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25. ken udas - september 16th, 2007 at 8:33 am

Gavin, first, I appreciate the amount of time and thought that you have put into your post and discussion. I have one last question/request. I am wondering if you would be willing to take a few minutes and write about what you think the longer-term impact of freeculture.org will be on the academy, AO, publishing, etc. Earlier in the Series there was a lot of discussion about the “freedom culture,” which subscribed to a broad view of free and libre resources (FLOSS, OSS, Research, AO, etc.) and behaviors. I would think that it is within student organizations that the seeds of change will have the best likelihood of taking root.

26. gavin baker - september 16th, 2007 at 5:58 pm

w/r/t to the digital divide, I absolutely don’t think it’s a reason to wait for open access. Open access reduces inequality of access, even with the digital divide, because Internet access is far less differential than subscriptions to academic journals. Also, as Ken notes, it’s more likely that someone without Internet access will know someone who has access, than that someone without a journal subscription will know someone who has a subscription. In other words, it’s easier to find someone who will print you a copy, or put it on a disk, if necessary.

My mention of the digital divide was meant to suggest that OA advocates not make the mistake of conflating OA with other issues. I’ll crib from Peter Suber’s “ Open Access Overview ”:

Open access is not synonymous with universal access. Even after OA has been achieved, at least four kinds of access barrier might remain in place: Filtering and censorship barriers … Language barriers … Handicap access barriers … Connectivity barriers

(I’ve suggested another, specialization barriers, which limits not access per se but comprehension.)

Open access is separate from those other problems. It doesn’t solve them; it doesn’t seek to, at least not directly. Indirectly, open access facilitates work-arounds for the other problems, as we’ve been discussing: e.g., lowering permission barriers lowers the cost of translation (to overcome language barriers). So, OA doesn’t help much (though it does help a little), but it doesn’t hurt, either.

There may be good reasons to work on the digital divide rather than on open access (e.g. you find it a more interesting problem, you find it a more important problem), just as there might be good reasons to work on any other issue (raising one’s children well, stopping the genocide in Darfur, cleaning trash from a local waterway). But I don’t know of a good reason not to work on open access, or to delay working on open access.

27. redsevenone - september 17th, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Ken - I don’t think there is a need to wait, it is somewhat akin to waiting to reinforce a dam while the engineers do another study as to why a crack has developed, in the meantime an unexpected storm comes along and wipe the dam out leaving a bigger problem.

I have had the experience in another venue, where when we built a system to serve an under served population, the ability to access to the system was found. This can not be a ‘All or Nothing’ situation once people learn the information is available, they will find a way to access it.

I built a system called Camp One, deliberately made it hard to get to knowing that the people who really wanted the solution offered would find a way to get there. Shortly we will have Camp One v.II, with greater capacity and greater capability, simply because the desire for access has outstripped the ability to provide.

I suggest the same will occur with Open Access. From our point of view, we are looking at a Print On Demand model and charging what the market will bear, around 2X cost, with a provision for subsidized access where there is no ability to pay. The system we are studying has a net cost of US$0.03/page in Colour based on an output of 100+ Pages per week.

28. ken udas - september 17th, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Gavin and Martin, thanks. I very much agree with your thoughts regarding the access/digital divide issue. Although OA is not intend to solve a number of barriers, it enhances the value proposition of doing so.

If anybody sees this differently, please feel free to chime in.

29. redsevenone - september 17th, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Awe – Ken are inviting dissension just when everyone was learning to get along. But really, we have a saying at Camp One, when an issue comes up and no one knows where it is going, we say ‘Let it run’, that is it as very much a work in progress and as long as we all agree that is is progress, there is no need for argument.

One of the interventions I use is a 1000 Piece puzzle that arrives in an Ice Cream pail. You know there is a picture there, but have no reference to go by.

I suggest OA is very much like the puzzle with no box, we have points of reference, but no clear idea yet of how they will connect together, only the will to achieve that connection.

30. web2 in research: tender/cvs/gavinbaker - november 26th, 2008 at 4:19 am

[...] Open Educational Resource”, Terra Incognita - A Penn State World Campus Blog, 5 September 2007.<http://blog.worldcampus.psu.edu/index.php/2007/09/05/open-access-journal/>page_revision: 0, last_edited: 1227690432|%e %b %Y, %H:%M %Z (%O ago) edittags history [...]

31. jeimson - january 28th, 2009 at 9:56 am

very good

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Source:  OpenStax, The impact of open source software on education. OpenStax CNX. Mar 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10431/1.7
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