Research in education: Open and networked practices/Full paper

This is a work in progress, articulating a full article about open and networked method of research for education.

What do open and networked practices bring to research? edit

Example of citizen research: Surfacestations edit

The leaked email records of researchers connected to the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia revealed, among other things, a lack of openness and transparency[1]. Temperature data sets could not be made available to wide peer review - despite Freedom of Information requests, due to a range of legal and subjective decisions on the part of the defending scientists, ultimately resulting in wide questioning of the reliability of their findings and recommendations. In response to, and in direct contrast to those closed practices, was a 'citizen science' project called, where large numbers of volunteers networked online to coordinate independent checks of the instrument stations used to collect surface temperature data in the USA (Watts 2011). Better known citizen science projects include NASA's Stardust@home, Zooniverse, Galaxy Zoo, and many others, such as the Wikimedia projects.

Open data is critical to a open, networked research. Open management practices are arguably desirable as well, if volunteers are to be attracted to work on large data sets and to trust lead researchers enough to help organise, gather and interpret information. Such are the motivations behind the Wikileaks project, yet another project pitching some hard questions to established publishers of investigative journalism. What if these methods and processes where to extend to other fields? Could we see research institutes being challenged in much the same way as Wikipedia has challenged encyclopedia projects, or the way activist meteorologists have challenged climate science methods and findings?

Complimenting these participatory developments are web service businesses like Kickstarter which aims to assist people and organisations build investment and social capital around their proposals. What is the potential in the challenges and opportunities that these participatory research practices, and support web service businesses, present to traditional researchers and their institutions? There are examples where new and independent groups have attracted human resources quickly and far beyond the capacities of traditional institutions, associations or even consortiums with significantly more funding.

Arguably these participatory projects, and the capacity of some to source crowds of volunteers, is a culture emerging from the internet. Alternatively, it is a culture being projected through the internet (Blackall 2009). Or perhaps the massive online cooperation projects we are seeing are evolving via a combination of internet culture and the collaborative, open spirit of science and research. Key elements of the emergent open, networked research culture are openness, transparency, digital formats, asynchronicity, and a tolerance for anonymity and open participation. But under these more amiable qualities are the presence of bullying and trolling, fickleness, new and opache hierarchies and processes, prejudices, group think and cultish behaviours (Keen 2007).

Edgelessness - research as learning edit

From Keith - What a thought-provoking abstract.

On reading it I thought about 1. Edgeless institutions 2. MOOCs

... and how both are linked to function rather than form.

I read the abstract after looking at:

About HREA's Distance Learning Programme

Since 2002, over 4,000 human rights defenders, development workers, staff members of international organisations and graduate students have successfully participated in Human Rights Education Associates (HREA)'s e-learning courses.

Further information about HREA's Distance Learning Programme can be found at:

Leigh's suggestion:
Edgeless institutions could be added in relation to para 1 where Rob writes: "If we see research as a form of learning and the dissemination of its results, a specific instance of teaching (Wagner, 1993), research can be seen as an educational practice." This could be expanded by us, where Keith introduces MOOCs and the HREA example. So, if Keith could write a paragraph of two, we could expand that edgelessness between research, practice and learning that Rob introduces.

Some additional references to consider edit

  1. Australian Research Council supports open access for research pubs & data, at up to 2% of grant
  2. Should scientific data be shared more openly – and how would that help science? Have your say:
  3. Open science in The Guardian:

Notes edit

P2P production edit

This essay, written in a manifesto form, addresses some crucial issues related to the timely topic of the distributed or Peer-to-Peer (P2P) energy production. It uses the emerging mode of the P2P production in the immaterial field of production (information, culture, knowledge) as a point of departure to realize the dynamics of this new energy technology and shed light on its socio-economic aspects. Bauwens (2011)

Wikipedia and the Death of the Expert edit

This article looked like it was going to lend intellectual weight to the idea that crowd sourced knowledge disembodies expertise, but instead it gave another sales pitch for Wikipedia. Still, I list it here as a resource to stimulate thought and discussion. I would like us to more honestly represent the concerns of the nay sayers, understand them and present their truth as the real yet timid challenge it is. Some of the comments give pointers to a deeper perspective.

See also edit

References edit

  1. UK House of Commons. 2010. The Disclosure of Climate Data from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. London - Stationary Office Limited. Retrieved 29 Nov 2011.
  1. Kostakis 2010. Identifying and Understanding the Problems of Wikipedia's Peer Governance. First Monday Volume 15, Number 3 - 1 March 2010
  2. Blackall, L. (2009). The new colonialism in OER.
  3. Fitzgerald, R.N & Findlay, J. (2011). Collaborative research tools: Using wikis and team learning systems to collectively create new knowledge. In S. Hesse-Biber (Ed.), Handbook of emergent technologies and social research. Oxford University Press, Boston.
  4. Gough, N. (2002). Ignorance in environmental education research. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 18, 19-26.
  5. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2009). The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Eighth Report of Session 2009–10. House of Commons, London: The Stationery Office Limited. Retrieved from
  6. Howison, J., Wiggins, A., & Crowston, K. (2008). eResearch workflows for studying free and open source software development. Syracuse University School of Information Studies 9 September 2008 ~ IFIP 2.13 - OSS 2008. Retrieved from
  7. Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
  8. Keen, A. (2007). The cult of the amateur: How the democratization of the digital world is assaulting our economy, our culture, and our values. New York: Doubleday.
  9. National Science Foundation. (2008). Fostering learning in the networked world: The Cyberlearning opportunity and challenge. A 21st century agenda for the National Science Foundation. Arlington: NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning. Retrieved from
  10. Wagner, J. (1993). Ignorance in educational research: or, how can you not know that? Educational Researcher, 22(5), 15-23.
  11. Watts, A. (2011). The long awaited surfacestations paper. Retrieved from