching to OA would be cost-neutral on a global or national scale, it wouldn’t be at the institutional level – some institutions would have to pay a lot more, and few want to be the first to make the leap. Read the whole post for more detail.
Björn Brembs takes up this subject in Many Symptoms, One Disease, concluding that collective action is necessary to take a public good from private hands, but the tricky bit is how to organize it.
Meanwhile, a group of German academics called the Ad Hoc Working Group Open Access Gold have put together a position paper to outline what exactly would be required to make the transition from the subscription model to Open Access. Here is a summary, and the paper is here (pdf).
Richard Poynder has an interview with BioMed Central founder Vitek Tracz to talk about F1000.com, an open science publishing and peer-review platform with which Tracz hopes to address the problems with the current model of academic publishing.
The EC will hold a workshop in Brussels in October on new models of open access publishing. Details and registration here.
The Wellcome Trust funded an international study on behalf of the Public Health Research Data Forum to determine the key elements of good data-sharing practice. The four most important elements were:
- assessing the value and benefits of data sharing
- minimising risks of harm and safeguarding the privacy and confidentiality of research participants,
- promoting fairness and reciprocity,
- instilling trust and trustworthiness among participants, communities, researchers and the wider public.
The Trust’s blog post has more detail, but it’s still pretty superficial, with no information on how to put these abstract principles into practice. However, the Forum has also put together a website, published a paper, and put out a special issue of the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, and set up an online course, so there is more information to be found.
An editorial at Computerworld.com argues for Congressional action to enshrine the steps the Obama administration has taken toward open data in the United States. Most of the changes were the result of executive orders, which could be reversed when there’s a new chief executive in 2017, unless Congress passes legislation to make them stick.
GreenBiz.com has an article on the recent growth of the open data movement, with a summary of some of the open data initiatives implemented by cities worldwide. It’s a fascinating glimpse at the future, and raises some very good questions about which data cities choose to reveal, and what they conceal.
An infographic from the OECD (pdf) shows that putting computers in the classroom hasn’t improved student achievement, though it doesn’t have a lot to say about how those computers were used; there’s no reason to suppose that simply placing a computer in a classroom will improve outcomes. It’s safe to assume that traditional models of education will have to change to accommodate computers, but it may be too soon to say what form those changes will take. That might be a good subject for further study.
Inside Higher Ed has a story on another MOOC-based Freshman Year alternative. The Modern States Education Alliance, originally founded to accredit non-traditional education providers, has developed a program called Freshman Year for Free, which will create MOOCs designed to enable students to test out of freshman-level university courses. The MOOCs will be free, though there is still a fee to take a placement test.
We all know that learning by doing is more effective than passively absorbing information, but a new study seems to show just how much more effective it is. The article’s headline rather misleadingly claims that Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative courses are six times more effective than MOOCs , and show lower dropout rates as well, but in fact the comparison is between MOOCs alone and MOOCs combined with ODI. The story is here, and the study can be accessed here.
Russia has launched a new online educational platform called Open Education (in Russian), designed to offer MOOCs to college students. Eight Russian universities are collaborating on the project, and other institutions will be able to join after 2016. In an article at Russia-Direct.org, Artem Kureev wonders if this is not an attempt to protect Russian students from Western influence.
The Harvard Business Review has a comprehensive report on “Who’s Benefiting from MOOCs, and Why“. Their study shows that even though MOOC users are mostly already-educated and already-employed residents of developed countries, students of lower socioeconomic status and lower education levels are also reporting tangible career benefits. Maybe not a revolution, but a step forward all the same.
Tampere, Finland hosted a 3-day forum on the future of open source, open data, and open content from 22.-24 September. Today is the last day, but you can follow them at @MindTrek_. The program is here.
Registration is open now for the Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference in Hagen, 29-30 October. Here is the program.