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2) Forms of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons

Published onJan 14, 2023
2) Forms of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons

Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation

¤ Ahmed, Allam. 2007. “Open Access Towards Bridging the Digital Divide—Policies and Strategies for Developing Countries.” Information Technology for Development 13 (4): 337–61.

Ahmed assesses open access as a potential solution to the digital divide and accompanying knowledge and wealth gaps in academia, internationally. At the time of publication (2007), there are infrastructure and institutional policy gaps in Africa that prohibit a continent-wide open access system. A successful open access system requires both researcher access to and creation of free, open publications and data. Ahmed argues that this is problematic when standard technological infrastructure and nationwide open access initiatives comparable to those in the United Kingdom and United States do not necessarily exist across Africa, and when certain African nations promote censorship and other information regulation laws that prohibit open access publishing. Open access without the appropriate technical, social, and legal infrastructure is inconsequential, and could in fact render scholarship even more inaccessible to researchers whose countries are not currently able to build and sustain a digital scholarship system.

+ Anderson, Charles. 1998. “Universal Access—Free and Open Access—It Depends.” Reference & User Services Quarterly 38 (1): 25–27.

Anderson provides a brief editorial introduction to the tradition of open access values, arguing that the values of open access are anything but new. He asserts that the entire public library movement was founded on the ideas of open access, and asks how much progress has been made since then. For Anderson, it is necessary that attitudes around open access change in order to stimulate progress. It is not enough to simply provide a workstation or to secure resources; the individuals working in the institutions have to believe in the importance of open access principles.

Δ Arbuckle, Alyssa. 2019. “Opportunities for Social Knowledge Creation in the Digital Humanities.” In Doing More Digital Humanities, edited by Constance Crompton, Richard J. Lane, and Ray Siemens, 290–300. New York: Routledge.

Arbuckle addresses current discourse about digital humanities becoming more socially oriented, both regarding the collaboration and sharing with wider audiences, and the biased structures of the academy that impede open access publishing and the acknowledgement of scholarship as a social creation, disrupting the idea of the single author. She argues that digital humanities, as a field, is well poised to embrace social knowledge creation practices. Elements of the digital humanities landscape, such as the interconnected roles of collaboration, social media, publishing, technology, and open access, contribute to an environment for sustained social knowledge creation. Despite these elements, Arbuckle claims that further action is still required for digital humanities research to become more valuable, engaging, and relevant in the public sphere. To encourage opportunities for social knowledge creation in digital humanities, academics must consider broad collaboration at the inception of their research initiatives, with its possibilities and risks.

+ Arbuckle, Alyssa, Alex Christie, and Lynne Siemens. 2016. Introduction to Scholarly and Research Communication 10 (2). Special Issue: Canada’s Education Journals.

Arbuckle, Christie, and Siemens dedicate the introduction of this special issue to an exploration of the topics discussed in the “New Knowledge Models: Sustaining Partnerships to Transform Scholarly Production” gathering of 2016, hosted by the INKE group. They explain that the conversations addressed aspects of digital scholarship including creativity, implementation, institutional interface, opportunities, challenges, audience, initiatives, and sustainability. They claim that digital technology has enhanced the dissemination of contemporary scholarly practice, all the while acknowledging that the technological changes in knowledge production are not new concepts. They add that “new models for knowledge production blend more traditional forms of scholarly inquiry with digital modes and methods” (n.p). Furthermore, the editors address how cultural institutions are changing their views on how to best to serve the public at large, with digital scholarship in mind. They conclude by emphasizing that open social sharing of scholarship constructs a community that contributes to maintaining a critical mass of thought through its diversity of strengths and interests.

+ Ayris, Paul, Erica McLaren, Martin Moyle, Catherine Sharp, and Lara Speicher. 2014. “Open Access in UCL: A New Paradigm for London’s Global University in Research Support.” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 45 (4): 282–95.

Ayris, McLaren, Moyle, Sharp, and Speicher address the benefits and challenges of open access publishing for a research university. While open access publishing provides an unprecedented opportunity for scholars to disseminate their research globally, it also presents numerous barriers for institutions, such as funding start-up costs, balancing roles, and measuring success. The authors provide insight on how to overcome these challenges from their positions as employees of the University College London (UCL). Ayris et al. argue that the popular discourse that discourages open access, or presents it in a negative light, is often factually incorrect. They provide evidence that free publications from the University College London are widely disseminated, financially viable, and of outstanding quality. The authors assert that open access is an opportunity, not a threat, to research universities. By developing open access policies, constructing open access repositories, and establishing a gold standard open access press, universities can reap the rewards of open access publishing.

+ Bauer, Florian, and Martin Kaltenböck. n.d. Linked Open Data: The Essentials. Vienna, Austria: DGS—Druck- u. Graphikservice GmbH.

Bauer and Kaltenböck write a guide for administrators describing how to wisely manage and use linked open data. The guide provides basic definitions that clarify the differences between open data and linked open data. The authors expound on the industrial potential of using the linked approach and provide examples and advice on how to start a linked open data catalogue. Bauer and Kaltenböck select the country profiles, United Kingdom legislation, and Open Energy Information (OpenEI) definitions as representative of larger linked open data trends. The authors articulate a vision that depicts how these tools can be used to create the semantic web of the future. The guide provides links to web resources and uses visual graphs to simplify the process of linking and cataloguing data.

+ Björk, Bo-Christer. 2004. “Open Access to Scientific Publications—an Analysis of the Barriers to Change?” Information Research 9 (2): n.p.

Björk asserts that the rise of the Internet has changed how information is disseminated. While the methods may have changed, the economic ramifications of scholarly publishing have stayed the same. This has created a need to rethink the current publishing system. Björk proposes an open access system and defines open access as the means to information that can be read and shared for noncommercial purposes without any payments or restrictions. He also acknowledges, however, that systems are difficult to change; legal barriers, a lack of infrastructure, and the need to develop a new business model stand in the way. Björk argues that, while most people recognize the need for an open access system, it will take more than simple awareness for the system to be put into action.

+ Bonaccorsi, Andrea, and Cristina Rossi. 2003. “Why Open Source Software Can Succeed.” Research Policy 32 (7): 1243–58.

Bonaccorsi and Rossi discuss the questions of motivation, coordination, and diffusion raised by the emergence of open source software. They note that hierarchical coordination emerged without proprietary rights, yet open source systems are diffused in environments dominated by proprietary standards. The authors attempt to understand how an immense group of unpaid programmers have advanced open source technology to its present stage. The hobbyist groups and hacker culture, which consists of programmers trained in engineering and physics fields, are noted as the primary groups participating in the development of open source software. This hybrid business model—whereby companies and software houses produce software, give it away to customers free of charge, and shift the value toward additional services (packaging, consultancy, maintenance, updating, and training)—is suggested as a productive alternative. The recent tendency for open source programs to become more user-friendly will enable even wider diffusion into increasingly broad communities.

Φ ▲ Borgman, Christine L. 2007. Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Knowledge Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

+ Brown, Susan. 2016. “Towards Best Practices in Collaborative Online Knowledge Production.” In Doing Digital Humanities: Practice, Training, Research, edited by Constance Crompton, Richard J. Lane, and Ray Siemens, 47–64. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Brown addresses the affordances of web technologies that facilitate collaborative modes of online scholarly knowledge production. She argues that collaboration in the humanities still lags behind natural and social sciences. Brown discusses the key principles researchers ought to consider when choosing a platform for collaborative scholarship, as well as components of work processes and workspaces that help implement these principles into the project. She defines best practices as both the control over scholarly processes that bring together a number of contributors, and those that more optimally address interoperability, preservation, reuse, and the various ethical and professional considerations that are involved with group work. This article focuses on approaches to systems and standards that enable collaborative knowledge production online rather than on ways to coordinate collaborative relationships.

+ Bruns, Axel. 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang.

Bruns’ book on blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and other virtual landscapes discusses how creative, collaborative, and ad hoc engagement with content in user-led spaces is no longer accurate. User-led content production is built instead on iterative and evolutionary development models in which large communities make a number of very small incremental changes to established knowledge bases. He uses the concept of produsage to describe changes to user-led content management systems. The comparative significance of distinction between producers and users of content has faded over time. The opening chapters detail open source software development; later ones move to case studies of news blogs, citizen journals, Wikipedia, and what he terms the produsage of folksonomies, referring to knowledge structures that encapsulate economic environments of their own. He discusses produsage in terms of education, video games, and creative structures, and concludes with a chapter on how democracy itself can be re-examined in light of the produsage structure.

† Burdick, Anne, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp. 2012. “The Social Life of the Digital Humanities.” In Digital_Humanities, 73–98. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Burdick et al. focus on the social aspects and impacts of digital humanities. The authors argue that the digital humanities, by nature, encompass academic and social spaces that discuss issues beyond technology alone. Key issues include open access, open source publications, the emergence of participatory web and social media technologies, collaborative authorship, crowdsourcing, knowledge creation, influence, authorization, and dissemination. Burdick et al. also consider the role of digital humanities in public spaces, beyond the siloed academy. The authors address these expansive issues through an oscillating approach of explanation and questioning. While the diversity of the topics in this chapter is substantial, the authors knit the arguments together under the broad theme of social engagement.

Φ ▲ Burke, Peter. 2000. A Social History of Knowledge: From Gutenberg to Diderot, Based on the First Series of Vonhoff Lectures given at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). Cambridge, UK : Malden, Mass: Polity Press ; Blackwell Publishers.Knowledge Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

Φ ▲ Burke, Peter. 2012. A Social History of Knowledge. II: From the Encyclopédie to Wikipedia. Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA: Polity.Knowledge Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

+ Canadian Association of Research Libraries. n.d. “Open Access.” Canadian Association of Research Libraries (blog). Accessed February 22, 2017.

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) advocates for open access because of the benefits it grants users, primarily open access to reading and utilizing knowledge. This mode of dissemination benefits funding agencies, since their investment has a maximized return, as well as the researchers, since their scholarship is distributed to a wider audience. The Association aligns its principles with the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) Declaration and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. From the Budapest Declaration, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries adopts and propagates the practice of publishing scholarly literature in open access. It also follows the Berlin Declaration in its decision to publish all original scientific research results and related data and metadata in open access. Thus, the Association’s vision applies to the output of the scholarly work it funds, with a criteria that emphasizes that copyright is met, and that the product is consistent with highest peer review standards. It continues to work to implement open access standards and deal with the challenges that arise with this type of knowledge dissemination.

+ Chan, Leslie. 2004. “Supporting and Enhancing Scholarship in the Digital Age.” Canadian Journal of Communication 29 (3): 277–300.

Chan argues that the key goal of open access is to maximize the impact of research by reaching the largest number of readers possible. This impact can be measured by counting citation references connected to specific articles. The author summarizes a study conducted by the Institute of Scientific Information that found, when studying 190 journals, that those with open access and those with proprietary access showed no difference in impact. However, he argues that these data are invalid because the study took the journal, not the individual article, as its unit of measurement. Conducting his own research, Chan finds that there was, in fact, an impact factor difference of 300% in favour of open access articles. For Chan, knowledge is a public good and must be distributed as openly as possible.

+ Chang, Yu-Wei. 2015. “Librarians’ Contribution to Open Access Journal Publishing in Library and Information Science from the Perspective of Authorship.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 41 (5): 660–68.

Chang examines how librarian authors participate in open access publishing. In particular, the author studies librarians who contribute articles to journals in the field of library and information science. Chang’s case study took up 19 open access library and information science journals in which 1,819 articles were published between 2008 and 2013. Of the 1,819 articles, 55.6% of the authors were librarians (the next highest category was scholars at 33.5%), and 53.7% of the articles were co-authored or collaborative. The majority of these partnerships were librarian–librarian collaborations, but librarian–scholar co-authorships ranked second highest. Overall, the results demonstrate that open access publishing offers an opportunity for librarians to move from the more typical research support role into more of a knowledge creation role. Chang concludes that more authors need to publish on open access platforms in order for them to survive.

+ Coonin, Bryna, and Leigh Younce. 2009. “Publishing in Open Access Journals in The Social Sciences and Humanities: Who’s Doing It and Why.” ACRL Fourteenth National Conference.

Coonin and Younce survey 918 authors who published in open access humanities and social science journals in 2007 and 2008 in order to study the demographics and perceptions of open access. A total of 339 individuals responded to the survey. The respondents ranked peer review as the most important factor in choosing a journal, with reputation and suitability ranking second and third. The authors who published the most over the calendar year also published the most articles in open access journals. Approximately 15% of the respondents were unaware of open access publishing, and more than 50% saw open access journals as having less prestige. Further, article processing charges (APCs) often obstruct publication, as authors or their institutions are sometimes expected to levy fees to publish in open access journals, and these costs discourage many from seeking this type of publication venue. Overall, Coonin and Younce observe that the humanities and social sciences have been slower at integrating open access publishing than the scientific disciplines.

† De Carvalho, Carlos, Maia Rosemberg, and Elizabeth S. Furtado. 2012. “Wikimarks: An Approach Proposition for Generating Collaborative, Structured Content from Social Networking Sharing on the Web.” In 11th Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems (IHC ‘12), 95–98. Porto Alegre, Brazil.

De Carvalho and Furtado argue for what they call a Wikimarks approach in order to encourage organized, sustainable, social content creation. Based on this approach, users share online content that flows into a content repository and is subsequently categorized in a taxonomy system by the users. User participation is fostered through social interaction and extrinsic motivation. In order to motivate participation in the classification of content, the authors recommend gamification methods.

¤ Eve, Martin Paul. 2014. Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies, and the Future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The Open Access movement is often discussed in relation to the sciences only; Eve shifts the common rhetoric to focus on the humanities. Open access, Eve argues, is not only relevant to, but in fact crucial for, the humanities. Although the humanities and sciences differ in many ways, open access practices from the sciences can be translated and applied—as appropriate—for the humanities. To illustrate his thinking, Eve walks through the key arguments for and against open access in the humanities: publication, peer review, monographs, economics, and licenses. He admits that open access can be fraught in each of these areas, which makes large-scale implementation challenging. Eve suggests that a possible solution is an open access system in which major libraries come together to negotiate, buy, and make available published material; he also advocates for open, post-publication peer review and the overlay journal. Throughout, Eve implicitly advocates for a humanities-centred approach to open access.

+ Feller, Joseph, and Brian Fitzgerald. 2002. Understanding Open Source Software Development. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co.

Feller and Fitzgerald attempt to understand the success of open source publication. The authors tackle discussions to define the open source software development method: how it works, its sustainability, and what tools can enable it. They provide an overview of different open source software and accompanying licenses, a brief history of the open source software movement, a landscape of the organizations currently at the forefront of open source affairs, how to organize open source processes, and the different motivations behind open source development. The authors argue that the hacker ethic has commonalities with the pre-Protestant work ethic motivated by passion and freedom. The authors claim that open source software is more than just a fad, and that it will come to define the industry rather than be a symptom of it.

▲ Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. 2019. Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Fitzpatrick builds and champions the concept of generous thinking in the context of the relationship between the academy and the public. Analyzing recent trends in public anti-intellectual and anti-academic sentiments, she contends that the relationship between the public and the academy has broken down, and academics are now conflicting with the public whom they are intended to serve. In order to remedy this, Fitzpatrick urges academics to listen empathetically more than they criticize, and to focus on thinking more constructively than competitively. Overall, she seeks a version of the academy that functions as a space for public knowledge, connection, and community by building trust with the public. Of note, Generous Thinking is freely available to the public online, where it is formatted so as to encourage and display public comments at the paragraph level alongside the main text.

Φ Gold, Matthew, and George Otte. 2011. “The CUNY Academic Commons: Fostering Faculty Use of the Social Web.” On the Horizon 19 (1): 24–32. Commons as Sites of Connection > (Academic) Social Networking Sites as Knowledge Commons)

† Guédon, Jean-Claude. 2008. “Digitizing and the Meaning of Knowledge.” Academic Matters (November): 23–26.

Guédon briefly sketches the recent history of scholarly communication and publishing and meditates on alternatives to the current state of affairs. He concludes that although open source publishing is a relatively recent phenomenon, it adroitly embodies the ethos and traditional practices of scholarship (especially in the sciences). For Guédon, open source publishing represents the open, endless appropriation of knowledge and discipline-wide conversation that has traditionally defined academic work. He champions this move toward open, shared knowledge versus the continued exploitation of academics, librarians, and universities by the large corporate publishing companies currently relied upon for scholarly communication and accreditation.

+ Heath, Malcolm, Michael Jubb, and David Robey. 2008. “E-Publication and Open Access in the Arts and Humanities in the UK.” Ariadne 54. Archived at

Heath, Jubb, and Robey present an overview of the role of monographs, e-texts, and other e-books in arts and humanities-related disciplines. Monographs are still relatively unpopular for open access publication in the humanities since many people find these difficult to read and prefer the printed form. The survey uses as its principal object the activities of the United Kingdom’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Research Information Network (RIN) to highlight a range of issues with open access monographs, journals, repositories, electronic publication of theses, and data publication. The authors point to the success of JSTOR as an open access repository; it is well known, however, that JSTOR requires libraries to pay a substantial subscription fee for access. The survey suggests that there is limited, slow progress to changing attitudes toward electronic publication. The academic community needs to develop a broader and more well-informed dialogue about its needs in regard to digital publication, and the issues endemic to publishing a monograph electronically.

+ Hiebert, Matthew, William R. Bowen, and Raymond Siemens. 2015. “Implementing a Social Knowledge Creation Environment.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (3).

Hiebert, Bowen, and Siemens introduce Iter Community, a public-facing web-based platform prototyped by the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab and Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with a specific focus on how this platform is geared toward facilitating social knowledge creation. The authors argue that the emerging area of research known as social knowledge creation promotes critical interventions into the more conventional processes of academic knowledge productions. This type of research is increasingly made more convenient by emerging technologies that allow research groups to more actively participate in and contribute to the dissemination of their work and communication with other partners. The Iter Community page is meant as a critical intervention into modes of scholarly production and publication, and models how the implementation of functionalities that support social knowledge creation can facilitate novel research opportunities and invite scholars and members of the community to participate in the creation of knowledge. The platform facilitates online knowledge production and dissemination in ways that ultimately enhance research practices and community outreach.

+ International Council for Science. 2015. “Open Data for a Big Data World.”

The International Council for Science (ICSU), the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and the International Social Science Council (ISSC), in the accord from the first Science International meeting, address the opportunities and challenges of data revolution in the realm of global science policy. They explain the digital revolution as a world-historical event, considering the amounts of data produced and their effect on the research industry. The authors characterize big data by volume, variety, velocity, and veracity. Another important element is linked data and their importance for the Semantic Web. The accord also addresses the open data imperative for various reasons. For example, when it comes to “self-correction,” the openness and transparency of relevant data allow testing and reproducibility, whereas in terms of non-replicability, attempts of replicating data have been deemed rather unsuccessful, which again calls for transparency in the publication of data and metadata. The document also contains principles of open data, which include boundaries of openness, enabling practices, and responsibilities (of scientists; research institutions and universities; publishers; funding agencies; professional associations, scholarly societies, and academies; and libraries, archives, and repositories).

¤ Jones, Steven E. 2014. “Publications.” In The Emergence of the Digital Humanities, 147–77. New York: Routledge.

Jones zooms in on the relationship between the digital humanities and publishing and considers the possibilities thereof. He argues that digital humanities practitioners are well-positioned to explore the opportunities of digital publishing, as they can serve as subjects in their own publishing experiments. Jones details digital humanities activities directly related to scholarly communication: digitization, editing, metadata generation, and content management system design and use. But he is quick to point out that there is more to the relationship between digital humanities and publishing than applicable practitioner skills and activities; current digital publishing practices—both within and outside of academia—are also inherently networked, and therefore provide the opportunity for sociality at a scale hitherto untenable. Jones advocates for an increase in the uptake, use, creation, or repurposing of digital publishing platforms for humanities knowledge mobilization, in no small part because this can constitute and reinforce the value of the social in academic work. In doing so, he makes an argument for the importance of experimenting with digital publishing practices in order to create and share scholarly output within and beyond academia.

+ Kelty, Christopher M. 2008. Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Kelty investigates the history and structure of the Internet with a specific focus on free software, defined as the collaborative creation of software code that is made freely available through a specific use of copyright law. He argues that the open structure of the Internet can be tied to the Free Software Movement, a social movement that formally originated during the development of the GNU/Linux operating system. Kelty categorizes practitioners who participate in these types of social movements as the recursive public, responsible for reorienting power relations around modes of creation and dissemination of a massive body of virtual information. The Free Software Movement binds together lawyers, hackers, geeks, and professionals from all types of disciplines to form the recursive public that is still actively defending users’ interest in the maintenance of an open Internet.

+ Kitchin, Rob, Sandra Collins, and Dermot Frost. 2015. “Funding Models for Open Access Digital Data Repositories.” Online Information Review 39 (5): 664–81.

Kitchin, Collins, and Frost outline financial models for digital open access repositories that are not funded by a core source. The authors create a list of challenges to open access, including Christine Borgman’s “dirty little secret”: despite the promotion of open data sharing, not much sharing is actually taking place. The authors propose that creating open access data repositories is not enough for attitudes in academia to change; substantial cultural changes in research practices must take place, and researchers should be encouraged to deposit their data as they complete research. The survey covers 14 potential funding streams for open access research data repositories. The authors argue that the lack of full, core funding and a direct funding stream through payment-for-use pose considerable financial challenges to the directors of such repositories. The collections that are maintained without funding are in significant danger of being lost to bit rot and other technological challenges.

+ Kogut, Bruce, and Anca Metiu. 2001. “Open-Source Software Development and Distributed Innovation.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 17 (2): 248–64.

Kogut and Metiu discuss the open source software production model as one that exploits the distributed intelligence of participants in Internet communities. The authors term these broad communities as communities of practice. Kogut and Metiu argue that open source practices avoid the inefficiencies of a strong intellectual property regime and implement concurrent design and testing of modules, thereby saving financial and labour expenditures. Two types of open source models are examined as case studies using a chart that logs different projects, including Zope, Mozilla, MySQL, Python, KDE, GIMP, and GNOME. The authors proceed to a discussion of Linux and its history. Open source is touted as the emergence of a production model ideally suited for properties of information that can be digitally coded and distributed.

+ Lane, Richard J. 2014. “Innovation through Tradition: New Scholarly Publishing Applications Modelled on Faith-Based Electronic Publishing & Learning Environments.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4).

Lane explores the popular eTheology platforms Olive Tree and Logos, and the possibilities for the uptake of their information management and design models. The author details the advantages of popular, or non-academic, digital knowledge spaces and argues for their potential application to secular electronic publishing. The most advantageous element of this proposal may be the suggestion to tailor applications to communities of users—which Olive Tree and Logos do, as described in the article—in order to develop a more integrated and dynamically engaged scholarly publishing system that includes user analysis.

† Lorimer, Rowland. 2014. “A Good Idea, a Difficult Reality: Toward a Publisher/Library Open Access Partnership.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4).

Lorimer comments on the state of scholarly publishing in Canada. He offers thorough insight into the financial, social, and cultural obstacles that arise as academic institutions move toward an open access model of knowledge mobilization. Lorimer argues that although the idea of open access is desirable to academic and academic-aligned researchers, practitioners, and organizations, the reality of a completely open access model still requires considerable planning and implementation. Lorimer emphasizes the importance of long-term thinking in order to support Canada’s research libraries as open access hubs of orderly, sustainable, and productive information.

Φ Martin, Shawn. 2019. “Historicizing the Knowledge Commons: Open Access, Technical Knowledge, and the Industrial Application of Science.” KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 3 (February 28): 23. Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

† Maxwell, John. 2015. “Beyond Open Access to Open Content.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (3).

Maxwell considers and comments on the state of scholarly communication. He suggests that online scholarly communication platforms have simply been a means to expedite and render more efficient traditional writing and publishing practices. Maxwell contends that digital scholarly communication, in its current manifestation, is in fact rather conservative. Rather than settling for a traditional and limited production system, academics should move toward more agile, social, and flexible publication modes that consider reader attention and relevance. Maxwell asks scholars and practitioners to reconceive of publishing and publication in the digital age as an opportunity for truly open scholarship.

¤ McMillan Cottom, Tressie. 2015. “‘Who Do You Think You Are?’: When Marginality Meets Academic Microcelebrity.” Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology 7.

Using her own extensive experience as an intellectual blogging and writing in public spaces, McMillan Cottom examines the politics at play in being an engaged academic online. She argues that despite the current call for social engagement and visibility, not all public intellectuals are treated equally online: that is, women and people of colour are often targeted and harassed for speaking publicly on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or their own blogs. McMillan Cottom gets to the heart of one of the challenges of open, social scholarship—the potential for abuse and harassment that working in the open can entail, especially for members of marginalized groups.

† Meadows, Alice. 2015. “Beyond Open: Expanding Access to Scholarly Content.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 18 (3).;rgn=main

Meadows examines the impact of current major public or low-cost open access initiatives worldwide, focusing on the Journal Donation Project, Research for Life, the International Network for Access to Scientific Papers, patientACCESS, Access to Research, and the Emergency Access Initiative. She emphasizes the wide-ranging value of these initiatives to researchers, professionals, and the public, especially in developing nations or in countries (such as the former USSR) that have a history of information bans. Meadows concludes that public or low-cost open access initiatives benefit many different groups of people, including publishers, and should be supported moving forward.

+ Molloy, Jennifer. 2011. “The Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Data Means Better Science.” PLOS Biology 9 (12): 1–4.

Molloy stipulates that implementing open data allows for initiatives within science-related disciplines to provide new infrastructure that supports data archiving and the development of stronger data management policies. The author suggests that there is little value in making data open and accessible if it is not being used. Molloy provides evidence from a recent collaboration between the Open Data in Science working group, the Joint Information Services Council and Semantic Web Applications, and Tools for Life Sciences in creating collections of open publications and datasets through available bibliographic data and crowdsourced summaries of non-open content. An accessible open data approach within the sciences will allow the disciplines to generate a wealth of tools, apps, and datasets that will facilitate the discovery and re-circulation of data.

Okune, Angela, Rebecca Hillyer, Leslie Chan, Denisse Albornoz, and Alejandro Posada. 2019. “Whose Infrastructure? Towards Inclusive and Collaborative Knowledge Infrastructures in Open Science.” In Connecting the Knowledge Commons—From Projects to Sustainable Infrastructure: The 22nd International Conference on Electronic Publishing—Revised Selected Papers, edited by Leslie Chan and Pierre Mounier. Marseille: OpenEdition Press.

Okune, Hillyer, Chan, Albornoz, and Posada push back against the idea that open science, open access, and open data necessarily make digital tools and platforms equally available to researchers or other interested parties. These digital technologies—and the networked communities they can help create—provide many opportunities for collaboration and connection; however, as the authors point out, the benefits of digital knowledge infrastructures in and for scholarly communities have also distracted members of these communities from adequately addressing existing social and systemic issues. Extending the intersectional work of Black feminist scholars such as Kimberlé Crenshaw and Safiya Umoja Noble, the authors present three case studies from the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet) as part of their larger argument about how technology is neither ideologically neutral nor an unequivocally positive instrument of social change. In closing, they reflect further on the importance of inclusivity, design, collaboration, and sustainability, as well as the possible limitations of their own intersectional framework.

+ Piwowar, Heather A., and Todd J. Vision. 2013. “Data Reuse and the Open Data Citation Advantage.” PeerJ 175.

Piwowar and Vision argue that reusing data and opting for a data management policy that makes use of open citation are effective means of facilitating science. This type of policy allows these resources to circulate and contribute to discussions far beyond their original analysis. The authors discuss the advantages and challenges of making research publicly available. Piwowar and Vision conduct a small-scale manual review of citation contexts and use attribution, through mentions of data accession numbers, to explore patterns in data reuse on a larger scale. The researchers determine that data availability is associated with citation benefit and data reuse is a demonstrable component of citation benefit.

+ Rath, Prabhash Narayana. 2015. “Study of Open Access Publishing in Social Sciences and Its Implications for Libraries.” DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology 35 (3).

Rath discusses how, in India, the Open Access movement was initially confined to science, technology, and medical fields. Her study identifies and analyzes 60 open access social science journals in India. Most of Rath’s findings consist of quantitative data compiled from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and she notes that only 15 out of 60 open access journals in the social sciences were published under a Creative Commons license in India. The article concludes with several recommendations: that social science departments in India make publicly funded research available via open access, that research institutes encourage and fund their own repositories, that scholars deposit post-print copies of their research papers, and that a central advisory board monitors open access journals and encourages scholars to submit research papers to select publications in order to increase visibility of Indian publications worldwide.

+ Rodriguez, Julia. 2014. “Awareness and Attitudes about Open Access Publishing: A Glance at Generational Differences.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 40 (6): 604–10.

Rodriguez surveys faculty members at a mid-size American university to determine the current awareness and perception of open access publishing. The majority of the respondents were from the faculties of arts, humanities, and social sciences. Overall, the data demonstrate a growing trend toward self-reported knowledge of open access accompanied by very little engagement with open publishing: while 61.7% of the respondents knew what open access was, only 28.2% had published with an open access venue. This demonstrates a gap between attitude and behaviour, a gap Rodriguez attributes to habits and institutional culture. In order to bridge this divide, she suggests educating faculty members early and revisiting this discussion often.

+ Saklofske, Jon, and INKE Research Group. 2016. “Digital Theoria, Poiesis, and Praxis: Activating Humanities Research and Communication through Open Social Scholarship Platform Design.” Scholarly and Research Communication 7 (2/3).

Saklofske states that although research has drastically changed in the last two decades, scholarly communication has remained relatively stable, adhering to standard scholarly forms of publication as a result of materialist economies. He argues for the necessity of innovating digital means of scholarly communication with theoria, poiesis, and praxis in mind. He offers a number of case studies that experiment with unconventional ways of carrying out research that utilize these concepts, among which is the NewRadial prototype: an online environment that brings in secondary scholarship and debate, where outside information can be added to and visualized with the primary data without affecting the original databases. NewRadial is taken as a model for other spaces that facilitate such dynamic organization and centralized spacing as an alternative solution to typical, isolated forms of monographs and linear narrativization. Saklofske, who is a proponent of open social scholarship, argues that this type of scholarship is an essential part of the transformation of scholarly research and communication—a transformation that would take advantage of the digital medium rather than propagating conventional forms of knowledge creation into this environment. This type of research platform is also more inclusive and public-facing.

+ Siemens, Lynne, and INKE Research Group. 2016. “‘Faster Alone, Further Together’: Reflections on INKE’s Year Six.” Scholarly and Research Communication 7 (2/3).

Siemens addresses the sixth year of the INKE project, namely the collaborative aspect of the long-term, large-scale project as it nears completion (in the seventh year). This study is carried out through a set of semi-structured interviews that are analyzed with a ground theory approach. According to Siemens, the team found collaboration to be a positive and beneficial experience overall, which was continuously strengthened through face-to-face interactions. Another finding pointed to how large-scale projects are in a constant stage of transition, whereby the change in pace of the project also affects the pace of work on an individual level and the nature of the collaboration. Recurring challenges that sprung up in earlier years and continued throughout the project include working at a distance with team partners and the hiring and retention of postdoctoral fellows and research assistants. The documentation of this collaborative process and the lessons learned throughout the years are employed as a foundation for the next grant application and future collaborations.

+ Siemens, Lynne, Ray Siemens, Richard Cunningham, Teresa Dobson, Alan Galey, Stan Ruecker, and Claire Warwick. 2009. “INKE Administrative Structure, Omnibus Document.” New Knowledge Environments 1 (1).

Siemens outlines the administrative structure to be executed in the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) project. The document is meant to serve as an agreement between the various individuals and groups involved in INKE on how members will work with each other over the upcoming years of collaboration in order to achieve the goals that were outlined in the research application. Siemens breaks down the administrative structure of the projects and the various groups involved, and presents the guidelines and responsibilities for each group. The groups consist of various researchers and partners, as well as various administrative divisions overlooking and advising the project. The author also discloses the guidelines concerning intellectual property of knowledge created as part of the project, as well as the adopted policies for co-authoring work within the INKE framework. In the latter part of the document, Siemens includes excerpts from the grant application that address the broad range of key stakeholder areas and the project charter that outlines how the work will be disseminated, the future of the project, and the nature of the work between members of INKE.

+ Siemens, Lynne. 2012b (April). “Firing on All Cylinders: Progress and Transition in INKE’s Year 2.” Scholarly and Research Communication 3 (4).

Siemens explores how collaborative practices evolve over the span of a project, using the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) second year of funded research as a case study. As with the previous study based on year one (Siemens 2012a [March]), the study here is carried out through a series of interviews with various researchers and administrators of INKE. The results show that the group’s members have developed closer relationships, allowing research to progress; the graduate research assistants also stated that their work experience has deepened their academic and collaborative skills. Some of the major challenges have to do with human resources and include the difficulty in securing postdoctoral fellows with technical skills and a project manager, mostly due to competition with other disciplines for hiring these professionals. A number of members and sub-research areas were in a period of transition, which resulted in a slight restructuring of the project. Siemens offers a number of potential solutions to the aforementioned challenges and addresses ways to structure the workflow during transitional periods that would help maintain the flow of the project and swiftly integrate newcomers. She ends her article with various recommendations on how to sustain successful collaboration, which include having face-to-face meetings (in formal and informal settings) of geographically distributed team members, utilizing the most optimal methods for knowledge transfer in moments of transition, and taking into account ways in which university policies of partners may affect the project and its internal dynamics.

+ Siemens, Lynne. 2014. “Research Collaboration as ‘Layers of Engagement’: INKE in Year Four.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4).

Siemens discusses the fourth year of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) project, and focuses on how the nature of the collaboration over this period of the project has evolved. As with other studies on the group’s collaboration, the study was carried out through a series of interviews with the researchers, graduate researchers, and administrative members of the team using a series of questions that could be extended and which are then analyzed with a ground theory approach. Siemens argues that year four reflects a more mature period of the project in which the nature of collaboration has morphed into a more fulfilling and closely bound relationship: researchers from one area feel more involved with research in other areas and all team members, including research assistants, recognize their role in an important and rewarding way. Siemens states that a significant development in year four is team members’ ability to better balance INKE-related work with outside research, sometimes even having the group’s research drive motivate other work endeavors. One major challenge that still exists is coordinating across four time zones with few windows for possible meeting times. Overall, the interviews demonstrate that the team acknowledges the need for and benefits of working together to attain research objectives. Siemens concludes with a set of suggestions for other teams working in a collaborative atmosphere.

+ Siemens, Lynne. 2013. “Responding to Change and Transition in INKE’s Year 3.” Scholarly and Research Communication 4 (3).

Siemens addresses the collaborative nature of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) project at the closing of the third year of funded research. The purpose of this investigation is to document the nature of collaboration so that teams can benefit in future scenarios from past lessons learned. Also, there is a notable lack of scholarship focused on collaboration despite its increased adoption in the academic sphere. Siemens frames the third year as a transitional one for INKE since it is the period in which there was a change in sub-research areas, partners, and team members. The study is conducted through various interviews with team members and the data analysis is carried out through a ground theory approach. The major observations that emerged in relation to transitional phases and how to best manage them include an acknowledgment that the integration of new team members into a project takes time and that an account of the project and team relationships, as well as project documentation, may be helpful. Other essential parts of this process are formal and informal face-to-face meetings. According to Siemens, the selection of individuals with a collaboration-oriented mindset is useful since they are more likely to accommodate the short timespan allotted for new team member integration while still meeting research objectives.

+ Siemens, Lynne. 2012a. “Understanding Long-Term Collaboration: Reflections on Year 1 and Before.” Scholarly and Research Communication 3 (1).

Siemens addresses the advantages and challenges of collaborative work in the first year of the seven-year funded Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) project, a group of 35 researchers from Canada, England, Ireland, and the United States that focuses specifically on Interface Design, Textual Studies, User Experience, and Information Management. The study is carried out in an interview format with seven collaborators, including graduate research assistants, researchers, members of the administrative team, and others. Findings indicate that team members share similar views on collaboration, saying that it yields grander research results and helps attain established goals, and that it requires a certain skill set to work together productively. The advantage of collaborative work is that it allows graduate students and researchers to interact with the larger community, and members of the community to learn and acquire various skill sets from each other. Disadvantages involve accountability within the project and to the funding agencies, the time-consuming nature of the project, the necessity of travel for personal meetings, and other potential personal or institutional tensions. Siemens summarizes the benefits and challenges of the first year of the INKE project, and argues that the skill set acquired by participating in such a project may be useful in future academic and non-academic work.

+ Siemens, Ray. 2002. “Scholarly Publishing at Its Source, and at Present.” Introduction to The Credibility of Electronic Publishing: A Report to the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada.

Siemens’ introduction to this report focuses on the rethinking of scholarly communication practices in light of new digital forms. He meditates on this topic through the framework of ad fontes: the act or idea of going to the source. Siemens argues that scholars should look at the source or genesis of scholarly communication; the source, for Siemens, includes more than the seventeenth-century inception of the academic print journal. It also includes less formal ways of communicating and disseminating knowledge, such as verbal exchanges, epistolary correspondence, and manuscript circulation. In this way, scholars can look past the popular, standard academic journal, and into a future of scholarly communication that productively involves varied scholarly traditions and social knowledge practices.

+ Snijder, Ronald. 2015. “Better Sharing Through Licenses? Measuring the Influence of Creative Commons Licenses on the Usage of Open Access Monographs.” Journal of Librarianship & Scholarly Communication 3 (1): 1–21.

Snijder measures the influence of Creative Commons licenses on the usage of open access monographs. He suggests that there is, in fact, no evidence that making books available under open access licenses results in more significant download numbers than personal use licenses. For Snijder, the application of open licenses to books cannot, on its own, result in more downloads. Open licenses pave the way for other intermediaries to offer new discovery and aggregation services. Snijder’s study breaks away from the tradition of work on open licenses by measuring the effects of free licenses; he focuses on the implications of freely licensing open access monographs as opposed to discussing the legal frameworks surrounding copyright law and the Creative Commons.

Φ ▲ Suber, Peter. 2006. “Creating an Intellectual Commons through Open Access.” In Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, edited by Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, 171–208. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Knowledge Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

+ Suber, Peter. 2005. “Promoting Open Access in the Humanities.” Syllecta Classica 16: 231–46.

Suber examines how humanities and social science scholars can promote open access within their own disciplines. He identifies some of the roadblocks of open access publishing in the humanities and social sciences and proposes avenues that circumvent these barriers. Despite the Internet creating an opportunity for low-cost distribution of knowledge, the humanities and social sciences have been slow to take up open access practices. Suber argues that this is due to a number of factors: high cost of journals, low funding of research, high rejection rates of journals, low demand for open access (compared to the sciences), and copyright issues. He suggests that the following practices be used to navigate or circumnavigate these issues: use software to manage costs of peer review, do without copyeditors, encourage universities to pay processing fees, experiment with retroactive peer review, explore open access archiving, and publish open access books.

Φ ¤ Veletsianos, George. 2016. Social Media in Academia: Networked Scholars. New York: Routledge. Commons as Sites of Connection > (Academic) Social Networking Sites as Knowledge Commons)

¤ Veletsianos, George, and Royce Kimmons. 2012. “Networked Participatory Scholarship: Emergent Techno-Cultural Pressures toward Open and Digital Scholarship in Online Networks.” Computers & Education 58 (2): 766–74.

Veletsianos and Kimmons explore the possibly causal, possibly correlated relationship between contemporary scholarly practice and technology. In particular, they argue that specific scholarly practices have emerged that are situated squarely in online social spaces; Veletsianos and Kimmons deem such practices Networked Participatory Scholarship. Networked Participatory Scholarship encapsulates non-traditional scholarly communication activities such as social networking on Twitter and writing a personal blog; these activities, while still occurring in the realm of the academy, look very different from more formalized scholarly communication like publishing a peer-reviewed print article. The authors conclude that the academy will continue to develop and change as technology does, and that it is crucial to both track and support scholarly practices that embrace and respond to (inevitable) technological change rather than resist it.

+ Von Krogh, Georg, and Eric Von Hippel. 2006. “The Promise of Research on Open Source Software.” Management Science 52 (7): 975–83.

Von Krogh and von Hippel discuss how the open source phenomenon has developed utility for research findings in many fields. Research is categorized into three areas: motivations for open source software projects; governance, organization, and the process of innovation in open source software projects; and competitive dynamics enforced by open source software. The authors create a table chart that amalgamates all available research (as of 2006) on open source software. They break this table into research focuses, special issues, and contributions. Open source software contributors have created a new economic model that can spread to other areas of economic and social activity. The authors express pride in having published some of the studies related to open source software.

+ Weber, Steven. 2004. The Success of Open Source. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Weber’s book-length study surveys the success of software and source code that is freely distributed. He discusses how property underpins the social organization of cooperation and production in the digital era, and how older models of production can no longer be followed in the advent of the success of systems such as Linux and Apache. The success of open source software in this highly competitive industry subverts several assumptions about how software firms should be run, as well as the distribution and circulation of product. Weber discusses the history of open source in addition to basic definitions of the field and its methods of distribution, circulation, and production. The interactions between open source software and the disciplines of business and law are also examined, with Weber suggesting that these have all changed drastically with the advent of open source code distribution.

Φ ▲ Willinsky, John. 2006. The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship. Digital Libraries and Electronic Publishing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Knowledge Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

Wonders, Brooke J., Frederic I. Solop, and Nancy A. Wonders. 2012. “Information Sampling and Linking: Reality Hunger and the Digital Knowledge Commons.” Contemporary Social Science 7 (3): 247–62.

Wonders, Solop, and Wonders examine how the practice of digital “sampling”—recycling and revising content produced by others—has impacted information practices since the Web 2.0 revolution. They maintain that digital social networks and information-sharing platforms have transformed our relationship to information by implicating us in the increasingly interconnected processes of creating, sharing, and consuming information. As the authors suggest, this paradigm shift has many social, legal, and other implications, and not just within their own areas of study in the humanities and social sciences. Indeed, they use David Shield’s Reality Hunger as a point of departure for a much broader discussion of the ways in which our lives are contingent on the socially and technologically conditioned information we encounter in the vast digital knowledge commons of the Internet. This globally distributed digital knowledge commons offers exciting new possibilities for the democratization of information and its production, they suggest, but more must be done to understand the viability of digital networks and the role that trust or other factors play in shaping our relation to them.

+ Zheng, Ye, and Yu Li. 2015. “University Faculty Awareness and Attitudes towards Open Access Publishing and the Institutional Repository: A Case Study.” Journal of Librarianship & Scholarly Communication 3 (1): 1–29.

Zheng and Li study the awareness of Texas A&M University (TAMU) faculty regarding open access publishing. The authors assess their attitudes toward and willingness to contribute to institutional repositories and investigate their perceptions of newer open access trends and resources. The survey results suggest that tenured faculty have a higher engagement rate with open access journals in their fields. A lack of awareness, however, surrounds processes to deposit materials in institutional repositories: 84% of respondents did not know the institutional repository deposit process at all. Similarly, a quarter of the respondents indicated that they did not know enough about open access to form an opinion on institutional repositories and could not see depositing their work as counting toward merit raises, tenure and promotion, or annual evaluation. Attitudes remain the greatest barrier toward increasing open access publication in academic settings.

Community Engagement

† Ang, Ien. 2004. “Who Needs Cultural Research?” In Cultural Studies and Practical Politics: Theory, Coalition Building, and Social Activism, edited by Pepi Leystina, 477–83. New York: Blackwell.

Ang ruminates on the current relationship between cultural studies, the university, the public, and society at large. She argues that not only do individuals benefit from cultural studies work, but they in fact rely on this sort of work to navigate, comprehend, and meaningfully contribute to an increasingly complex world. Ang advocates for the detachment of cultural studies from corporate-based funding, as she worries that these sorts of partnerships will, by catering to popular will and interest, falsely skew and inadequately represent the field of cultural research. Ang asserts that social knowledge production must be supported by a knowledge infrastructure that holistically approaches the study and creation of culture.

Φ + Arbuckle, Alyssa, Alex Christie, and Lynne Siemens. 2016. Introduction to Scholarly and Research Communication 10 (2). Special Issue: Canada’s Education Journals.Forms of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation)

+ Bennett, W. Lance, ed. 2008. Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA; London: MIT Press.

Bennett, in his introduction to the collection, suggests that younger generations are increasingly disconnected from conventional politics and government. However, the percentage of youth involved in civic engagement in non-governmental areas has increased. He explains that communication channels take many forms, including official communication tools and online social community networks. The collection’s authors discuss how online networks can inspire conventional political participation, and how digital technologies can be used to expand the boundaries of politics and public issues. In general, the authors suggest that there is a need for a transparent global debate about how digital media reshapes the expectations and prospects of youth in democratic societies.

+ Bowdon, Melody A., and Russell G. Carpenter. 2011. Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Community Partnerships: Concepts, Models and Practices. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 1AD.

Bowdon and Carpenter collect essays from 88 teachers, professors, and community leaders in a book that argues that technologies are being used in increasingly compelling ways to forge partnerships between college students, staff, faculty members, and the communities around them. The authors note that college and high school students are taking a lead in the process of creating valuable partnerships in local and global communities. The chapters include observations on successful partnerships between universities and other groups, as well as on the practical and theoretical meanings that technological tools have for different populations. Other issues addressed include the fact that capacity-building for technology use remains a critical objective in many regions of the world and that the challenges of online education heighten as it increasingly becomes a staple of academic training.

* Brennan, Sheila A. 2016. “Public, First.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein, 384–90. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

As a public historian, Brennan advocates for the importance of understanding that digital humanities does not necessarily mean public humanities just because of its extended possibility of outreach and access to scholarly outputs. She emphasizes that undertaking public humanities work requires one to consider the public as real people, by identifying, inviting, and addressing their needs, and to share authority, either on analog or digital practices. Brennan draws on the genealogy of public history—including the work of Denise Meringolo, Robert Townsend, and Roy Rosenzweig—as a basis to elaborate what “public” should mean in public digital humanities. She asserts that in order for public digital humanities projects to be successful, they must consider the abilities of the audience, as well as their languages, symbols, and navigational paths.

Δ Burg, Jacob. 2020. “Pedagogy of and for the Public: Imagining the Intersection of Public Humanities and Community Literacy.” Community Literacy Journal 14 (2): 130–37.

Burg discusses how a pedagogy of and for the public, constructed at the intersection of university and community, implements the digital frameworks and organizational tools of public humanities to enliven practices of community literacy. This type of literacy aims to foster sustainable models of multimodal learning, social justice, and community listening. The author relies on the concepts of concrete utopianism and community listening to refocus the humanist’s work around the cultivation of publics and counterpublics. One way to implement this approach is through new graduate student conferences that expand their audience, are reimagined beyond the university context, and root interactions between organizers, presenters, and the public. Cultivating rooted spaces, Burg concludes, can be a ready-to-hand tool to expand individual and community literacy.

¤ Cuthill, Michael. 2012. “A ‘Civic Mission’ for the University: Engaged Scholarship and Community-Based Participatory Research.” In Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives, edited by Lorraine McIlrath, Ann Lyons, and Ronaldo Munck, 81–99. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cuthill explores the construct of engaged scholarship as emblematic of the civic mission of the university. For Cuthill, universities have an ethical obligation to contribute to the common good, and he sees this as being particularly feasible through community-based participatory research. He also argues that there is economic benefit to engaged scholarship, thereby connecting community engagement with the sustainability of universities as organizations.

* Ellison, Julie. 2013. “The New Public Humanists.” PMLA 128 (2): 289–98.

Ellison observes a change in public humanities, which is traditionally understood in opposition to academic humanities, toward a more in-between position. She argues that in the last few decades the notion of public humanities has transformed into publicly engaged scholarship in humanities. Such a transformation makes it difficult to even identify those involved: a group that Ellison calls new public humanists. The author lists various examples of programs and institutes to show how the idea of public humanities is not being considered without academic collaboration. Thus, the author points out, doing, understanding, and writing public humanities projects means to work in complex roles in and between organizations. Furthermore, she concludes by stressing the importance of considering how to exercise institutional agency for sustaining new public humanities scholars, since they can become marginalized in traditional departments.

Φ ▲ Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. 2019. Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Forms of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation)

* Glass, Chris R., and Hiram E. Fitzgerald. 2010. “Engaged Scholarship: Historical Roots, Contemporary Challenges.” In Institutional Change, edited by Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Cathy Burack, and Sarena D. Seifer, Volume 1:9–24. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.

Glass and Fitzgerald acknowledge the historical context for the growth of engaged scholarship, specifically in the United States. They argue that research productivity became the priority for academic growth at American academic institutions, overlooking the civic and social purpose of the universities. Based on Ernest Boyer’s model of scholarship, Glass and Fitzgerald present some characteristics, principles, and challenges for more engaged universities, as well as proposals for measurement and assessment of the engagement. They conclude that the ongoing discussion of how to integrate engagement in academic structures is reinvigorating the democratic purposes of higher education.

Gold, Matthew. 2011. “Beyond Friending: BuddyPress and the Social, Networked, Open-Source Classroom.” In CUNY Academic Works. Publications and Research, CUNY Graduate Center.

Gold recounts his experiences using blogs, and later BuddyPress for WordPress, to create meaningful connections and opportunities for public engagement for his students. He claims that BuddyPress, which is an open-source platform and suite of plug-ins, offers many benefits as a pedagogical tool: it provides an accessible and ready-made social networking solution; it facilitates peer-to-peer and group connections in ways that similar tools or blogs do not; and it allows students to share their thoughts using a variety of methods. Crucially, as Gold observes, BuddyPress also recreates many of the features of commercial social networking sites, but it does so while also protecting students, their data, and their metadata from being exploited, commodified, or shared inappropriately. Accordingly, BuddyPress effectively addresses some of the concerns around privacy, openness, and pedagogy currently being raised by scholars in fields such as the digital humanities, educational technology, digital media, and scholarly communication, providing both instructors and students with new opportunities for social connection in and beyond the classroom.

+ Hart, A., and D. Wolff. 2006. “Developing Communities of Practice Through Community-University Partnerships.” Planning Practice and Research 21 (1): 121–38.

Hart and Wolff draw on the experiences of local community–university partnership activities at the University of Brighton to offer what they perceive as a pragmatic framework for future community–university partnerships. The authors argue that unless the discussion is framed in a way that shows that academics are trying to understand community members, academics will have considerable difficulty in demonstrating the practical application of scholarly knowledge. The Community University Partnership program at the University of Brighton was established in 2003 to enhance the capacity of the community and university for engagement with mutual benefit, and to ensure that the university’s resources are fully available to and used by local and sub-regional communities. The authors conclude by addressing both the cultural and spatial dimensions of the terrain and their impact on community–university partnerships within a community of practice framework.

Φ + Hiebert, Matthew, William R. Bowen, and Raymond Siemens. 2015. “Implementing a Social Knowledge Creation Environment.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (3). of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation)

* Hsu, Wendy F. 2016. “Lessons on Public Humanities from the Civic Sphere.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein, 280–86. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hsu presents some lessons learned in the professional experience of working with civic technology in the public sector in order to think about public work in digital humanities. The author advocates for the importance of including public participation early and in-process to build projects with and not for the community, considering that not only solving but also defining the problems must be done collectively. Hsu relies on the work of the postcolonial intellectual Gayatry Spivak to state that humanistic practices of visioning, speculating, and reflecting are founded in interpretation, which can also lead to creative actions of making and design. Thus, she claims that digital humanists should listen more to the public, interpret problems collectively, and apply their digital making and design skills to organize public projects with a civic cause, prototype community-driven digital objects, or intervene in civic processes in a way that pushes them toward more social justice. Moreover, Hsu notes that academic institutions and their members are closer to the centre of decision-making power, and collaborating with community is a way to have a dialogue across lines of power.

* Jay, Gregory. 2010. “The Engaged Humanities: Principles and Practices of Public Scholarship and Teaching.” Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship 3 (1): 51–63.

Jay argues that public scholarship and community engagement should be more attached to the humanities and proposes some points for reflection on challenges and opportunities for this. He argues that reducing in-funding and budget cutbacks for humanities may be seen as a need for reorienting the area to a more locally and community-based perspective, with outreach for social causes. The author compares this change toward a more engaged scholarship with the disciplines of arts. Jay relies on critical theory and cultural studies to explain how scholarship in humanities should not only change to address more the public interest, but also become more collaborative with members of the larger community. He highlights the importance of higher education politics and institutional support for these changes, and the opportunity that new media and digital culture have in making humanities outcomes more accessible and to allow wider interaction and collaboration, including due to the increasing interest in the digital humanities.

Φ + Jordan, Mary Wilkins. 2015. “Public Library History on the Lewis and Clark Trail.” Public Library Quarterly 34 (2): 162–77.Knowledge Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

Φ + Lane, Richard J. 2014. “Innovation through Tradition: New Scholarly Publishing Applications Modelled on Faith-Based Electronic Publishing & Learning Environments.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4). of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation)

Δ McGrath, Jim. 2020. “Teaching Digital Public Humanities with the Public Library.” In Doing Public Humanities, edited by Susan Smulyan, 39–54. New York: Routledge.

McGrath describes digital public humanities in specific contexts to document how digital spaces and tools should vary depending on audiences and objectives. He uses the collaboration between his graduate-level course on public digital humanities and the Providence Public Library as a case study to document the benefits of approaching digitization and publication through the lens of public humanities. McGrath argues that digital public humanities should require institutions to reassess their approaches to staffing and training, their ideas about labour and expertise, and their methods of collaboration. Furthermore, he encourages public humanities practitioners who are new to digital initiatives to learn from the people, projects, and publications that have been debating the value of public and digital humanities efforts over the last few decades.

¤ Morrison, Aimée. 2018. “Of, By, and For the Internet: New Media Studies and Public Scholarship.” In The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities, edited by Jentery Sayers, 56–66. New York: Routledge.

Morrison explores the possibilities for viral academic speech to become what she terms public/scholarship. For Morrison, a mode of engagement with new media that weighed the public and scholarly elements more evenly would lead to more transformative, and less disruptive, work. She takes time to examine and acknowledge her own privilege as a public scholar, as well as the repercussions of doing academic work in the open. She does not shy away from detailing the harm that can be caused from a viral social media presence or incident, especially to marginalized individuals. In this way, Morrison argues, technology should not be seen as automatically disruptive, nor immediately positive; rather, engaging with tools like social media opens up the possibility for transformative work that acknowledges privilege, systemic bias, and potential for harm.

Δ Peters, Michael A., Tze-Chang Liu, and David J. Ondercin. 2012. “Learned Societies, Public Good Science and Openness in the Digital Age.” In The Pedagogy of the Open Society, 105–27. Rotterdam: SensePublishers.

Peters, Liu, and Ondercin examine the relationship of learned societies to current digital scholarship. They explain that the concept of learned society “provides a complementary global civic model for development especially given arguments concerning science as a global public good” (117). Some features of the learned society are collective learning, interactions between individuals in learning processes, and the use of technology to learn, interact, and build upon other information. The authors relate this to the history of scientific learned societies—mainly founded after the Renaissance—because they provide a model with a commitment to public knowledge and science based on peer review that does not rely on the state or the market. In the context of digital scholarship, the authors suggest that current learned societies need to expand their contribution to public science and education by exploring the possibilities of the Internet and social media for knowledge creation and distribution.

* Ross, Claire. 2012. “Social Media for Digital Humanities and Community Engagement.” In Digital Humanities in Practice, edited by Claire Warwick, Melissa Terras, and Julianne Nyhan, 23–46. UK: Facet.

Ross explores the current uses of social media—which she defines as web-based tools that allow community participation, collaboration, and sharing—for digital humanities research. She also reviews the opportunities and challenges of utilizing social media in academia for community engagement. Ross suggests that the main applications of social media in digital humanities are crowdsourcing, enhancing a community of practice, and co-creating of knowledge. The author points out that there is still much to learn about the impact these technologies have on teaching and researching, based on case studies of the University College London, including a project for transcribing Jeremy Bentham’s works by crowdsourcing; the use of Twitter during three digital humanities conferences; and the QRator Project, which allows researchers and visitors of a museum to view and share thoughts and interpretations of each object using QR codes. Ross remarks that to better understand the impact of social media in the academy, it is necessary that universities incorporate social media into their approaches to engage communities in scholarly debate and knowledge sharing.

Φ + Saklofske, Jon, and INKE Research Group. 2016. “Digital Theoria, Poiesis, and Praxis: Activating Humanities Research and Communication through Open Social Scholarship Platform Design.” Scholarly and Research Communication 7 (2/3). of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation)

¤ Woodward, Kathleen. 2009. “The Future of the Humanities in the Present & in Public.” Daedalus 138 (1): 110–23.

Woodward considers the current state of public scholarship in the humanities, specifically in the American context. She argues that by and large universities have not lived up to their civic mission of community engagement, although there are many good reasons to embrace public scholarship, and many examples of important and successful public scholarship initiatives. Woodward considers the reach of the digital realm as promising for connecting with more people over humanities issues, and concludes that digital publishing can, in turn, generate face-to-face engagement.

Commons-based Approaches to Teaching and Research

* Behbehanian, Laleh, and Michael Burawoy. 2014. “Appendix: Global Pedagogy in a Digital Age.” Current Sociology 62 (2): 285–91.

Behbehanian and Burawoy introduce two online undergraduate courses on sociology organized at Berkeley. They mention that unlike elite universities that have enough money to develop courses and lectures, public universities have to use less expensive online courses in the educational process of their students. However, they claim that online education can be a good choice for countries in the Global South, where classrooms are overcrowded and teachers are underpaid and unprepared. On the other hand, it can cause further disinvestment in national higher education. The main aim of those online courses was to develop another approach to online education and to increase engagement of students that have different knowledge and social backgrounds. Behbehanian and Burawoy used Skype conversations and conferences with scholars in different locations to create a global dialogue among sociologists.

Δ Broekman, Pauline van Mourik, Gary Hall, Ted Byfield, Shaun Hides, and Simon Worthington. 2014. Open Education: A Study in Disruption. London: Rowman & Littlefield.

Broekman et al. develop a strategic philosophy about open education. They claim that open education represents both a chance to critically experiment with new ideas and approaches to higher education and a direct challenge to the future of the university. The authors rely on the concept of disruption, understood as a means of creating innovation, but also as a means of generating new forms of critique and creating different alternatives to the current state of higher education. According to the authors, the primary challenge open education faces is in instituting approaches that are pragmatic and ambitious, yet critical and creative, while also keeping open the question of what open education is and can be. To nurture critical open education, the authors propose a list of speculative principles, which include framing open education as social and socialising; connecting with other movements dealing with issues of openness; and collaborating with international partners.

Φ + Brown, Susan. 2016. “Towards Best Practices in Collaborative Online Knowledge Production.” In In Doing Digital Humanities: Practice, Training, Research, edited by Constance Crompton, Richard J. Lane, and Ray Siemens, 47–64. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.Forms of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation)

Φ + Chang, Yu-Wei. 2015. “Librarians’ Contribution to Open Access Journal Publishing in Library and Information Science from the Perspective of Authorship.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 41 (5): 660–68.Forms of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Open Social Scholarship and Social Knowledge Creation)

Δ Croxton, Rebecca A. 2020. “E-Learning in the Digital Humanities: Leveraging the Internet for Scholarship, Teaching and Learning.” In Routledge International Handbook of Research Methods in Digital Humanities, edited by Kristen Schuster and Stuart Dunn, 384–98. London: Routledge.

Croxton contends that the time is ripe for a convergence between digital humanities and e-Learning, which would provide opportunities to reach a broader audience of learners, and allow students to earn a degree without having to attend campus. She believes that, with thoughtful course design and pedagogy, integrating digital humanities in an e-Learning context can provide satisfying teaching and learning experiences that may supersede those achieved in the traditional face-to-face classroom. The author relies on social cognitive theory and social constructivist theory to explore how learning occurs in online courses. These two theories were used to design two online digital humanities courses at a university in the southeastern region of the United States. Croxton concludes that applying sound pedagogical principles grounded in educational theory can develop students’ professional identities, promote higher order thinking, and allow students to learn in a convenient context that also aligns with careers in digital humanities.

Φ CUNY Academic Commons. “CUNY Academic Commons.” Accessed July 16, 2021. Commons as Sites of Connection > Noteworthy Examples of Digital Knowledge Commons)

Φ ¤ Cuthill, Michael. 2012. “A ‘Civic Mission’ for the University: Engaged Scholarship and Community-Based Participatory Research.” In Higher Education and Civic Engagement: Comparative Perspectives, edited by Lorraine McIlrath, Ann Lyons, and Ronaldo Munck, 81–99. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Forms of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Community Engagement)

Δ Davis, Rebecca Frost, Matthew K. Gold, and Katherine D. Harris. 2020. “Curating Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities.” Humanities Commons. Modern Language Association.

Φ Glass, Erin R. 2018. “Engaging the Knowledge Commons: Setting Up Virtual Participatory Spaces for Academic Collaboration and Community.” In Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships: A Critical Examination of Labor, Networks, and Community, edited by Robin Kear and Kate Joranson, 100–115. Kent, UK: Elsevier Science & Technology. Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

Φ Gold, Matthew. 2011. “Beyond Friending: BuddyPress and the Social, Networked, Open-Source Classroom.” In CUNY Academic Works. Publications and Research, CUNY Graduate Center. of Connection and Collaboration in Digital Knowledge Commons > Community Engagement)

* Gold, Matthew K. 2012. “Looking for Whitman: A Multi-Campus Experiment in Digital Pedagogy.” In Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics, edited by Brett D. Hirsch, 151–76. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers.

Gold describes the experience of working on a digital pedagogy project called Looking for Whitman. The experiment was a collaboration between four academic institutions in the United States and one in Serbia from 2009 to 2010, which had the purpose of connecting multi-campus students to explore the relationship of Walt Whitman’s poetry to local geography and history. The author highlights the collaborative aspect of the proposal and the use of digital technologies for achieving its goals, while also reporting the evaluation made by the students who participated in the project. Gold relies on the ideas about education present in the poems of Walt Whitman himself as basis to advocate the project design of an open and networked pedagogy, using popular open-source platforms to connect the multiple campuses. Thus, as the poet calls in the poem Leaves of Grass for “unscrewing the locks and the doors” and “destroying the teacher,” the project aimed to displace the teacher from the centre of the learning process and to move it outside the walls of the classroom. He also bases his arguments on the evaluation survey the students submitted, concluding that although the connection between institutions has been less than expected, the learning and interest in both Whitman's work and digital technologies have been very positive. Therefore, Gold proposes that the experiment can serve as a model for developing other cross-institutions collaborative educational projects.

Φ Gold, Matthew, and George Otte. 2011. “The CUNY Academic Commons: Fostering Faculty Use of the Social Web.” On the Horizon 19 (1): 24–32. Commons as Sites of Connection > (Academic) Social Networking Sites as Knowledge Commons)

Δ Green, Cable. 2017. “Open Licensing and Open Education Licensing Policy.” In Open: The Philosophy and Practices That Are Revolutionizing Education and Science, edited by Rajiv S. Jhangiani and Robert Biswas-Diener, 29–41. London: Ubiquity Press.

Green provides an overview of the Creative Commons licenses and explores how public policymakers can leverage open licensing policies as a solution to high textbook costs. He argues that educators and governments supporting public education have a moral and ethical obligation to share education materials with the world for almost no cost. Creative Commons licenses are the legal foundation for most of the Open Education movement, since they are required for an educational resource to become an open educational resource (OER). Thus, for OERs to go mainstream, it is necessary to have a broader adoption of open education licensing policies, especially for educational resources produced with public funding.

Hensher, Martin, Katie Kish, Joshua Farley, Stephen Quilley, and Katharine Zywert. 2020. “Open Knowledge Commons versus Privatized Gain in a Fractured Information Ecology: Lessons from COVID-19 for the Future of Sustainability.” Global Sustainability 3.

In this intelligence briefing, Hensher, Kish, Farley, Quilley, and Zywert explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed serious problems, both for the public and for researchers, with the ways that knowledge is currently produced, shared, protected, and monetized. They argue that open knowledge commons are essential to global efforts to address these problems and their root causes. In the process, their briefing bridges the fields of health and medical sciences, information studies, sustainability, and information policy, with particular attention to conversations about COVID-19 and intellectual property, knowledge scarcity, and misinformation. However, the authors are equally concerned with other problems that are already apparent alongside—or that may emerge in the wake of—COVID-19. They advocate for open, publicly funded research and knowledge commons as the most promising means of improving global responses to such crises.

Δ Huang, Ronghuai, Ahmed Tlili, Ting-Wen Chang, Xiangling Zhang, Fabio Nascimbeni, and Daniel Burgos. 2020. “Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning during COVID-19 Outbreak in China: Application of Open Educational Practices and Resources.” Smart Learning Environments 7 (1): 19.

Huang et al. explain how to employ open educational practices (OEPs) and open educational resources (OERs) during the COVID-19 lockdown, focusing on China, where 270 million students were unable to return to universities and schools because of the pandemic. They discuss OERs and OEPs as possible effective solutions to overcome the challenges of lack of preparation time, isolation, and pedagogical approaches. After presenting several OEP definitions, they identify five conditions to create their own open educational practices framework: OERs, enabling technology, open teaching, open assessment, and open collaboration. Finally, the authors present their recommendations to enhance the future adoption of OERs and OEPs in China and internationally, which are: building the capacity of stakeholders to work with OERs; developing supportive open education policies; encouraging inclusivity and equity through open education; nurturing sustainability models for open education; and facilitating international cooperation.

Δ Israel, Maria Joseph. 2015. “Effectiveness of Integrating MOOCs in Traditional Classrooms for Undergraduate Students.” International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 16 (5): 102–18.

Israel reviews five studies that incorporated massive open online courses (MOOCs) in blended format in traditional classroom settings. These studies found that integrating the courses had modest positive impacts on learning outcomes, no negative effects for any subgroup of students, and lower levels of student satisfaction. Israel considers that MOOCs in traditional classrooms can be used as learning resources. The challenges are copyright issues, the time commitment to re-design the courses to incorporate them in a traditional classroom, and ensuring student engagement and satisfaction. Finally, the author recommends that institutions adopting MOOCs have strategic frameworks for course redesigns and MOOC implementations to significantly enhance students’ outcomes, while also reducing costs.

* Jones, Christopher. 2015a. “Institutional Supports for Openness.” In Networked Learning: An Educational Paradigm for the Age of Digital Networks, 124–26. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Jones asserts that in the interest of their development and sustainability, open educational resources (OERs) should be provided with varied institutional support, including on technical and funding fronts. Moreover, considering the large amount of information offered by OERs, universities have a responsibility to guarantee the quality of the materials they produce. Jones is afraid that without proper university support, OERs could become controlled by a technological elite and the business sector. As a result, they would lose their main purpose. He claims that OERs still have requirements for institutional structures, even taking into account the fact that they can replace, reform, or create new institutional approaches.

* Jones, Christopher. 2015b. “Openness, Open Educational Resources and the University.” In Networked Learning: An Educational Paradigm for the Age of Digital Networks, 120–24. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Jones explains the concept of networked learning and presents opinions regarding OERs from different scientists. He claims that the main feature of networked learning is the connection between students, learning communities, and learning resources. He argues that a benefit of the use of digital technologies is that it’s possible to copy and share materials without paying any charges. Usually, the creation of OERs happens at universities, as they are predominant educational and scientific centres. Apart from the benefits of OERs, he also points to their disadvantages, including the limited outcomes of open production processes and the mass consumption of openly produced products. He concludes that through development, production will move into practices, in such a way that OERs should change to open educational practices (OEPs).

Δ Keskin, Nilgün Özdamar, Apostolos Koutropoulos, Inge de Waard, David Metcalf, Michael Gallagher, Yayoi Anzai, and Köksal Buyuk. 2018. “National Strategies for OER and MOOCs From 2010 to 2020: Canada, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, UK, and USA.” In Administrative Leadership in Open and Distance Learning Programs, 188–212. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Keskin et al. explore the adoption of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open educational resources (OERs) in six countries distributed across the globe. They applied the Gartner hype cycle—a graph that visualizes the maturity and adoption of technologies—to trace the evolution of open resources since the 2000s, and they contend that after 2015, MOOCs reached the plateau of productivity. Each of the countries analyzed faces particular challenges in the adoption of OERs and MOOCs depending on their national contexts, but they all recognize the necessity of developing and using open resources. The authors conclude that there is room for growth in efficient OER use that ensures quality and implementation. Meanwhile, research into the efficiency and efficacy of MOOCs is growing across the countries, but the approach differs depending on national policy or the country’s previous experience and capacity, such as having a MOOC platform or partnerships with other countries.

Δ King, Monty, Mark Pegrum, and Martin Forsey. 2018. “MOOCs and OER in the Global South: Problems and Potential.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 19 (5).

King, Pegrum, and Forsey examine whether a “culture of learning” can be fostered in the Global South using massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open educational resources (OERs). They performed a literature review of 96 academic documents to identify the problems restricting the use of these resources in the Global South as well as their potential. The results pointed to five major themes limiting MOOC and OER uptake: access to the Internet; participant literacies (possible lack of English language proficiency and digital literacy); online pedagogies (finding the best pedagogical approaches and addressing resistance to online learning); the context of the resources; and the imbalances of knowledge flows between the Global North and South. However, the authors also think that these forms of online learning can meet at least some of the demand for education with the help of developments such as the increase of mobile Information and Communication Technologies use, opportunities for blended learning, and MOOC models that incorporate OERs.

+ Kondratova, Irina, and Ilia Goldfarb. 2004. “Virtual Communities of Practice: Design for Collaboration and Knowledge Creation.” In Proceedings of the European Conference on Products and Processes Modelling.

Kondratova and Goldfarb discuss knowledge dissemination and collaboration in online communities. They conduct a study on design functionality by looking at portal types that include institutional, governmental and organizational, professional, and social portals. The study includes 80 criteria grouped under content, discussion forum functionality, features, tools and learning modules, search functionality, membership, and topic experts. Based on this study, the authors develop a new template, as they believe that there is need for further similar investigations.

Δ Ossiannilsson, Ebba. 2021. “Some Challenges for Universities, in a Post Crisis, as Covid-19.” In Radical Solutions for Education in a Crisis Context: COVID-19 as an Opportunity for Global Learning, edited by Daniel Burgos, Ahmed Tlili, and Anita Tabacco, 99–112. Lecture Notes in Educational Technology. Singapore: Springer.

Ossiannilsson explores the impact that COVID-19 school closures will have on university students, academics, administrators, and managers. She argues that the pandemic showed the need for policies that support universal access to learning resources, while the surge of new open educational resources (OERs) during the pandemic demonstrated the value of openness and its potential to achieve inclusive education. To increase the support for online education beyond the pandemic, the author distinguishes between emergency remote learning, which was a temporary solution to the crisis, and online education, which is a complex process that requires careful planning and design. Ossiannilsson concludes that the pandemic will lead to a paradigm shift among higher education institutions around the globe, while initiatives in using OERs are now widely practiced by both academics and learners.

Δ Raposo-Rivas, Manuela, Esther Martínez-Figueira, and José Antonio Sarmiento-Campos. 2015. “A Study on the Pedagogical Components of Massive Online Courses.” Comunicar 22 (44): 27–35.

Raposo-Rivas, Martínez-Figueira, and Sarmiento-Campos explore the pedagogical concepts of 117 massive open online courses (MOOCs) delivered in the Spanish language on 10 different platforms to establish which course features are platform dependent. They found that platforms determine the pedagogical design of courses in five key areas: learning, activities and tasks, means and resources, interactivity, and assessment. The authors created the Instrument for Educational and Interactive Indicators in MOOCs (INdiMOOC-EdI). This instrument is a data sheet that the authors employed to collect information provided in the full description of the MOOCs focusing on four main components: identification data, descriptive features, educational features, and interactive features. The data obtained implies that the platforms constrain and restrict online courses, although some deploy a degree of flexibility among the different features of the instrument.

Δ Ruipérez-Valiente, José A., Sergio Martin, Justin Reich, and Manuel Castro. 2020. “The UnMOOCing Process: Extending the Impact of MOOC Educational Resources as OERs.” Sustainability 12 (18): 7346.

Ruipérez-Valiente et al. present a process called unMOOCing, which refers to making all the educational resources of a massive open online course (MOOC) available to download by the learners. The authors propose this process because these types of courses have pivoted toward more private directions that limit the retrieval and reuse of course materials. To apply this process, the authors taught a MOOC on open education that had all the materials (videos, presentations, questionnaires, and additional materials) available to download. The learners rated this component of the course the highest, with 90% of them downloading the materials. The authors believe that this sends a powerful message for bringing back the MOOC concept of openness through unMOOCing to contribute to the wider dissemination and democratization of education.

Δ Shen, Chien-wen, and Chin-Jin Kuo. 2015. “Learning in Massive Open Online Courses: Evidence from Social Media Mining.” Computers in Human Behavior 51 (October): 568–77.

Shen and Kuo employ various social media mining approaches to investigate Twitter messages related to MOOC learning. They applied trend, sentiment, and influencer analysis to 402,812 tweets containing the word “MOOC” and to 39,889 tweets with both the words “MOOC” and “learning” posted between June 2013 and May 2014. The authors found that people are five times more likely to tweet about MOOCs on weekdays than at the weekend. Their sentiment analysis shows that there is mixed public opinion around them, while the influencer analysis identified the critical Twitter accounts that disseminate positive or negative information about MOOCs. The accounts with the highest number of retweets in their messages about the courses were related to technology, education, business, and news media. The authors contend that this study can elucidate how MOOCs can be effectively improved based on the users’ perceptions and their social media habits.

Δ Toven-Lindsey, Brit, Robert A. Rhoads, and Jennifer Berdan Lozano. 2015. “Virtually Unlimited Classrooms: Pedagogical Practices in Massive Open Online Courses.” The Internet and Higher Education 24 (January): 1–12.

Toven-Lindsey, Rhoads, and Berdan Lozano explore the extent to which MOOCs provide students with high-quality, collaborative learning experiences by examining the pedagogical tools employed in 24 such courses of different disciplines and platforms. The authors rely on a framework developed by Arbaugh and Benbunan-Fich to analyze teaching in online education by its epistemological dimension (objectivist or constructivist) and its social dimension (individual or group). Their findings suggest that MOOCs tend to use objectivist-individual pedagogical practices, which involve the transfer of information from an expert to a novice. However, at least half of the courses they analyzed also incorporated an objectivist-group approach or a constructivist-individual approach, with components like discussion boards or independent activities related to content. The authors conclude that this study raises concern about MOOCs’ reliance on pedagogical strategies tied to objectivist and one-directional views of knowledge instead of more empowering forms of open online learning.

Δ Van Allen, Jennifer, and Stacy Katz. 2020. “Teaching with OER during Pandemics and Beyond.” Journal for Multicultural Education 14 (3/4): 209–18.

Van Allen and Katz address the inequalities in student access to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. They propose increasing the use of open educational resources (OERs) to lessen these disparities and close the achievement gap during and beyond the pandemic. Even though the pandemic led to the adoption of more online resources, much of the commercial content made temporarily available for free is at risk of becoming unavailable again once the pandemic ends. To prevent this, the authors state that the pandemic is the opportune time to introduce educators to OERs and advocate for their use over commercial materials made available for free during the crisis.

+ Veletsianos, George. 2015. “A Case Study of Scholars’ Open and Sharing Practices.” Open Praxis 7 (3): 199–209.

Velatsianos addresses the extent of enactment of open scholarship in institutions that lack a formal infrastructure to support such research. This is carried out through a case study on Tall Mountain University––a public, not-for-profit North American institution––specifically by working with faculty members. According to the case study, there are a number of ways in which open scholarship is carried out, with certain practices being favoured over others; some examples include open access manuscripts and educational resources, social media, and open teaching/pedagogy. Another finding is that some faculty members publish their materials openly on the Internet without attaching open licenses, and that the settings of the platform, as well as the institutional protocol, also affect the extent to which the material is accessible. Despite these findings, Veletsianos states that open scholarship is still a relatively narrow practice at the institution. The author outlines possible limitations of the research, such as open practices that may not have been revealed in the case study and possible limitations of Google Scholar (the search engine used for this research) that may prevent the study from being exhaustive. The study is also descriptive and does not address the motivations behind practicing open scholarship.

Δ Veletsianos, George. 2021. “Open Educational Resources: Expanding Equity or Reflecting and Furthering Inequities?” Educational Technology Research and Development 69 (1): 407–10.

Veletsianos argues that OERs, especially open textbooks, are a worthwhile response to consider during the shift to digital modes of teaching and learning, but he warns that, without scrutiny, such efforts may reflect or reinforce structural inequities. This scrutiny includes examining who creates OERs, who is and who is not represented in them, and who is cited in them to avoid reproducing structural inequities. Veletsianos concludes that OERs can be a mixed blessing, expanding inclusion and equity in areas like the cost of textbooks, but furthering inequities like a possible lack of diversity in the creation of the resources.

Δ Weinhardt, Justin M., and Traci Sitzmann. 2019. “Revolutionizing Training and Education? Three Questions Regarding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).” Human Resource Management Review 29 (2): 218–25.

Weinhardt and Sitzmann highlight strengths and weaknesses of the research on massive open online course (MOOC) effectiveness by asking three questions regarding these types of courses: Who enrolls in them and why? Are students self-aware and able to self-regulate their learning? Are MOOCs effective and how can their effectiveness be maximized? The authors found that wealthier, English-speaking countries have the most access to MOOCs. Regarding self-regulation, they consider that future research should study how students establish goals, perform in the class, and subsequently modify their learning strategies or abandon their goals. With regard to the last question, the authors think that researchers must compare the effectiveness of MOOCs with other instructional approaches, considering that the online courses are free and more global, but they have high drop-out rates.

Δ Wiley, David, and John Hilton. 2018. “Defining OER-Enabled Pedagogy.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 19 (4).

Wiley and Hilton argue that the wide range of definitions of open pedagogy make it difficult to conduct research on the topic. Therefore, they propose the term OER-enabled pedagogy to define the set of teaching and learning practices that are only possible or practical in the context of the 5R permissions (retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute) which are characteristic of open educational resources (OERs). The 5R permissions rely on Creative Commons licenses to allow saving and sharing copies of the content, building upon work previously done, or constructing new materials that can be publicly transformed and adapted without asking the copyright holder for permission. The authors offer a set of criteria to determine whether a particular approach is OER-enabled pedagogy. They conclude that as faculty come to understand the benefits of OERs for open pedagogy, its adoption will accelerate, which in turn will increase the quality and affordability of education.

Φ Winter, Caroline, Tyler Fontenot, Luis Meneses, Alyssa Arbuckle, Ray Siemens, and the ETCL and INKE Research Groups. 2020. “Foundations for the Canadian Humanities and Social Sciences Commons: Exploring the Possibilities of Digital Research Communities.” Pop! Public. Open. Participatory 2 (October 31). Commons as Sites of Connection > Historical and Theoretical Approaches to Knowledge Commons)

Δ Zhang, Ke, Curtis J. Bonk, Thomas C. Reeves, and Thomas H. Reynolds, eds. 2019. MOOCs and Open Education in the Global South: Challenges, Successes, and Opportunities. New York: Routledge.

Zhang et al. edit this book that discusses issues related to the implementation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open education in 47 countries of the Global South. The authors state that there is insufficient knowledge about the landscape of MOOCs and open educational resources (OERs) in the Global South, with over 82% of published empirical MOOC research through 2015 coming from North America and Europe. Therefore, they collect first-hand accounts of MOOC and OER initiatives, projects, and policies across Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the Pacific. The chapters cover historical perspectives of MOOCs, current practices and designs, MOOCs for professional development, multi-country collaboration, government policies, organizational innovations, and the future of these courses. According to the authors, the Global South must no longer rely on such courses from English-speaking countries or Ivy League universities because their success lies in developing courses specific to the needs of the local citizenry. Finally, the authors predict that MOOCs and open education will be an expected part of the learning journey of many people around the world and that Global South participants will be the majority of participants in this type of learning by 2040.

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