Affordabee: Low-Cost Open Access Publishing – eLife Innovation Sprint 2020

“Adam is an MSc student at a local university in Kenya. He has to work part time to pay his school fees. Adam does the same through his research project to pay for bench fees at a local research institution. Through sweat and long nights, he manages to get a manuscript ready, as he has to publish to graduate. Adam recently attended a seminar where he was introduced to open science. He is excited about his first paper and wants to publish open access. His excitement is cut short when he realises he has to pay a US$3,000 article processing charge (APC) to get his manuscript published. What are his options? Are there publishers that can offer him a waiver or a subsidy? Or, are there some funding opportunities he can tap into for support?

We envision a platform that can help Adam identify journals that can offer him waivers or subsidies, and how to access them; a platform that will point him to funding opportunities to help cover the APC. We seek a platform that will reduce the APC cost barrier for students from resource-poor settings, like Adam. …”

The Wikipedia research conundrum: Is it citable?

“A total of 99 participants mentioned Wikipedia’s contribution model, and 70 thought this characteristic was undesirable. As mentioned above, one might think that those who mention the open model, and especially those who mention it as a bad thing, would be less likely to consider Wikipedia a helpful resource. As it turns out, this is not the case.

More than 50% of the students who mentioned Wikipedia’s contribution model still selected it as helpful. This number is not significantly different from the 54% among those who did not mention the fact that anyone is free to edit the resource. Even those who viewed the authorship model negatively do not appear to differ in any statistically significant way in their general likelihood to select Wikipedia as helpful. Quite simply, our results do not provide any evidence that paying attention to the open contribution model of Wikipedia impacts the way that people evaluate its helpfulness….”

Free Ebook Foundation Programs: Downloadable Project Gutenberg.

“Today, there are still parts of the world where access to the global internet is limited. Rural parts of world from Alaska to Africa have bandwidth to that is unevenly distributed. Other parts of the world may be disconnected because of censorship or social strife.

In response, the Internet-in-a-Box project has produced open-source designs for self-contained hotspots based on RaspberryPi computers. Content modules can be installed by plugging in USB drives with self-contained websites. The Kiwix Project, already behind the “Offline Wikipedia” distribution effort, has been developing content modules and the ZIM compressed file format that facilitates this process. Project Gutenberg is a 48 year old organization whose mission is to make public domain works available for free on the internet. To date, over 60,000 works, mostly books, have been posted.

USB flash drives that can store 128GB are now available for only $20 – that’s more than enough storage for all 60,000 books in Project Gutenberg. An offline version of Project Gutenberg had been developed by the Kiwix team, but still needed a last push to implement key usability features….”

Informed Open Pedagogy and Information Literacy Instruction in Student-Authored Open Projects – Open Pedagogy Approaches

“Open pedagogy has often been touted as empowering, liberating, and revolutionary. While many interpretations of the term open pedagogy exist, this chapter specifically focuses on an open pedagogy in which students are creating openly licensed works in a classroom environment. Open pedagogy affords librarians, instructors, and students a unique way to guide how courses are taught and how students learn. However, while working openly can be empowering, liberating, or even revolutionary, I argue that it is unethical to mandate or strongly encourage students to produce open work without themselves understanding the implications of working openly. I argue that it is only when students understand the political intent behind these types of open projects?—speaking to a much broader open education and open access movement?—that they might decide for themselves to continue to engage in and support open work. Open practice is only powerful when the students involved understand why they are engaging in this work and deciding for themselves that this is something they are personally and politically invested in. Furthermore, it is only when students understand the concept of open and their own rights as authors that they can ethically engage in this type of open pedagogy.

In other words, if we are using open pedagogy to encourage students to themselves be part of the open education movement, then students must understand what open practice is and how it relates to their own lives. I posit an informed open pedagogy that 1) teaches students about, and brings students into, the greater open education movement, in which 2) students decide individually and negotiate as a whole their preferred individual and collective authorship that lastly, 3) allows students to opt-out at any point in the class, or later can provide a more ethical design to open pedagogical practices. This informed open pedagogy can be elicited through the practices of information literacy instruction….”

Fall Update: Meeting Student Basic Needs During COVID-19 | U.S. PIRG

“While universities moved many or all of their classes online this past spring, publishers and ed tech companies offered temporary free access codes for students to submit homework. Now, those free passes are gone – and beyond their high price, commercial products like these pose numerous problems for students, such as their lack of instructor flexibility, reliance on a strong wifi connection, and student data privacy. Faculty should consider free open educational resources that are more adaptable to their teaching style and this learning environment. The University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library, UC Davis’ LibreTexts, and Rice University’s OpenStax are great sources for high quality open materials, with links to free homework solutions. 

This fall, Rutgers University has expanded its Open and Affordable Textbook Program  directly in response to faculty demands to cut student costs because of COVID-19. The program is projected to save over two million dollars for more than 16,000 students over the next few terms. In addition to open textbooks, college and university faculty should consider assigning materials the library already owns, or sharing chapters or select pages from copyrighted books. Stony Brook University has a good guide to fair use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes. …”

Do students lose depth in digital reading?

“Do students learn as much when they read digitally as they do in print?…

Most studies have found that participants scored about the same when reading in each medium, though a few have indicated that students performed better on tests when they read in print….

Some researchers are beginning to pose more nuanced questions, including one scholar who has considered what happens when people read a story in print or on a digital device and are then asked to reconstruct the plot sequence. The answer: Print yielded better results.

Another aspect of learning is to see how outcomes differ when students are doing their reading in less prescriptive experimental conditions. One study let students choose how much time to spend when reading on each platform. The researchers found that participants devoted less time to reading the passage onscreen – and performed less well on the subsequent comprehension test….

When asked on which medium they felt they concentrated best, 92 percent replied “print.” For long academic readings, 86 percent favored print. Participants also reported being more likely to reread academic materials if they were in print….”

Do students lose depth in digital reading?

“Do students learn as much when they read digitally as they do in print?…

Most studies have found that participants scored about the same when reading in each medium, though a few have indicated that students performed better on tests when they read in print….

Some researchers are beginning to pose more nuanced questions, including one scholar who has considered what happens when people read a story in print or on a digital device and are then asked to reconstruct the plot sequence. The answer: Print yielded better results.

Another aspect of learning is to see how outcomes differ when students are doing their reading in less prescriptive experimental conditions. One study let students choose how much time to spend when reading on each platform. The researchers found that participants devoted less time to reading the passage onscreen – and performed less well on the subsequent comprehension test….

When asked on which medium they felt they concentrated best, 92 percent replied “print.” For long academic readings, 86 percent favored print. Participants also reported being more likely to reread academic materials if they were in print….”

Sign the Open Covid Pledge for Research in Education | Association for Learning Technology

“We pledge to make our intellectual property openly and freely available to the world to support educators, students and decision-makers, to help educational organisations survive and thrive, and to build a fairer and more resilient education system.

We pledge – where possible – to openly license or dedicate to the public domain our intellectual property.”

Rethinking assessment during the pandemic, particularly re. disability equality | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

The pandemic is not over. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill just went back for a week of in-person term. Seven days later, they have shut down, with over 500 students in isolation. They can now offer only remote tuition. So I repeat to those who are being optimistic about this year: no, the pandemic is not over, it is far from over, and there are many many challenges ahead. In this post I want to turn particularly to the challenge of access to library resources over the coming year for students, with particular reference to the disability equality implications.