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lacym's blog

Scholars, do the right thing.

If you are a scholar who is on the fence about whether or not to get on the Open Access bandwagon, then consider this: It's your ethical duty as a researcher to share your research. As authors John Willinsky and Juan Pablo Alperin explain in their article, "The Academic Ethics of Open Access to Research and Scholarship,"

The ethics of access have to do with recognizing people's right to know what is known, as well as the value to humanity of having one of its best forms of arriving at knowledge as widely shared as possible. The level of access is often reduced by the financial interests of publishers in a market in which there is little sense of rational order, given huge discrepancies in prices for similar products.

Exploring OER

Last week, I helped lead a workshop for humanities faculty on campus who were looking for ways to document their impact for P&T purposes. While the workshop mostly focused on documenting traditional forms of scholarship (journal articles, books, etc.), I encouraged faculty to consider documenting their teaching impact as well. By openly sharing learning objects – syllabi, assignments, classroom activities – or teaching materials (e.g., textbooks, online tutorials, presentations), faculty can transform teaching in their field. Imagine if there were a peer-reviewed open introductory textbook to writing. Imagine, if it were well done, how much it would be used and shared. 

Students are Knowledge Creators, Not Just Consumers

Information literacy—the ability to recognize when information is needed and find, evaluate, and use the needed information—is essential to our higher education goals. We want our students to leave college with the ability to direct their own learning and teach themselves, especially since it will be impossible for them to learn everything about their discipline in four years.

Information literacy outcomes addressed in the classroom often focus on where to find information and how to evaluate it. In other words, information literacy skills, when they are taught, usually position the student as an information consumer. But students are also content creators—they write papers, create poster presentations, compose works of art. But, rarely are they told the story of how knowledge is shared in their discipline and why. And rarely do they recognize themselves as creators of new knowledge. Thus, it is our job as educators to make sure they feel invited into the conversation.