Through Struggle and Indifference – now available!

Yes, I’m delighted to announce that (with insufficient fanfare given how much blood, sweat and tea went into its creation) my thesis Through Struggle and Indifference: the UK academy’s engagement with the open intellectual commons. is now available online and open access.

Regular readers will note I’ve managed to hide no fewer than 2 jokes in its pages – albeit minor ones.  And that’s not including the doubtless myriad of typos that are still in there too.

Guess this means I need to revise the other pages of this blog now to bring them up to date too.  Now, I just need to either re-write the whole damned thing into a book – or start writing some papers from it…the labour never ceases!

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Are we there yet? Looking back during phase II field work

Interviewing.  Transcribing.  Planning for interviews. Negotiating interview appointments.  That’s about it.  But how am I doing?

Phase II research interviews to date:

  • Activists: 33% [+100% pending]
  • Learned societies: 40% [+50% pending]
  • Publishers: 70% [+30% pending]
  • Funders: 67% [+83% pending]
  • Academics 55% [+25% pending]

That’s since 2nd July when I sent out my original requests to interview.  Pretty good response from the academic and publishing community, and with some gentle prompting the rest have been pretty good too.  Pretty sure I’ve had my longest and shortest interview for this phase already…but I remain to be surprised.

Time to start picking my wave II academics I think.  Also…still trying to work out which is any governmental doors to knock on, as I really don’t expect to have much success in getting people on the phone there!  Also, think I might need to approach another half dozen learned societies from my list just to round out my figures.

The Pit and the Pendulum

My it’s been a week, and what a week it’s been.  I barely feel like my feet have touched the ground and yet I look at how much I’ve done…and it seems pitiful.  Let’s review.

Supervisory meeting

Let joy be unconstrained for I have managed (as of Friday) to get a meeting sorted with my supervisors for next week.  About 1 months after I requested it.  I know Easter got in the way, but boy oh boy that was harder work that it needed to be.

Teaching: Media & Communications

First week of the PR presentations – and they were both jolly enjoyable ideas with good and bad points as you might expect, but decent efforts all the same.  Really wish we could do more of this sort of exercise as I love seeing the students really let their imagination and intellects be unleashed.  A fair bit of behind the scenes work as well giving support, advice and occasionally wielding a big stick to keep some of the groups in order.  All the same, gonna miss this lot with just two more weeks to go with them.  Especially as one student told me something very flattering about my teaching and support – I’m not going to brag it, but it was one of those moments that you live for as any kind of teacher.  Kinda rather humbling too, you sometimes forget the effect you have on these bright young things’ lives.

Teaching: Facebook and Communications

Essay hand back week, which means I ran an essay writing and exam revision potted master-class; which I think went down well.  Almost wish we’d run it sooner – but then I guess in the wake of the essay marks at least the students were at their most receptive.  A bit of support, hand holding and advice needed for some students in the wake of their grades.  I know they can all do better, so I just need to try and encourage them to revise well and get themselves geared up for tip-top exam performance.

Teaching: Digital Identities

This rather filled up the first two days of the week writing/finishing and delivering my lecture on open access to the 2nd year students.  Not a stellar experience – 8 students out of ~60 showed up (it was, in their defense, a lovely sunny day outside); and 2 of these left after 30 minutes of a two hour slot.  Audience were either bored to tears or captivated by my every word.  Sadly I think it was the former, and I’ll confess I did rather try and cram too much in.  Another time I’d a) reduce the amount I used b) insist on a fee.  Was a useful exercise all the same revisiting my knowledge on the subject, and drawing on stuff I’ve written for the thesis too.  Sadly I don’t think I sent them out energised on the topic.  Indeed the only question at the end was “Doesn’t OA mean that you let knowledge out that shouldn’t be out there?“.  Wasn’t geared up for a discussion on academic self-censorship and the ethics of publication (shame, it’d be a good topic to delve into) and it certainly knocked me sideways a little.  Still at least there was a question after all the long, long silence.  I was glad to re-emerge into the sunshine afterwards.

Surprise Conference

Found out on Friday that there’s a local media conference in July…and that the deadline for submissions was the same day.  Hence Friday suddenly became all about writing a conference proposal.  Have decided to bite the bullet and talk about neoliberalism in higher education relating to OA, rather than just giving it the odd throwaway slide.  No idea if it’ll get in – I don’t have a great record of acceptance at local events.  International and national events, yep I can get accepted for them – but PhD level events…nope!

Reading

This week I’ve collected a stack of papers and some more books to read.  Started reading the book I need to read for a book review as well.  Next week, serious reading can begin.  I feel the energy slipping away from me, having probably worked a 45+hour week already as I write this.  Did pick up a few papers on twitter due to discussions I saw going on which were handy to run off for a proper read.

Marking

Yeah…just when you thought you were ought, they pull you back in.  Marking discussions all over the start of the week as material I’d marked was moderated and as I moderated other people’s work.  Bit of a disagreement on a few of the papers too, which set off a long email chained discussion.  This is, apparently, not a bad thing but part of the robust marking system.  Did feel a bit backed into a corner at times (hard when you’re disagreeing with the marking of the module leader and you’re just a poorly hourly paid PGR tutor) but stood my ground on some.  Gave way on others.  All part of the cut and thrust of thrilling academia.

UKSG

Yeah…I really need to write up a reflection on this conference over the weekend or something…

A Lovely Time the Day We Went to Bangor

What a two weeks it’s been, a real roller-coaster of work, more work, travel, sickness and finally a little something that almost felt like down time.  Almost.  One of the givens of working on a PhD is any time you stop you start feeling guilty about working (you know, forgetting about all the extra hours and hours you’ve put in elsewhere).  A process of take not give it seems.  Anyway, here are the recent highlights of the past couple of weeks.

  • SPARC Europe Roadshow: Went across to Coventry University on the 4th Nov to a roadshow organsised by SPARC Europe.  I was mostly going as one of my supervisors suggested it, but it was also a chance to catch up on developments in the field.  Some very good talks from the likes of Prof Rupert Gatti (who I heard speak in June too), Prof Gary Hall and Dr Jonathan Hall, mostly focusing on open book publishing.  Very interesting to hear about the economic and practical models, as much for my own benefit as I would be talking about OA in Wales the following week.  Buttonholed Prof Hall at the end for a few questions, and to ask if it was okay if I followed up with him at some point as an interview subject.  Think that would be a very interesting discussion indeed.  I will add that Coventry remains a nightmare to drive and park in, which reminds me why I never normally go there.  Still, driving there and back cut the travel time from somewhere over 3hrs to about 90 minutes there and back!
  • Bangor University, Nov 2014Bangor University: Spent 9-11th November in Bangor, where I was speaking at two events on copyright.  I was talking about creative commons, open licences, free culture and (yes, no shock) open access.  One event was for Welsh librarians, the other for local academics.  Seemed to go down well, although I struggled to get my slides in under time (as you’ll see below I’ve had an awful fluey cold that seriously knocked me sideways – was still fighting it even in Wales).   Next time (if there is one!), one slide I think in total and I’ll just talk!  Folks who hosted me at Bangor University were lovely, and I can’t thank them enough for the invite.  Although next time I’m booking my own hotel (first night in my choice of Premier Inn was lovely, second night in their more expensive choice…yeah, let’s just say i’d never stay at that venue ever again!).  Both talks are available online:
  • Sickness: Came down with a cold a week last Wednesday, managed to teach Thursday and Friday (just) and work on my talks for Wales; but lost many hours to just needing to sleep in the day (and failing to sleep at night with nasal drip and crippling sinus headaches).  Not sure I was 100% okay to travel on Sunday, but I didn’t want to let people down.  As it was I had to bail on some of the more social elements of the Wales trip as a result of sheer post-cold exhaustion.  And as of writing 10 days after coming down with it I’ve still got the traces of it lingering.  Mrs Llama’s had it at exactly the same time, so at least we can understand what the other’s been suffering from!
  • Day off: Having worked right through the weekend to get my talks for Bangor ready, and travelling across England and Wales I took a whole day off when I got back.  And spent it struggling to get Fallout 3 to work on Windows 7.  Gave up in the end, damn it, I loved that game!
  • Teaching: Thanks to RED Week this week I’ve not had any teaching (boo for no pay, but hooray for some time back).  That said I’ve still been having a fair few email exchanges advising my students.  Not that i get paid for this part of the job, it’s all just extra exploitation of the PhD student resource by the university – and thankfully I’m not the only one who gets just a mite concerned about this.  Previous week I led sessions on leadership (101) and media law (102).  The leadership session fell a little flat I felt with the students, none of whom really stepped forward into a leadership role in the class exercises.  Was this due to me fighting a cold, the material or a lack of leadership potential in the class?  Dunno to be honest, but I felt rather deflated by the end of the session.  Media law on the other-hand despite the class not looking forward to it went fairly well.  Had some very active discussions around what you can/can’t do (or indeed get away with) in media legally with some splendid examples.  Most amused by at least one group who seemed to be channeling the News of the World in terms of legal ethics…do hope they were paying attention to what could be the result!  Next time looks like there’s a spot of role-playing for me to do too, so that should be great fun!
  • Planning and preparation: So what’s next…planning, background reading, preparing for my hopeful round of interviews with academics.  Need to start setting these up to run over the next few months, but can’t really press ahead until I’ve had discussions with my supervisors next week.  So just trying to do as much constructive work as I can for now.
  • Summer School: Oh yes among all this work, illness, teaching and travel I also wrote a 2000 word paper proposal and application to attend a summer school in Germany next year.  No idea at all if I stand much of a chance (suspect it’s slim) but I did have a very useful discussion with Kornelia about it (she’s applying as well) over Skype.  I miss our weekly discussions when we were both teaching module 101!  Don’t actually see any other PhDs or academics now on a regular basis at all.  Damn the lack of office space in the dept…maybe I should just find an empty corner and set myself up in it! 😉

Another Chapter Bites the Dust

And another week ticks by.  Let’s look at the high spots

  • Theory chapter: After much wrestling and hoping that I’d have it done by the end of Tuesday even promising to let my supervisors have sight of it then) I ended up dispatching it to them at Wednesday lunchtime.  The discussion ended up being a bit longer than I’d planned, not to mention not quite as polished as I’d like; but decided the time was right to divest myself of it.  And then move onto other pressing tasks (of which there are always many it seems!).
  • Supervisory meeting: Of course once I’d sent the chapter, then I needed to set up a meeting with my supervisors to talk about it.  What with the RED week (u/g reading week) which one of them is taking off and other duties I’m not getting to see them until late November.  Great, I’d be downhearted if I hadn’t got at least 3 days out of the office (at events) and 6 days teaching between then, so I’m hardly going to be idle.  It’s always a mixture of terror and relief every time I send one of these chapters off (for the record this is fourth) – glad to reach a milestone but very nervous as to the academics’ reaction to it.  They may hate it…but I shall see.
  • Teaching: This week it was looking at cultural propaganda (largely slagging off the TED talks as an extension of the neoliberal capitalist subsumption of creative sector) and deconstructing adverts (dismantling their persuasive tricks).  The latter was good fun, although I was a bit down on student numbers and enthusiasm.  Perhaps this Thursday night was a big party night, but they weren’t the sparkiest they’ve been.  Shame really as I think it’s a jolly interesting area.  Thankfully though there were some insightful comments from them, so that cheered me up.  The other session…well it was another “read this long paper and discuss” sessions.  I know from experience that most of the students don’t get off on this kind of seminar, so I did my level best to try and draw out the key points in the discussions.  Not sure I quite hit the mark – next week media law which should be more interesting…I hope!
  • Web profile: The uni is finally giving PhD students a Web profile page that others can see – so I spent an afternoon writing mine.  A little limiting to only be able to have “400 words” for my publications – if you combine all my conference papers, articles, book chapters and guest lectures…there’s around 150 of them alone which gives me less than 3 words for each one.  And that’s ignoring the nearly 50 book reviews I’ve written.  Clearly the university continues to be set up to deal with M-level entrants to PhD rather than returning professionals – it’s rather shockingly antiquated systematically, but at least we do finally get these pages – and before I leave too!
  • Summer School: My post-teaching Friday job was to write the outline of my summer school application for an event in Germany next year.  No idea if I’ll stand much of a chance of getting in, but worth a go.  Trying to sort out a 2 page CV was somewhat of a nightmare mind you.  Can see this task stretching through into next week.
  • Copyright alternatives lecture: This is due a week on Monday, but I’ve only just outlined it.  Going to be priority number one next week to write this.

A Week In October

So what did I get up to this week?

  • Theory chapter: It’s all done bar the shouting.  Or rather bar the discussion at the end where I tie everything together.  Fingers crossed that I can finish writing that bit on Monday and share it with my supervisors for discussion – as I’ve a couple of other things I need to sort out (application for a summer school and a conference talk) that are getting a bit time sensitive.
  • Teaching: Classes this week on creative industries and conversation analysis.  The former of which involved the students reading an article by Russell Brand and considering what it told us about the media representation of celeb culture and the political undercurrents (think bread and circuses and you’re not too far off the beam). Good discussions in that one, including one student who said he wished we had 2hrs to talk about it.  And another who suggested I might just make it as a Z-list celeb.  I have doubts about that 🙂  CA session wasn’t quite so energised (but then I teach that one first thing on Fridays).  Involved returning to watch an EastEnders clip which they’d seen before, but this time with the sound on.  Spent a while after class going through a few bits of the session in more detail with a few students, which was a nice follow on – shame I don’t get paid for those bits!  Also had someone come and (very politely) moan about the sound from the video bleeding through into their classroom.  Whoops!  University needs thicker classroom walls.
  • Weather: Aside from the near-hurricane on Tuesday, and the down pour on Friday…erm, not much to talk about.  Except to say autumn is most certainly here now!
  • Open Access Week: It was open access week this week…which sadly meant very little to me.  Noticed NTU did put on a couple of events, which was good – but I couldn’t get to these easily, and didn’t want to take too much time out of my schedule.  Boo.
  • Supervisors: Saw both my supervisors in passing – one of whom suggested it’s time for a meeting.  Managed to fob him off with promises of a chapter early next week (so deadline time!)  Always marginly terrified of these meetings – they’re great guys, but I’m never sure if they’re going to tell me I’m talking complete and utter BS in my thesis or just give me more work to do.  Or probably both.  Hell, who needs to sleep!  At least these days thanks to the right blend of vitamin supplements I seem to have gotten a hold of my poor energy levels in the working day.  No more crushing exhaustion headaches for me.  Just very, very sore paws from walking 18miles at high speed last Sunday…

Back in the Saddle

Monday (w/b 14th July )

A day spent feeling utterly wasted and horrifically bruised (thanks to a weekend away LARPing).  Spent it trying to stay awake, failing and then around 3pm plonked myself in front of the keyboard to start writing a paper I’ve got a deadline for this Friday…to discover my supervisor wants a meeting.  Nothing from him for two months and on the day I’m barely awake he reappears.  Gah.  Set a meeting for Thursday which means I’ll need to send him my 2 chapters by Weds.  Doubt I’ll get much more done on them before then, but no mileage in being too eager.  Did at least get the formatting all set up for the article.

Tuesday

Day spent feeling less bruised and a lot more mentally active, if feeling horribly stressed (although of late that’s basically my SOP).  Article drafted and almost done in a day, though around 6pm I just had to stop as my eyes were struggling to stay open.  Will give it a final polish tomorrow when I’m (hopefully) more awake.

Highlight of the day, some architects turning up to measure the house.  I thought they were due Friday, turns out they were due Thursday.  Everybody agreed to be wrong, and we’ll meet up again on Friday after all (which makes me technically correct; the best kind of correct)

Wednesday

Editing, lots of editing.

Thursday

Bright and early drive in for a meeting with my supervisors…which turned into a nearly 2hr thing filled with discussions.  Somewhat shocked that they’re really pleased with my progress and level of production – I constantly feel like I’m never working hard enough, so maybe that’ll assuage the guilt a little bit.  Director of Studies even asked if I was looking to submit later this year.  Nearly fell off the chair at that one, I think he was joking  – and frankly there’s still so much to do and be written about that it’ll never happen.  On the other hand we did discuss pulling back on some of the empirical work, as it may well be that I’ll have developed enough scholarly material without going through all of it; or at least to the level I originally planned.

PhD in a nutshell – an evolving ever changing beast!

Came home and started working on my talk for next Tuesday’s conference a bit.  But frankly the heat of the day did for me and I didn’t get too far.

Friday

Day spent writing, rewriting, rehearsing and redesigning my conference talk for Sheffield iFutures conference next week.  Fairly happy with the talk, although it’s a bit long and there’s some elements that don’t quite work as well as I’d hope.  Only having 15 minutes means I’m perhaps trying to squeeze too much into it.  Will come back on Monday and give it a final polish.

Monday (w/b 21st July)

Another hot day which saw me in battle with my presentation.  Spent a lot of time revising it to bring it down to well under 15 minutes, but without cutting too much core content.  Some of the slides I’m using are still way too busy, but in the end I managed to get it down to 15 minutes.  Will probably have to speed through it a bit too much.  Plan for next conference paper – one slide I think 🙂

Tuesday

The biggest cake in the world...and there were two of them
The biggest cake in the world…and there were two of them

Day spent in Sheffield at iFutures 2014 which was in part nostalgic and part shocking to see how much of Sheffield has changed since I was last back.  An interesting conference, although as always I think my interests were a little to the left of centre of the conference themes itself (not being a real-librarian researcher type for one), but the folks organising the day were splendid.  Papers and presentations from the day are online now – or you can access my presentation or the paper I wrote to accompany it (Cultural Influences on Academics’ Open Scholarly Dissemination Practice in UK HEIs).  Won a book as well on library metrics which looks interesting (and after I was rude about Neo-Tayloristic managerialism subsuming HE discourse too!).

Had a splendid meet up with some old friends before I went to catch the train, so a not bad day at all!

Wednesday

In a bit of a post-conference slump, and chewing over a few things that happened that slightly irked me.  Rather distracted me from efforts to edit truth be told which was somewhat of a frustration.  Don’t think the continued heat wave is helping things much either – so hot it is damned hard to work!  Realised the deadline for the September East-Midlands PhD conference is this Thursday and I wanted to put in a short paper for that too.  So ignored the editing and wrote this, a development on a theme from the Sheffield paper designed to be addressed to a more multidisciplinary audience.  About to mail it in and realised I’d made it far too pompous, so ended up making some last minute modifications before submitting.  Can’t believe 250 polished words took the best part of the day to write!

Thursday

Woke up with a sore neck, which I put down to sleeping awkwardly – but also a shockingly low level of energy.  Ascribed this to a lack of desire to edit the conclusions of this chapter.  I’ve put off doing this for a while, and ended up dumping all kinds of other bits of text here which means it is somewhat of a melange of information.  Managed through bleary eyes to do a top level rewrite on paper, but in the afternoon my sore neck turned into swollen glands – or rather gland (the left hand one).  And the low energy resulted in me falling asleep on my keyboard.  Dragged myself to bed and just slept – or tried to, as it now hurts when ever I swallow – and I’m swallowing a lot as my throat is dry.  Damn it, it’s a cold most likely and I’m planning to be away LARPing on Saturday.  Hopefully it’ll clear up over night and I’ll feel much brighter tomorrow.

Frustrating as I’d hoped to be done with this chapter draft by Friday at the latest, and now it looks like it’ll be Mon/Tue next week before its done.

Friday

Fat chance.  Terrible night’s sleep.  Left hand tonsil on fire, throat half closed off and it hurts to swallow anything.  Pain killers help make the pain bearable, but the exhaustion. Oh the exhaustion.  Basically half the day spent in bed sleeping/trying to sleep.  Sulking as think the weekend is probably wreaked.

ACLAIIR Seminar: Open Access – the future of academic publication?

2014-06-17 13.03.28On Tuesday 17th June I headed over to Cambridge University to attend a seminar organised by the ACLAIIR (Advisory Council on Latin American & Iberian Information Resources).  While only a few hours in length it was an engaging afternoon, which I used mostly to spur me onwards in my current thesis writing and also to bring myself up to date on one or two things in the OA world.  The afternoon was split into 2 halves, with 3 speakers in each section – so it was a pretty packed agenda.  It was also well worth the 4hrs+ of driving (thanks to diversions on route) it took me to get there and back, and I’m very grateful to the ACLAIIR folks for pulling it together.

Some brief notes and reflections follow*.

Panel 1:  Perspectives from the world of publishing

First speaker was Ellen Collins (who I swear I’ve met before but couldn’t 100% place where) from OAPEN UK.  She explained that among the thing OAPEN is doing is seeking to understand the issues and challenges in scholarly book publishing relating to OA, an area where it is believed there is very little real world data  It’s a 5 year project (spanning 2010-2015) with two main strands, and she stressed they are agnostic about OA.  The project is very much focused on AHSS (arts, humanities & social science) scholars, who as noted elsewhere have very different usage patterns and priorities when it comes to research dissemination.

The first is a matched paired pilot where working with publishers they seek to find similar book titles, one of which is sold as normal and the other of which is also made available as OA at the point of launch.  Sales and citations of the works are tracked, to see what is the impact for publishers and the research community’s use of the text.  She stressed however that this was only a small number of monographs (~45 made OA), and that the visibility of these works may not be sufficient for real world usage as of yet.   The other side of the work is a piece of qualitative work with dissemination stakeholders exploring what changes need to come about in the existing monograph world where OA monographs to become more common.

Early findings seem to focus on four areas.  the first seems to indicate that the systems and processes used by publishers and vendors are not set up to deal with OA texts, with ICT sometimes being unable to cope with items with a zero-rated price mark or DRM being set to allow temporary rather than permanent usage of an eBook.  In terms of cultures and priorities, many stakeholders are open to openness but needs to work in ways that fit into their existing world views; for example HEIs like OA monographs…but not if they have to subsidise them.  The third stems from this, and is the issue of money, as many UK publishers are not open to discussing the real costs of producing an academic text -with figures from £11k – £150 being quoted demonstrating a real variance.  Ellen did note the project hadn’t really considered green OA for monographs, and the impacts here could also be significant to the publishing sector.  The final issue was around diversity and choice, again focusing on how to fund OA monographs – library based models, research funded models or even crowdsourced models (e.g. UnGlue.It)

The second speaker was one I was very keen to hear, given my personal research interest in research dissemination actors. Daniel Pearce from Cambridge University Press (CUP) for whom is OA still a very small but a growing aspect of their business which they are excited to see if grows over the coming years.  The idea of increasing of accessibility chimes with CUP’s mission.  CUP works he noted with green, gold and hybrid aspects of OA.  CUP are also trying to publish books under a freemium model (e.g. get an OA copy for free, or purchase an enhanced eBook).  However as a traditional publisher he expressed are concerns about the OA models, and the needs of different stakeholders.  For example given their importance to their various disciplines, the reliance many Learned Societies have on journal sales for their funding streams, is something CUP acknowledges.  Hence at times the publisher has equal levels of excitement and trepidation round OA.

Daniel did note that in total they have published 1072 articles through OA routes in their titles to date, with 50% of these coming in 2013; and so he expected this level to grow.  Currently it represents only 2% of their publications output however.  One cautionary tale around APC funded gold route OA, was in disciplines with a lot of images in their articles.  These often required expensive clearance (either in time or funding) and thus risked putting up APC levels to a much higher degree than in some disciplines.  However in terms of green OA, he was happy that CUP more than satisfied most mandates and in many cases went beyond the base requirements.

While Daniel’s talk was in part a bit of a sales pitch, it did represent a publisher who seemed to be as on board with the concepts and practice of OA as I’ve heard in quite some time; and his acknowledgement that OA was no longer exceptional practice was particularly interesting to hear.

The final talk for this section was the very engaging Rupert Gatti, who as well as being the co-founder and Director of Open Book Publishers is also an economics professor at Cambridge.  OBP solely published AHSS monographs in OA, and are primarily funded through selling print editions (60%) and some grants (25%) and donations forming the rest of their funding stream.

He opened his talk by stressing that OA is the future of publishing is no longer in question, but rather should be phrased as what is the future of OA publishing?  He considered the three things he needs as an academic from dissemination: access to other people’s ideas, a way to distribute his own ideas and a means to gain recognition for his contribution.  He talked for a considerable amount of time about dissemination platforms, and the dominance in the legacy (traditional) model of publishing by publishers.  This dominance means that they were monetising the process at this point, so readers were the ones paying and it made economic sense to increase the amount of content uploaded (published) via the controlled platform.  The publisher monopology control has been challenged by OA and introduced competition in terms of where you can disseminated your research.

While OA had opened up the kinds of platforms available, there is still a risk that commercial entities will seize this opportunity to reassert their control [personally I wondered how much the commercial CRIS companies are playing a part in this, as they offer repository-like functions].  In the same way Facebook offers a free platform for social dissemination, but then can use your content to monetise; so too could publishers.  Libraries, he stressed, as a community needed to be aware of these platforms and think/act to prevent the resurgence of commercial monopolising and control.  In terms of platforms that exist for OA he had 3 models. 1) Pre-publication/pre-peer review sites like arXive and OAIRs; which he said he believed were not in a good state in terms of discoverablility of their contents – and hence there is scope for significant development here.  2) Post-publication/peer review suites like SciELO or DOAJ, where publishers submit to these.  3) Publisher platforms, which is perhaps where the greatest risk of control and monetisation comes in – even PLOS if it monopolised could end up charging whatever it wanted for APCs.

He finished by looking at some of the particular challenges, the fact that there are far fewer (or less well developed) OA monograph platforms.  That publishers’ control of the peer review process was an issue where academics needed to take back more control, but needed to maintain it in terms of ensuring a quality assurance in research discourse.

A Q&A session for the three speakers followed, with the most interesting point being around concerns over copyright and plagiarism as a result of OA.  After stressing the time honoured remark that plagiarism is easier to detect via online OA resources; there was a brief discussion about how these concerns are now ingrained in the HE environment within teaching and learning, and hence academic praxis.  What isn’t are issues around licences and what is acceptable or not, and these are things that should be taught to students so it becomes common knowledge for them.

Panel 2: OA and its impact on research and teaching

First up after the break was University of Lincoln (and future Birkbeck) academic Martin Eve.  I’ve heard Martin speak before, and if like me you’ve read the entire transcript of his oral remarks to the House of Lords inquiry on OA, then you’ll know he’s a very knowledgeable and engaging speaker in this field!  He certainly didn’t disappoint (even if he admitted being unable to remember my real name when we were chatting – Your Llordship is a fine address in future Martin 😉

Martin had been asked to talk about peer review and OA but had decided to discuss what’s wrong with the research dissemination system as it stands, and how do quality issues and economics intersect.  As a PhD student he had witnessed three problems with the system:

1) Inequality for researchers – publishers profits are frighteningly high, even inside a recession indicating a market dysfunction.  Hence while researchers don’t have access to all they need there must be sufficient money in the system to publish, but it’s locked into a demand cycle which needs to transition to a supply side system. Given the 300% increase over inflation since 2006 in journal prices, and when even Harvard says their subscriptions are not sustainable it is clear the system is broken.  However researchers have no price sensitivity so economics are divorced from universities.  Scholars publish based on prestige where its the journal and publishers whose brands that are used as measures; whereas it is the article level metrics that should really matter – not the average of every scholar in a title.

2) Lack of public access – he stressed that the Humanities should think about how and what they write and where they publish.  Given that we have a [mass] HE system today, we have a much more educated general populace who are likely to want to continue to access the literature for life-long learned once they leave academia – which is unlikely via traditional routes given the prices charged for academic texts and articles.  Hence scholars are not reaching the broader audience that could read our work.

3) Inability to do things differently due to restrictive rights – he stressed the gift economy approach is tied up in current academic dissemination practice, which means the vastly expensive CLA licence is required to recover access for teaching purposes.  Hence research dissemination that cleaves to traditional routes, does impact adversely on teaching.  Martin was pleased to report that the Hargreaves recommendation for allowing text-mining of work is now permitted by default, but that this still wasn’t perfect as some techniques remain prohibited – e.g. derivatives are prohibited so line by line critique of a literary text is not allowed without further (c) clearance.

Hence Martin said that OA was very much a solution to these kinds of problems, and that with the rise in national mandates (and internationally like Horizon2020) 2013 represented a tipping point towards this.  Green OA is well developed and successful in the UK, but doesn’t solve some of these problems in that it leaves the model as it stands; working within the current model more than seeking to challenge it.  He also explained how a green pre-print for many humanities scholars isn’t any good as some publishers require page numbers to be quoted directly from referenced texts.  Gold OA he said met many needs, but APC costs means it is not affordable for all scholars who may face a restriction in their ability to publish.  He then looked at the drivers for OA, which led him to conclude that whatever form is eventually adopted mus have a lean operating model and be able to rapidly gain prestige in contrast to established forms of dissemination.

To this end he discussed the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), a mega or multi-journal which uses a collective funding model, and which will have a system of overlay journals underneath allowing individual titles to be developed from the collections.  By sourcing 120 initial articles from across the academic spectrum they hope to ensure sufficient prestige from the start.  They have also brought in academics, librarians, publishers and Learned Societies from the start to help shape the OLH into a form that will serve their communities effectively.  He stressed the funding model means that currently 350 organisations paying only $1,000 was sufficient to fund the infrastructure, as well as giving the funders control over the governance; something that publishers certainly don’t offer in return for subscriptions.

Next up was another familiar speaker, and in this case friend of mine, City University academic Ernesto Priego.  Ernesto is another passionate and wonderful speaker to listen to, and brought some very interesting and personal insights into his talk.  He focused on his journey from his student days in Mexico, where the practice of copying entire books may breach international copyright but is essential in a nation where the cost prohibits sufficient copies from being made available.  This illicit practice made him long for a licit manner in which this kind of material could be made available to scholars;.  He also discussed publishing his first article…and being unable to share it with his mother, since it was locked behind a paywall barrier.  Hence this spurred his involvement in OA, saying that academics should remain in control of what they produce [e.g. not be such an exploited knowledge/learning regime labour force, said the proto-Marxist scholar in my head].

He also talked about the online OA journal The Comics Grid which he founded, in part as a reaction to the dis-empowering experience he had from peer review.  This was set up now via Ubiquity Press, which was as a researcher-led publisher very much gelled with his own vision of how research dissemination should actually function.

Finally UCL academic, and archivist, Jenny Bunn spoke about OA from the perspective of setting up MOOCs.  As an archivist she explained her role was all about allowing access, and that she was unhappy with narrow definitions of OA as focusing solely on journal literature and raised the issue about the usage and concept of the term openness itself.  She took us through the experience of producing a MOOC, including issues around rights management – showing us material from the UCL training manual for MOOC producers.  The level of confidence in obtaining rights was still a new area for many academics, who would often fall into what UCL referred to as the zone of copyright angst; and thus most would link to extant resources rather than seeking permission from the original rights holder.  This was a very different experience to producing lectures, which being closed allowed academics to skit (and at times ignore) copyright issues in preparation of their material – taking the low risk that no-one would ever know they used them.  With MOOCs this risk is elevated as through being open, it was far more likely that your reuse would be discovered.

As before the session concluded with a series of A&A discussions.

One interesting question was raised to Ernesto about aspects of copyright piracy in Mexico, and how this related to OA in Latin America/the developing world.  He explained that while there isn’t a Mexican mandate for OA, there exists an official invitation from legislators and funders for academics to deposit their work.  He also highlighted issues for the National Library of Mexico, who are digitising and sharing PDFs of books that previously were locked away under (c) terms.  PDF might not be ideal for re-use or text mining he said, but at least people were now more able to access these texts.

Jenny also made a statement that made me smile in reply to a question about discoverability and openness – in that she said how social media are increasingly the routes through which academics access the most important (and up to date) research.  Martin also highlighted the #ICanHazPDF twitter hashtag which researchers are using on twitter to demand help to obtain PDFs of documents that they otherwise can’t find or access.  I thought this was a great idea, and certainly one I’d not run into before!

And with that, I made my exit into the fine summer sun and long walk back to my car (some 2miles away).  A very useful day, with plenty to think about – and plenty of ideas for a line or two in my currently under development chapter.

*And I suspect some of the speakers may well add or clarify what I’ve recreated here from my rapidly typed notes!

A Whole Lot of Editing Going On

Monday

Having caught up on my sleep over the weekend…there’s no avoiding it, I need to crack on with the marking again today.  And as before, let’s track how the marking goes.

  • 9.00 am: Check both email accounts and discover that my last student with an extension has submitted.  Good, that means I’ve all the essays I need to mark now.  Decide to find breakfast, tea and check on Prisoner Zero (one of our chickens is on special measures at the moment).  Exchange email with supervisor over a news article we’ve both read, and then pull up all my marking info and the essay directory onto the desktop.
  • 9.25 am: Eat breakfast, post blipfoto for the day.  Steel myself to pick up marking where I left off on Friday.
  • 9.30 am: Ear plugs in (it helps me focus and block out the traffic noise), and one we go.  Half way through marking an essay on Friday, so have to read it all over again now.
  • 10.15 am: always tickles me when students write the number of words at the bottom of an essay, and notes like “excluding references”.  I do just the same for official submissions; despite knowing that any academic worth their salt will not include references within a word count.  Oh wait, there was just this sort of discussion at the CRDC the other week over the project proposal submissions.  Paranoia rules and serves you well in academia.
  • 10.33 am: This essay is written in a river of toffee I think, and I’m trying to swim up stream against the grammatical flow.
  • 10:57 am: Hmn, marking one with a heavy use of quotes…and not much analysis.   Have been guilty of this in days of yore myself, so trying to give pointers rather than just writing “NO NO NO NO!” in the margins.
  • 11.19 am: Time for more tea and a swift check on the chickens.  Working on essays about new media now without ear plugs in as I’m expecting a delivery between “11.28-12.28”.
  • 11.37 am: Delivery man cometh – break off to collect my new tarpaulin (wooo!).  Restore ear plus.
  • 12.23 pm: Marking an essay from a student who rarely appeared in seminars.  Fine-toothed-comb deployed.
  • 12:48 pm: Gah, most of the last 30 minutes dealing with some moderation questions and second marking between a couple of the other academics (one of whom is my supervisor).  Some hard decisions been made.
  • 1.00 pm: No, need lunch.
  • 1.45 pm: And back at it.  Half way through the new media now.  Hmn, think I’ll mark this next one and then the other one I’ve been asked to second mark.
  • 2.12 pm: Eeek!  Thunder and lighting right overhead 😦
  • 2.55 pm: Flagrant apostrophe abuse detected. Punishable by de’ath!
  • 3.12 pm: Still in new media. Urg. Some of these definitions of new media seem to have switched off in the opening minutes of the lecture on the subject, given there were a fair few given there.  Only 3 more of essays on this topic to go and then I can switch to Freud.  Yes, that will be a bless’d relief…especially considering the students’ attitude to Freud in the seminars was “We don’t think he tells us anything”.
  • 3.46 pm: If I could offer one bit of advice to all the students, it’s “think critically”.  Lots and lots of descriptive prose, very little in many cases analytical thinking.  Keep writing notes in the margins like “Yes, that is very interesting – but why is this important? What does this mean? Is there a case against it?”
  • 3.58 pm: NOOOOOOO!  *ahem* Slight blinkered view from current essay causing me to scream at the screen.  Now to write a more constructive comment.
  • 4.11 pm: 13 still to mark.  Beginning to think I might not finish all these today, which is frustrating.  Onto Freud now, which means it’s time for a mid-afternoon pit stop.
  • 5.03 pm: Marking Freud is hard work.  Sneaking suspicion some of the students understand his work better than I do.
  • 5.40 pm: Mrs Llama has arrived home from work, hot, cross and fed up with traffic.  Wondering if she’s going to be projecting onto me shortly as still marking Freud.  Current essay has also given me a WTF moment requiring some background research to mark.  Sheesh.
  • 5.56 pm: Beyond Freud and onto the final set of essays on power and non-verbal communication.  Think I shall go and prep dinner, pop it in the oven and then have a last hour working on these before calling it a day.
  • 6.30 pm: These essays are more enjoyable than the Freud one.  Marking one now from a student I had to double check was in my groups; since they never came to a seminar I taught!  No, they are one of mine. Damn, have to mark it – but extra carefully!
  • 7.05 pm: Okay, 7 more to go – they’ll have to wait for the morning.  But at least these last batch are fairly readable and engaging again!

Tuesday

Okay, not many to go, but suspect this’ll be my entire morning.

  • 9.15 am: Exchange emails about moderation, discover two invites in my mail (one to a conference, one to participate in some research). Will have to come back to those later.
  • 9.25 am: Open up all the files and programs…and on with the marking.
  • 10.06 am: These are certainly easier to read and mark, generally good and just had one excellent one.  Not sure if the topic is more engaging for the students, or the question’s easier – they just seem to get it more.
  • 10.14 am: Oh dear, another essay sans references.  How obvious could we have made this bit?  It’s actually on the marking sheet as one of the 5 criteria the students are marked on.  Sigh.
  • 11:16 am: Let joy be unrestrained…I’ve opened the last essay to mark.
  • 11.40 am: Done.  Now just to moderate my high/low scores, and pass them to Colin the course leader for his opinions.
  • 12.15 pm: Moderating Colin’s marking…there are some terrible essays here, which really make me pleased how many of my students produced excellent pieces of work!
  • 12.22 pm: Done.  Just have to wait on the moderators comments, and then the admin to sort out and no more marking for me this year.  Huzzah!

Rather lost the will after lunch, as I had to go out to an appointment.  And then paid a visit to campus to drop off the all important annual report form for marking.  The Wife came along for the ride, and so met my 2nd supervisor, which was nice.  Did discover my actual Director of Studies had buggered off to Germany which makes getting a signature out of him somewhat academic now – hope the Grad School will accept an email from him!

Then I got stuck on campus for 30 minutes as the power to the site went down, locking all the car exit gates! Sheesh.

Wednesday

More moderation today for Kornelia, as i appear to have turned into Mr Moderator for the whole course.  Don’t mind, as she and I have been mutually supporting each other throughout the past year on this course.  Today though was also the day I drew out my chapter on the history of open access in the UK, and started to hack at it.  Been away from it with other pressing concerns too long so it’s going to be a long hard struggle I suspect, and first impressions are that it needs a lot more work than I thought.  Beginning to think the end of the month might be a tricky target to get this one ready by.

Thursday

More editing – although not helped by the fact that I had a dreadful night’s sleep and spent the entire day feeling like I had needles sticking in my eyes.  Mrs Llama worked at home in the afternoon and made me go and sit in the garden for a while over lunch and enjoy the outside world.  That helped a bit, and I made some progress – even if it felt like I kept re-editing the same two pages over and over again.  Stressing about this chapter a lot, which is slowing the writing down.  Most of the day spent trying to write short pieces about who the key players and organisations in the development of OA in the UK is.  Bound to have missed some people I suspect, whom I hope won’t hunt me down and punish me!

And no, didn’t include myself in the list!  Sheesh, self-aggrandising much?

Friday

Having been asleep for nearly 12hrs last night (went to bed before 8pm) I felt a whole lot more human.  A lot more editing today, mostly about funders’ OA policies which required a bit of background research.  Chapter looking a whole lot better as a result – but I’ve still a page of suggested additions I need to look at next week.  Which could be tricky as I need to write a conference paper, and also make a day trip to Cambridge on Tuesday, which cuts down the hours I can devote to it.  Have to pop into the Uni as well to finally hand in my annual review.  Which may end in a punch up between me and the staff if they don’t bloody accept it.

Also, just to round out the week, moderated Tao’s essays as well.  Which means by my calculations I’ve moderated pretty much all bar one person’s papers this time.  Boy oh boy do I wish they paid me for this bit.  But it does mean it’s the end of the marking lark.  And time to collapse into a warm gin now.

OER14: Building Communities of Practice

My second conference of the academic year took me to a damp/foggy/sunny Newcastle upon Tyne to take part in an open education conference – OER14: Building Communities of Practice.  While my research interests aren’t specifically related to OE there is a significant overlap, and I’m not a fan of climbing into labelled silos where Open Data, Open Education, Open Scholarship, Open Science and Open Access (and all the rest) barely acknowledge each other’s interest.  It was a great conference, and I’ve come home full of ideas, with pockets full of Lego and a desire to talk about my research a whole lot more at other venues.

If I could just find a) Some more conferences to attend b) Can find sufficient funding to attend them!  Offers, suggestions, invitations very much welcomed – I’ve a lot to say on the various topics and could also use some long conversations with people about it all too.

Anyway, the conference…in brief(ish)!

Sunday

Yes, another weekend cut short with travel – on an horrifically packed train from Newark to Newcastle.  Turned out that all the students were going back to uni that day and so there was barely room to breath, let alone stand.  Sit? Not a hope – 2hrs upright!  However, the journey was broken up with various people asking me questions about their rail travel…as thought I knew any more than they did.  The highlight was the chap who having hoped off the train asked me if we had stopped at Darlington. I said “Erm, probably”, as I couldn’t spot a sign, and he wandered off.  The train then departed…past a sign reading Northallerton.  Well, I’m guessing that these locations are all pretty close together…right? Walking distance and all that?

*ahem*

First night in a Travel Lodge, as all of the conference travel, fees etc were being financed by my own meager savings.  It was quite nice, even if the TV was crap and couldn’t keep a signal for more than a minute or so – let alone get the BBC.  Cheap.  Dinner: Tesco sandwiches and a scotch egg.  And about two bottles of pop (for the fibre).

Monday

The conference opened interestingly with Wendy Carr and Ollie Richardson, two students talking about education and the reasons why today’s students need more flexible study.  Not least for the increased number of part time, distance and mature students.  They talked about the disaggregation of modules from courses in a positive light, something I have an issue over  given the commodification of knowledge in an edu-factory kind of way, doesn’t sound like an especially appealing future for scholarship to me.  They finished by suggesting that by studying through “non-traditional” methods, future students would have less debt.  Really?  I have my doubts as private education would just looove to swoop in a extort major profits I fear.  Perhaps even bringing in micro-transactions ala the games industry’s freemium model.  “Boost your grades by 5% for just a £5 micropayment…”

Then we had the main conference keynote from Catherine Ngugi.  She talked of building communities of open practice through OER.  She has worked with OER Africa since 2008, trying to work alongside with African HEI faculties to show what they could do with OER.  She concluded that OER and ICT could be a powerful educational tool if used well, in that it supplements resource based learning, and opens up discussions about pedagogy and other tricky subjects.  She also stressed that she was keen to put paid to the view that Africa is merely a consumer, not creator of education.  She discussed how faculty teaching is rarely as prized as research outputs. Additionally, like in the Global North, many developing countries face pressure to focus on throughput and attainment in producing more and better trained graduates to serve the needs of the economy (all aboard the edu-factory conveyor belt!).  OER she explained has to serve to fill a tangible gap, going on to discuss some of the unexpected benefits as a result of OER such as medical discoveries.  She also considered if engaging with OER equates to open practice? Certainly she argued it will cause HE providers to take online learning more seriously.  It will help infuse HE with a complexity, and richness of ideas etc that should coalesce at the heart of any serious educational environment.

The first of parallel sessions saw me listening to three talks, the first of which was by Andy Lane comparing the social, economic and environmental benefits of MOOCs with closed online courses. He looked at the stance on policy in HE towards OER, explaining that there were different drivers; with widening participation and increasing access being two of them.  He noted that it seemed to be important the level at which people participate in HE, stressing that trends in GDP can be linked to HE participation (something the government with their rampant drive to convert HE into a tool feeding the neoliberal economy would delight in repeating).   He also explored how MOOCs compared with past experiences of mass courses educational courses from places like the OU.  He talked about an OU course in computing with thousands of people on it and fees of a few thousand pounds; although subsidised by the UK government.  Interesting when you contrast this with a similar MOOC the age profiles for participants are very similar, with around 3/4 being new to HE in both cases.  What was notable was that the international student base much was much larger for the MOOC course.  In terms of demographics the MOOCs drew in the well-educated, whereas the OU course drew in a much more diverse range of educational backgrounds.  Significantly there were much higher completion rates for the OU course, and this was attributed to their credit bearing nature – and hence a greater incentive to finish.

Touching on the environmental impact of HE, he noted that only OU had really looked at this as part of the SusTeach Project which looked at average energy consumption of students.  He asked if MOOCs be a test bed for less environmental impact?  I had to raise an issue (on twitter) that wasn’t the offsetting of energy costs for the uni just pushing it back onto the remote access points of the students?  I’m sure that unlike myself, and my very low power, environmentally balanced hand-built PC, most home students are running on inefficient energy hogs, that might mean there’s a greater environmental impact overall – just not at the campus end!

Next Nick Jeans talked about ALISON (Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online), which had involved the examination of OERs from around the world and seeing how uptake of them could be encouraged.   ALISON had started in 2007 with just 3 staff through to 2010 when things started to expand, and now there are 30+ staff working on it.  He explained that there was less OER in FE, because resources were not available to create content.  Through using social media (e.g. LinkedIn) to share student stories, has seemed to be an effective approach at widening participation, although this had been mainly in the anglophone countries.  He noted that there had been some issues from users over the adverts that helped fund the system (similar to “free” mobile apps), although some suggest that they are less intrusive than they could be.  On the other hand advertisers like it the approach ALISON takes because they are only charged when ad click-throughs are effective.

Finally Deborah Ferns from JISC Legal talked about MOOCs and IPR, stemming from a recent briefing paper.  There was a lot of the old familiar info on copyright and 3rd party rights that I used to teach back in the day in this session.  Deborah’s point that licenses for resources at HEIs, didn’t automatically mean they could be accessed via MOOCs, as students on these were seldom viewed legally as “registered” at the HEI.  She noted that IPR issues need to be considered from day one in MOOC/OER production, which was something as a former OER IPR adviser on the Digital Leicestershire project I remember banging on about in project meetings (without much success/recognition at times from my collaborators).  An interesting side development related to FutureLearn, was that on their courses it was made clear that forum postings by students are all under (cc) licenses.

After lunch (and several declined invites to ride the 4D motion ride) there was a second batch of break out sessions.  I was charmed by Penny Andrews and went to her workshop talking about OpenCPD, which is a student/practitioner led effort to set up a series of bite sized professional training OERs.  It is a very laudable effort, even if I was a little surprised to find out I’d agreed to contribute something to it.  Couldn’t place what or when I’d said anything about this, but it sounded just like the sort of thing I’d love to contribute to!  It was a good session, and Penny’s enthusiasm for the topic uplifting – and practical.

The afternoon ended with a lively panel debate on how to solve issues around the community of practice.  Can’t say I walked away from this with any strong conclusions; although I was fascinated by the delegate playing (unsuccessfully) 2048 throughout the whole hour.  I kept wishing I could offer him some advice!  A quick trip to the hotel for a break, and then the conference dinner, which was excellent – and for some reason Lego-centric!

Tuesday

Day 2 kicked off with my chairing a session with three speakers.  Not really easy to make notes when you’re trying to actively listen!  All three speakers had something of interest to say, and I was impressed they kept going after the theme from the Blues Brothers blasted through the walls at one point (from a neighbouring session).  Think the one key thing I took away from this one, was I need to find a polite way to cut the Q&A short, as one of these nearly got out of control.  My thanks to Beck Pitt, Eleni Zazani, Pail Bacsich and Simon Cotterill for putting up with my chairing!

After a brief break I went back to a very sparsely populated session* where Tom Bartlett talked about CADARN Learning Portal, which he rather sheepishly admitted had £1.5m in funding – in contrast to many other projects at the conference who were running on shoestrings. CADARN use their blog to publish case studies on OER production at various institutions with aim to help support those building communities of practice; although he admitted it is about changing practice incrementally rather than drastically or all at once.  He noted that the teachers who work with them, tend to be picked from organisational technology enhancement teams, so for example are often VLE staff, but they also got some people on board who just had a thirst for open educational activities.

Next Lindsay Jordan (who I kept trying to remember if I knew already) spoke about about her module in OA practice, which was delivered to academics developing their skills in learning and teaching practice.   The module was funded through JISC and was used to help the teachers develop small OER projects and resources. The course ethos was to help-people to become more open as a starting point, but the course also provided a space for participants to experiment within a community of shared practice.  A community that could continue after they finished the module.  Finally for this session Vicki McGarvey spoke about open practice and innovation influence at Staffordshire university.

A long lunch back in the Life Centre’s central area followed, during which I took advantage of the 4D motion ride…which was rather fun, even if I did end up getting rather wet.  After this I listened to Lorna Campbell from CETIS talk about Open Scotland, which aims to open awareness to OE policy and practice north of the border across all sectors.  Interestingly despite a lack of large-scale funding for OE projects in Scotland, there is a real buzz of activity and projects.  One result of this environment has been the Scottish Open Education Declaration, redrafting the Paris one, which is provided online as an open document for comment.

After this it was me with my talk entitled Policy, Practice and Problems: UK University culture and responses to open access. With only 10 minutes there was only a very surface level of my work I could cover, but I was able to present some high level results for the first time.  Had some very encouraging questions and comments afterwards, although one lady did ask me more or less what they should be doing at non-university institutions to promote OA culture.  Not a question I felt I really able to give a comprehensive answer on in two minutes!

Finally Clive Mullholland talked about OER Developments in Wales, although he himself is leaving to work in Scotland shortly.  Wales he explained often does things differently just to be different, although it might not be the only country to make such a claim.  Noted a clash with the past WA Minister for Education and Skills (Leighton Andrews) and the HE sector, which had had an adverse affect on the whole region – in particular his drive to reduce the number of HEIs to 6.  After he was fired, his replacement Huw Lewis seems to be more interested in primary and secondary, rather than the tertiary education sector.  Clive went on to detail some of the battles at the highest level to get HEFCW and VCs in Wales to engage with OERs and MOOC initiatives, which seems to now be moving in a very positive direction.  An ethos they felt more comfortable with was releasing some, but not all, educational content openly which has resulted in the Wales Open Education Declaration of Intent as progress continues in a positive manner.

Clive finished off with a call to attend OER15 in Cardiff.  Count me in, I’d love to come to that – and present on yet more of my research!  Not to mention, I do love Cardiff a lot…

*I counted 9 people including the speakers and me.

Slides and full descriptions of all the talks are already available online, and videos of many of the main sessions will also be live soon.

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