Intersections of Openness: Open Access, Science, & Education

This week, I want to talk about something
that’s a little removed from Open Education itself: the way Open Education builds upon
the work being done in other open movements. “Open Education” is a term that’s been
used for decades, often referring to teaching practices that encourage student participation and the use of innovative techniques in the classroom. However, Open Education as we see it today
didn’t become popularized until the early 2000’s with the growth of MOOCs and OpenCourseWare
online. Today, when we talk about Open Education,
we see openness as a series of freedoms and rights to accessing educational materials,
exemplified in David Wiley’s 5 R’s: the rights to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute a work. This idea, that openness is the freedom to
access and use information, is clearly a reflection on another, earlier open movement:
The Open Access Movement. Open Access calls for open and free access
to research outputs. It began around the early 90’s along with
the public availability of the Internet through the World Wide Web, though some scholars would
argue that they have been trying to freely share scholarship with the public (those who could read) since the invention of writing itself. Open Access is often described as having two
sides: it can be accomplished by publishing in an Open Access journal or with an open
monograph publisher, or by self-archiving works in an online Open Access repository. Speaking of publishing, one major shared belief among proponents of Open Access & Open Education Movements is the idea that commercial publishers and distributors
of content have too strong a hold over scholarly outputs today, whether they’re talking about
textbooks or scholarly articles. With profit margins rivaling Amazon, publishers
like Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley have pushed many scholars into action to share their work
freely online, whether the sharing was done legally… or
not. Most proponents of OA are pushing for legally
accessible versions of research outputs to become available, whether they’re
conference proceedings, posters, slides, or articles & monographs. But negotiating with publishers and trying
to build new infrastructure for sharing these works has been difficult, something else that Open Access has in common with the Open Education Movement. While I’ve emphasized the ideas that Open
Access and Open Education share, there is another movement that shares quite a bit with
both of these: Open Science. In fact, proponents of Open Science often
picture it as an umbrella, encapsulating Open Access, Open Education, Open Data, and various
activities used in scientific research. As Jon Tennant, a paleontologist and major
advocate for Open Science, has stated, “There isn’t really one consistent or widely accepted
definition of what ‘Open Science’ is. For some,” he says, “Open Science is about using science to help address the major challenges of society. For others, Open Science is about democratization
of research processes and outputs. What is clear [though] is that what we call open science
is really just good science, based on strong social and technical principles like rigor, accountability, transparency, and equality.” (end quote) Open Science is one of the newer and more radical of the “open” movements, but it
also makes a lot of sense. A big problem in modern scientific research
is the fear of doing “unpublishable” research, like replicating previous studies, or finding
null results. Open Science pushes for researchers to make
their work open and available for others to study and learn from, even if their results
aren’t sensational enough to get published in “Nature.” But how does that relate to Open Education? Well, it’s a lot closer than you’d think. A big part of the Open Education movement
is the remixing of resources, building upon what came before and using the 5 R’s to
make something new and innovative. All of this can be seen in the Open Science
community as well. Now, I don’t have time to get into all the
details of these movements- maybe in a later video if you’re interested- but I want to
make a point here. Each of these open movements has something
to offer scholars around the world today. Whether it’s access to information, resources, or data, these movements are making a big change, and ultimately,
they are working toward a common goal: sharing information widely and freely, for the benefit
of people everywhere. Although Open Access and Open Science are
still somewhat removed from Open Education, I hope that, as these movements
continue to gain traction internationally, we can begin to work together to further that common goal, and to improve the lives of scholars, students, and practitioners around the world. Thanks for watching my video. Please comment if you’d like to see more
videos about topics like these, and feel free to share this video and join in the conversation!

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