On 26 October the Dutch SIG Open Education, together with SURF, the collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch education and research, organised the seminar Open Science meets Open Education. The goal was to bring the communities of both fields together and explore ways to better cooperate, using each others good practices.
The program consisted of an interview with two institutional policy makers about their ideas and experiences, crash courses on both Open Science and Open Education to inform both communities about the basics of the two fields, speeddates between community members to explore options for cooperation, presentation of a practice and three in-depth sessions on respectively Policy, Quality and Infrastructure.
During the speeddates, findings were reported on paper. These findings and impressions will be used as input for both SURF and the SIG to define follow-up activities for 2019.
My take aways from this seminar
In the past, I have blogged already (here and here) about obvious similarities and differences between these two branches of open. Here my main findings for this seminar.
Many of the participants came from institutional libraries. Historically, they have a key role in supporting publishing of research results (both open and closed). More and more, they are also involved in supporting teachers with sharing and reusing OER (e.g. with their expertise in copyright issues and open licenses). Therefore, for me it is clear that libraries are key partners in realizing a closer cooperation in implementing both Open Science and Open Education within an institution. There are however differences between research universities (where research is considered the main activity, although in theory both research and education should be equally important) and universities of applied sciences (UoAS) (where education is historically the main activity, and practice based research becoming more and more important). The distance between teachers (in research universities) respectively researchers (in UoAS) and the library should be smaller than currently is experienced by several librarians.
John Doove from SURF made the observation that in research a culture of publishing results, based on peer review, is common practice for a long time already. This has resulted in more formal, top down organized, support processes. For education, activities to come to more openness, like sharing and reusing OER, are relatively new. These activities are in many cases initiated bottom-up. This creates more flexibility, but also makes it harder to implement in a more formal structure. I support this observation.
Awareness about and willingness for publishing Open Access or publishing research data openly is not common yet. In this sense, both Open Science and Open Education face similar challenges. Experiences and attitudes for sharing in the areas of both science and education could be useful in advancing both Open Science and Open Education. Local institutional activities could be defined to collect these experiences (e.g. by organizing similar seminars as the one from last Friday locally within an institution).
As mentioned in my previous blog on this topic, quality assurance of scientific results is a well-organized process, based on rigid peer review, when it comes to publications. Participants of the seminar made some comments on this.
- Publishing research data openly, following the FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable), is relatively new for researchers. Support mechanisms are currently implemented in institutions, but awareness and attitude of researchers for this phenomenon has a comparable level as making education more open by sharing and reusing OER or engage in Open Educational Practices among teachers.
- Adoption of alternative, more open ways of peer review, are in many cases dependant on disciplines. E.g. peer review of pre-prints like on ArXiv.org, is more and more common in fields like Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science. In these forms of peer review, authors and/or reviewers are not anonymous and the review is openly shared. Realizing similar processes for OER could maybe solve the challenge where teachers hesitate to reuse because of uncertainty on the quality of the OER.
- Especially in practice based research, the main results can be different from a paper or a data set. An example is creating a software prototype for innovating some production process in IT. In such cases, these results should also be made openly available when financed with public money, e.g. by sharing the code as open source, with sufficient documentation.
- Attention for FAIR principles on open data can be extended to OER. Adding sufficient metadata is one of the means to realize.
This seminar added to my ideas. For me, it is obvious to join these two communities to advance adoption of both open science and open education. Lessons learned and similar challenges in both fields can accelerate the process of adoption. As mentioned before, SURF and the SIG Open Education will work on activities to support institutions in this endeavour.
A light-hearted illustration: Big Bang Theory
For many years, I am a big fan of the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. One of the nice things I find in this show is informing the audience on recent findings in science.
In one of the episodes (The Troll Manifestation), the principle of peer review of a pre-print is illustrated, when two of the main characters, physicists Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter, publish a paper with a revolutionary idea on a pre-print server. It then appears that one of the reviews is rather nasty and insulting, with the reviewer using a nickname.
Finally, the anonymous reviewer appears to be rather famous (for those unfamiliar with this sitcom: he had appeared in the series several times previously to this episode).