Our own views on openness (week 1)

During week 1, one of the activities is to reflect on our own views of openness: what do you think openness is? Focusing on your own field or context (if you wish), describe what it means to do work openly, or to make one’s activity or artifacts open. Alternatively, you could talk about what you think “openness” means generally, what sort of definition might fit all open activities or works.

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There is another blog post coming about my own views of Openness, but I thought I would share a tangentially related post that I wrote today about The Cost of Open (reacting to a TED talk video). Thoughts welcomed :smile: http://idstuff.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-cost-of-open.html

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I decided to post these initial views on Openness as a blog post. The link is here: http://idstuff.blogspot.com/2014/08/what-openness-means-to-me.html

Here are the first couple of paragraphs:
ith coursera MOOCs kind of slow this time of year, I decided to try out a MOOC on the subject of “Open” on P2PU. After my first P2PU course, #rhizo14, I thought I would flex the mental muscle a bit and get some P2PU experience. The topic of this week asks us to ponder what Openness means to us as individual participants. To be honest I haven’t really sat down to write up what I think of Openess. I’ve certainly discussed the topic with colleagues and friends over beer or coffee, but it’s been on specific topics, like MOOCs. Many in the xMOOC arena consider “open” to mean “free”. The previous post I wrote should have you convinced, to some degree, that Open isn’t free. There is some cost associated with it whether or not you get it gratis.

That said, for me Open is about a philosophy. It may mean a number of things:

  1. free-of-cost: In some instances, such as all those free MOOCs that you can sign up for (even this one!) you can get something for nothing. It doesn’t mean that there wasn’t some cost associated with it, such as labor-hours, or server space and bandwidth, but to you as the end-user, or consumer, it’s available at no cost. As an aside, I was download Ubuntu the other day, and right before the download link appeared it asked you if you wanted to donate to the project. If I ever built and offered a MOOC I was thinking of having a tip-jar link to see if people would contribute, and what they would contribute for (similar to Ubuntu’s site indicating what you’d like to support)

Hi AK, not sure at this time what openness means to me so thought I would start with thinking about your start.

  • free of direct cost - indirect could also be “signing up” to the philosophy, or making that commitment but how different is that from being reasonable and social
  • Open Access / Creative Commons - as an amateur scholar or serious hobbyist (?) I benefit, but also thinking about “open” compared to what is put “out there” on various platforms with a defined condition (e.g., author consent)
  • Open Data - need to find where this was but I have in mind something about “so others can use the data to say something about the organisation”

There was also a line from Jeff Merrell in the Google.doc about “visible + persistent”. So there may be policies of deposits and expectation of repositories remaining, but there is still a cost to be met.

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Thank you David :smile:
Indeed, there are possibilities of putting pre-press versions of your articles and chapters into institutional repositories and self-archive sites. I’ve actually seen this in action over the years but the problem is that if you want to focus on big journals in the field, the ones that are closed, even if some articles are in the open, your methodology is a bit flawed since you didn’t get everything of interest in that journal .

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OK - so I’m way out of my league here. I’ll post and get out of the way. OPEN never had the aroma of free for me. It is an exposure of the artistic self that gets its courage from the stated boundaries. It seems more like a B-boy’s challenge - a dance-off. The invitation to riff off of a personally refined art. It is both a mark of respect and push of the art form to new heights or not. And it is rebellious. It is outside what others have said is in permission.
'nuff from me,


Hi Joe,

There was the original comment about your own field or context. AK example of Open Access I can see from an “academic” view (or if you already have gravitas your research or articles in big journals as well as open repositories). But that is not for me.

Yes I see the “open” of the artistic to offer something up and probably without expectation. Without payment, response or feedback? Or is that the hobbyist (if I am being blunt). So you need to be ready to accept feedback and be ready to engage. Not take it or leave it.

So if AK puts up his syllabus, I look up past peers and see similar themes and topics recycled from what we were “taught” before.

All the best Joe, cheers David

I do not know enough about Open Access, gold and green, gratis and libre etc., but think about it more for the written word and research? And for someone within an institution or satisfying funding.

Just because it is “out there” does not mean your work will get more exposure or impact. The credibility of the big journal and the sign posting.

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I hope you come back and share more! That was a great post. I think that if we were in our element, courses would be boring. Yes, there is a safety element with knowing a little bit about the topic and being able to say something that won’t be “wrong” but I am a firm believe that we learn through experience, and even having a moment of cluelessness is OK. We can’t know everything about everything. This is why I like these courses - a variety of people that I can learn a lot from (and hopefully I know something that is valuable to them)

by the way, I love b-boy dances, I wish could these dances! :smiley:

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@David_Jones very true. As an author one is banking on the credibility of the journal to shine it’s warm glow on the author, it is in fact a seal of approval. That said, I don’t trust journals unconditionally. I’ve seen journals retract articles now, years later, when falsified data was discovered. If peer review worked perfectly those articles would have never made it to press. On the converse side, I see articles that COULD, with some TLC and author help, be published, but those authors are outright rejected if peer reviewers come back with anything other than an unconditional accept (or provisional accept based on small edits).

Maybe when I’ve finished reading the trails of previous Why Open participants I’ll have an understanding. Happy to learn.

Hi peers,

I’m Nisha Desai from Cape Town, South Africa. I recently resigned from my 9-5 job because I was unhappy in that environment. I felt very free, but I learnt there is a difference between being open and free. I am very anti money and I feel that even the people who are very religious, and go to church and work, but aren’t nice people to everyone, then honestly, they shouldn’t be getting paid as well, even if they do their “jobs” correctly. However, I have worked around this by pretending that everyone is here on earth to teach us some characteristic that we need to learn. I was brought up in a religious time without knowing much about any and have instead followed a more agnostic “scientific” approach works better for me. Openness to me means knowing the truth and then proceeding from there, hopefully without requiring money to do so, in the aims of growth, not only for myself, but for the benefits of humanity too and our planet

I really liked this post, and commented on your blog!

Hey AK, i agree on the philosophy aspect, I’m calling it an “attitude” as well, and I blogged about it here. Posting the link now, then will join the discussion that’s already started here :slight_smile:

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Hey, RE: open access books, have you thought of options that publish only OA books, like Hybrid Pedagogy (yes they also published a couple books) and other places (Dave Cormier had a place for an open access book somewhere).

I also faced the issue of authors who will only publish OA. My publisher said edited books are really hard to publish OA coz readers will download chapters they want and never purchase the full book, as opposed to single author books that some may prefer to buy on kindle or whatever

Hi Nisha, I am anti-money, too! In many ways :slight_smile: but what bothers me most is when people want to do things free and open, and then someone with commercial interests steps in and takes advantage of that, finding ways to profit from it. I realize everyone needs to make money to survive in current times, but there are so many ways to do useful things and help each other for very low cost…

Just diving in too because knew nothing really about Open Access (not my field), see benefits for me that there is “openness” but not really appreciating what that means :wink:

@MahaBali Hybrid Pedagogy never actually came to mind because I keep associating them with academic blogging :slight_smile: This is something to keep in mind for future projects :smile:

@MahaBali this reminds me of a Web 2.0 “service” that was announced a few weeks ago had everyone upset. This person would book a table at highly sought after restaurants with no intent on going, but he would sell his place to people who did want to go. Some people praised his as an entrepreneur. I say he’s a leech on society :angry:

As a side note, it’s pretty funny that you read Sally’s post about Ubuntu (as a philosophy) and then my own #whyopen post mentioned Ubuntu as a Linux version :smile:

@mahabali yes… I have chosen to see it as a Santa thing. People with good character get rewarded more than the people who are mean and rude. Also there intention and motivation that causes their words and actions are very important in judging this correctly. Priorities too. I’ve seen my good people in shit jobs, wanting more from life but restricted be their past life decisions. And if one learns from their past mistakes and grows in character but not necessarily monetarily wise, there should be some benefit for that. The others, well they’ll end up being stuck in the “normal” system due to their in the box thinking.