04 July 2011

Open Definition

Janet Hawtin relayed a link into the TALO email list, from Alex Hayes pointing to the Open Definition: Defining the Open in Open Data, Open Content and Open Services.

I'm involved in a research project evaluating openness in the Australian Research Council's (ARC) Excellence in Research for Australian (ERA) initiative. Our project is in its early stages, where we think we have sorted out a purpose and methodology.

The ERA is the primary driver and reward process for research conducted in Australian universities, partly by putting out a list of academic journals that they recognise as 'quality', and rewarding researchers based on what research is published in which journals. Some of you may have caught the news recently that the rankings in the ERA list has been dropped, acknowledging that it was having an adverse effect on research directions in Australia. The overall thinking behind the ERA initiative, is to somehow quantify research in Australia, hold publicly funded research more accountable, and to be in a position someday to report on Australian research outputs in an international comparison (Globalism).

Of the many consequences of the ERA initiative, our research is focusing on its influence over academics at our university who might be attempting to adopt open academic practices. We are evaluating both the journal lists, as well as the ERA guideline documents, for any recognition of principles of openness, especially in the light of the obvious policy trends internationally, not to mention market trends such as major publisher's attempting to develop open publishing within existing business models like authors paying for their papers to be published as openly accessible.

We are still in the early stages of our project, but can already see that the ERA lists have next to no open journals in the discipline areas of education, health and governance, with our criteria for open journal being:

  1. Accessible (online)
  2. Reusable (copyright)
  3. Reusable (format)

We would have liked to have included "open governance" in our criteria, such as the reviews of articles being also accessible, but elected not to include it this time.

While we've been using older initiatives to develop that evaluation criteria (such as the Free Cultural Works Definition), this new site involving some of the same people, helps support our criteria further.

On another note, and in a new post entirely, are my questions about openness generally, and recently as they relate to Neil Postman's ideas around Technopoly and information glut...

1 comment:

simonfj said...

Oh Dear.

You left out the big one - governance (forget the e). So we can talk about the information and how it's aggregated and diseminated from the institutional silos. But we can't talk about how the National silos reform themselves around progressive online Global communities like wot youse got.

Would you try sticking "coordinate" research (with other countries) somewhere in the report. There's a discussion going on in Europe. http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/collectiveawareness/index_en.htm

In the main, our problems start because the NCPs give out money without researching whether its been done before or if some (global) someone else is thinking of/doing it. http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/get-support_en.html

Personally? If you and your intrepid band want to make some change. I'd get some funding which puts a social Aussie (team) on this page. http://www.iglortd.org/
Preferably one who can show them the meaning of community building.

PS. Could you do me/us a favour?
I'm sick of just reading too.
Could you get your hands on a virtual room. http://www.aarnet.edu.au/Projects/2010/05/12/aarnet-anywhere.aspx
(it's one of the reasons i wanted you to meet James@aarnet)
Kob Kun Krup
I've really got to learn a few new routines.