I have been mulling over a really good discussion that I had at the end of last week with some UHI colleagues and some new colleagues from Edinburgh Napier University. Part of the discussion was about a new online journal of “applied academic practice” (listed in the Delicious links to the right). The new journal is online, open access, peer-reviewed, non-blind reviewed, creative commons, and especially encouraging to new authors and new ideas in presentation (multi-media etc) So what’s not to like? This seems to me to be a great democratising force in academia, and it’s high time we academics took control and got our (publishing) house in order! As a thinker, I want to share my ideas with as many people as possible who are interested in the same subjects. As a writer, I want to produce the best, most stimulating, most easily-readable presentations that I can. It’s partly the result of publishing my latest writings direct to Amazon as an e-book, but if it is really so easy, why are we not doing more of this? I can get more accurate and up-to-date statistics on my e-books than I do from my ‘conventional’ publishers, so what is the benefit to the new media? Speaking as someone who is married to a Manager of a ‘conventional’ publishing company (albeit in the minority area of Gaelic language) I have to acknowledge that there is a place for outsourcing the design, proofing, setting, distribution, marketing etc in the mass market, but with the tiny interest (and profit-margins) in academic publishing – monographs, course textbooks, extended essays, and areas of highly speciallised interest – it seems to me that the self-publishing route is the most appropriate. I think we need to look at the university as an institutional publisher of e-books that share the knowledge of the academy!


5 thoughts on “e-journals”

  1. Hi Frank
    Where, or do, you see the role of the librarian in this? Also, how do you think this relates to the Open Access movement?

  2. I think the role of the ‘conventional’ librarian is largely over (in the same way as the ‘traditional’ teacher). The new roles require a great deal more of facilitation in the access to learning resources, and the ability to suggest navigation routes through (perhaps unlikely) multi-media. I know that many contemporary librarians and ‘teachers’ do this already, but there still seems to be a strong ‘gatekeeper’ image. The access to OER is a good way to illustrate this – I would expect the librarian of the future to curate OER created by institutional academics+techies, with the emphasis individual innovation but community peer-reviewing. I would like to see the educational technologists creating the OER to be based IN the libraries, and a stronger link between library staff and academic facilitators (lecturers?) to identify appropriate learning pathways (personalised courses?) and appropriate learning support materials.

    1. Interesting. Where would you expect them to curate the information to? On to institutional Delicious accounts? On departmental Blogs? In Blackboard modules- always supposing lecturers allow the librarians in to their Blackboard modules, which can be a bit of a hit and miss affair unless there is an institutional, or at minimum a departmental, mandate for it.

      I do agree with you that there needs to be a stronger link between educational technologists, academic facilitators and librarians. However, that kind of sea change needs to come from the top of the institution downwards as well as upwords from the practioners who are in these groups. The “gatekeeper” image is frequently held by institutions as well as by individuals. Departmental structures have to change in order to allow change in this area to facilitated and actively encouraged. Persons who are in a position to encourage this kind of change are persons such as yourself, working with IT colleagues and departmental heads.

      1. I like the idea of “institutional Delicious accounts” (I have used a “Programme account”) but this raises the old argument about whether it is better to utilise “own-brand” software, or to capitalise on the popularity of corporate applications such as Delicious. Personally, I am in favour of using external applications like Delicious, but that makes the institution vulnerable to whole slabs of content disappearing if the external makes a policy turn. On the second point, I am great believer in people learning about democracy by acting democratically; that we learn about collaboration by trying to collaborate – so I would welcome any initiative within the UHI that seeks to re-position the role of librarians, tutors, and learning support staff and to re-think how we work together to make learning resources available. Perhaps we can kick about some ideas offline and see where they take us?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s