A wealth of open access literature is published annually in the burgeoning field of Open, Distance and Digital Learning (ODDL). Perkins and Lowenthal (2016) in their comprehensive analysis of publications in this broad area identified over 270 open access journals alone. The challenge is that most teachers, educational leaders and policy-makers are busy people and it is almost impossible to keep up-to-date with everything that is published, especially given the multitude of publication channels. To help address this problem over the past three years (2016, 2017 & 2018) a team in the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU) has published a list of what it has perceived to have been the top 10 open access journal articles produced over the course of each year. This paper critically reflects on this exercise, including the underlying assumptions, selection criteria, methodology, findings and wider observations from the experience. More specifically, it reports on the blurring of boundaries between closed and open publications, the growth of review and meta-analysis articles, and the changing status and continuing value of more traditional closed publications. While the final list of top 10 articles over all three years covers a wide range of topics and arguably provides a valuable resource for researchers, practitioners and students undertaking postgraduate study, there is a danger that we may be drowning in openness. To what extent is this really a problem? Does open scholarship need recentering? If in the words of Richard Steele, a great Irish writer and co-founder of The Spectator, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”, then is too much writing really a bad thing? The paper explores these questions drawing on our insider experience in the search for the topside of open scholarship and invites participants to critically reflect on their own experiences of professional reading in the era of openness.
This session involves a brief overview of an interesting exercise over the past three-years of trying to identify some of the most valuable open access journal articles for professional reading. It then devotes the remaining time to reflect on this exercise and invites participants to share their own experiences of professional reading in the era of openness–for better and worse.
Brown, M., Costello, E., & Nic Giollamhichil, M. (2018). Selecting the best open access journals: To what extent does this go beyond being a subjective exercise? Paper in proceedings of the 10th EDEN Research Workshop, Towards personalized guidance and support for learning. Barcelona, 26th October.
NIDL (2017). The top 10 for 2017: Full list of articles and additional reflections. Available from https://nidl.blog/2017/12/20/the-top-10-articles-for-2017-the-full-list-and-additional-reflections/
Perkins, R., & Lowenthal, P. (2016). Open access journals in educational technology: Results of a survey of experienced users. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(3), 18-37.