Open educational resources: expanding equity or reflecting and furthering inequities? | SpringerLink

Abstract:  In this paper I argue that open educational resources (OER), such as open textbooks, are an appropriate and worthwhile response to consider as colleges and universities shift to digital modes of teaching and learning. However, without scrutiny, such efforts may reflect or reinforce structural inequities. Thus, OER can be a mixed blessing, expanding inclusion and equity in some areas, but furthering inequities in others.

As part of the “shifting to digital” special issue, this paper is in response to Hilton (2016). I argue that open educational resources (OER), such as open textbooks, can expand equity and inclusion, but without scrutiny, they may reflect or reinforce, and thus expand, structural inequities.

OER are defined as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing” (Hewlett 2017). Hilton (2016) synthesized the existing literature to examine outcomes associated with instances in which OER replaced commercial textbooks. He reported two major findings. First, students generally performed better when using OER compared to commercial textbooks. The use of OER was not associated with decreases in learning. Second, OER were generally perceived by faculty and students to be as good as, if not better than, traditional textbooks. While this research faces some limitations acknowledged by the author much research since then continues to affirm the author’s original findings (e.g., Clinton and Khan 2019; Hilton 2020).

Preprints Involving Medical Research—Do the Benefits Outweigh the Challenges? | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, and perhaps thereafter, investigators may continue to want their findings released and shared as rapidly as possible, but such speed to widespread public dissemination vs sharing within a community of specialists most likely to understand the complexities of the science and concerns to public health or without rigorous editorial evaluation and peer review before publication does not come without consequences and potential for harm.29,30 For many investigators, preprints may be considered an initial step along the scientific dissemination and publication pathway, just as abstract, poster, and video research presentations at in-person and virtual scientific meetings have a role in the early sharing and discussion of studies among specialist communities before publication in a journal. While manuscripts previously posted as preprints may be improved following formal submission to a journal and undergoing editorial evaluation, peer review, revision, and editing, others may not be suitable for formal publication because of methodologic flaws, biases, and important limitations. Authors should share preprints during the processes of manuscript submission to journals, just as they do with study protocols and registration reports, to aid journal editors in the evaluation of the quality of the reporting of the study and prioritization for publication. Preprints and preprint servers are here to stay, but perhaps in the immediate future a more selective use of these sites may be warranted, with clinical investigators exercising caution when the focus of a study is on drugs, vaccines, or medical devices and the results of a study may directly affect treatment of patients.”

NASIG – Open Access Content Under Threat: Internet Archive and Portico

“With disruptions in print supply chains and cutbacks on server and staff support, the threat of unpreserved content disappearing is greater than ever. Join us for an informational overview and deep dive into how technology is being used to preserve websites and their underlying content. Stephanie Orphan, Director of Content Preservation for Portico will discuss the preservation service’s efforts to preserve OA content and successes in providing access to it when it disappears. Jefferson Bailey, Director, Web Archiving and Data Services at Internet Archive will provide an update on Internet Archive Scholar and its efforts to ensure at risk content remains available.

In 2018, the Internet Archive undertook a large-scale project to build as complete a collection as possible of scholarly outputs published on the web, as well as improve the discoverability and accessibility of scholarly works archived as part of these global web harvests. This project involved a number of areas of work: targeted archiving of known OA publications (especially at-risk “long tail” publications), extraction and augmentation of bibliographic metadata and full text, integration and preservation of related identifier, registry, and aggregation services and datastores, partnerships with affiliated initiatives and joint service developments, and creation of new tools and machine learning approaches for identifying archived scholarly work in existing global scale born-digital and web collections. The project also identifies and archives associated research outputs such as blogs, datasets, code repos, and other secondary research objects. The alpha public interface, not yet officially announced, can be found at https://scholar-qa.archive.org/ and the testing and catalog temporarily hosted at https://fatcat.wiki/. Portico has long been preserving OA content and is currently preserving more than 5,000 OA journals from 309 publishers. They currently provide access to 114 of these OA journals, which were otherwise no longer available online for use by researchers (these are referred to as triggered titles). Portico is actively exploring methods of preserving more of the most vulnerable scholarly content and seeking input from the community on this topic. Whether you are a digital preservation expert or new to the scene, this session will offer something for you.”

India’s plan to pay journal subscription fees for all its citizen may end up making science harder to access

“India, the world’s second-most populous country, is planning to make scholarly literature available for everyone under its latest science, technology and innovation policy.

The policy will push for the whole country to have a nationwide subscription to replace existing subscriptions paid by different research and education institutions to access research journals. The Indian government is in talks with the world’s top scientific publications, including one of the biggest scholarly publishers, Elsevier, to create the system.

If it works, India will become the largest country to give access to paywalled journal articles to more than 1.3 billion of its citizens….

Both India and Germany’s cases are two clear examples of deliberate ignorance pursuing short term narrow options of prestigious conformity to the oligopoly of commercial publishers over value to society….”

India’s plan to pay journal subscription fees for all its citizen may end up making science harder to access

“India, the world’s second-most populous country, is planning to make scholarly literature available for everyone under its latest science, technology and innovation policy.

The policy will push for the whole country to have a nationwide subscription to replace existing subscriptions paid by different research and education institutions to access research journals. The Indian government is in talks with the world’s top scientific publications, including one of the biggest scholarly publishers, Elsevier, to create the system.

If it works, India will become the largest country to give access to paywalled journal articles to more than 1.3 billion of its citizens….

Both India and Germany’s cases are two clear examples of deliberate ignorance pursuing short term narrow options of prestigious conformity to the oligopoly of commercial publishers over value to society….”

The perils of preprints | The BMJ

“Preprints—manuscripts that have not undergone peer review—were first embraced in physics, catalysed by the creation in the early 1990s of arXiv.org, an open online repository for scholarly papers.1 It was not until 2013 that similar initiatives were embraced by the biological and then medical sciences,2 and novel publishing platforms continue to emerge. Some commentators believe the potential for harm is outweighed by the benefits,134 but others have raised specific concerns regarding medical preprints and mitigating the risk of harm to the public.2 These discussions need to be revisited in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, which has been accompanied by an explosion of preprint publications….”

 

The perils of preprints | The BMJ

“Preprints—manuscripts that have not undergone peer review—were first embraced in physics, catalysed by the creation in the early 1990s of arXiv.org, an open online repository for scholarly papers.1 It was not until 2013 that similar initiatives were embraced by the biological and then medical sciences,2 and novel publishing platforms continue to emerge. Some commentators believe the potential for harm is outweighed by the benefits,134 but others have raised specific concerns regarding medical preprints and mitigating the risk of harm to the public.2 These discussions need to be revisited in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, which has been accompanied by an explosion of preprint publications….”