LIBR 200: Smart Publishing in Education: Rights, Impact, Social Justice

OA and ED

New Openness in Educational Research by John Willinsky (Preprint of a chapter on open access in educational research for Sage Companion to Educational Research, Ed. Connie Russell et al. (London: Sage) Great overview of why educational researchers should (and do) care about access to their research.

Open Access, Education Research, and Discovery. Current, great overview by Michael Furlough in the Teachers College Record, 112(10), 6-7.  (I can't find open access to this, but it is available via our subscription to TCR.)

Scholarly Communications in the Education Disciplinea report commissioned by JSTOR identifies some emerging trends that may encourage open access in education. These includes a growth in federally (or externally) funded research with an expectation that the results will be made widely available; and an interest in decreasing the Research/Practitioner divide with more research available (in a usable format) to practitioners and policy makers.

Coonin, Bryna and Younce, Leigh M.(2010) 'Publishing in Open Access Education Journals: The Authors' Perspectives', Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 29: 2, 118 — 132 (Not freely available!)

 Willinsky, J. (2002).  Education and democracy: The missing link may be ours. Harvard Educational Review. 72(3), 367-392. (Link is to earlier unedited draft, as HER does not grant permission to post the published paper).

Stanford University School of Education passed an Open Access Motion in 2008, and in SUSE Open Archive makes publicly available the working papers, published articles, and other materials produced by the faculty, staff, and students at Stanford University School of Education.

OA and Social Justice

In a very interesting article¹ from 2008, Allan Scherlen and Matthew Robinson analyze open access through the theoretical lens of Rawls and Miller, and find that:

"The open access movement—online open access journals and author self-archiving—is more consistent with the conceptions of social justice by Rawls and Miller. Because open access does not interfere with any person's indefensible claims to equal basic liberties (the “equal liberties principle”), it is consistent with social justice. Further, open access does not violate the “equal opportunity principle” and in fact assures for greater equality of access to information. We also believe that open access is to the greatest benefit of the least-advantaged and thus is consistent with the “difference principle.” That is, open access publishing aims to benefit all equally, which over time, will assist the least advantaged in catching up to the most well-off in society (who have long benefitted from greater access to knowledge in all areas of life)."

¹ Scherlen, Allan and Robinson, Matthew (2008) 'Open Access to Criminal Justice Scholarship: A Matter of Social Justice', Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 19:1, 54 - 74


Open Access

"Open access holds the promise of moving knowledge from the closed cloisters of privileged, well-endowed university campuses to ... dedicated professionals and interested amateurs, to concerned journalists and policymakers."¹

Social Good:

Berkeley scholars want their publications to be read -- by other researchers in their field,  by academics, independent scholars, and policy makers. They freely contribute their time as authors, editors and peer reviewers; the university in turn buys back the content that they have given away.

There is a growing gap between what scholarly journals cost, and what libraries (including major research universities) can pay. As libraries are forced to cancel journals, researchers worldwide lose access to the articles with research that they need... and that the researcher/authors provided for free.

Open Access is a much needed alternative to the for-profit publishing model.

Good for you:

Open Access doesn't just help those without access, many studies have shown that it also increases citation to your article. More people read it, and more of them cite it.

¹Willinsky, J. (2006). The access principle : The case for open access to research and scholarship. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.


Authors often want to submit their articles to the most prestigous and/or highest impact factor journals. Journal Impact Factor from ISI is a measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a given period of time. ISI's Journal Citation Reports can create a list of the most highly cited journals from a highly selective group of journal titles.

This method is not without controversy as some research has found that there is no statistical correlation between the impact factor of a journal and the actual citation rate of its articles, and that journals that publish many reviews tend to have  higher impact factors (since reviews are frequently cited).

EigenFactor and its Article Influence score, is another way to measure impact. It also includes cost factors, and takes into account the different citation patterns in the social sciences vs. the sciences.

PLOS (Public Library of Science) is developing article level metrics, so that each article will be assessed on its own merits, not just on that of the journal as a whole. And research shows that open access to an article increases its citation.

OA Definition

Short definition: Free availability and unrestricted use

More complete definition from the Budapest Open Access Intiative: By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

Last Update: October 15, 2010 09:43