PIcture Source: The University of Utah: http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/open

PIcture Source: The University of Utah: http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/open

  • What is open research?
  • In what ways can research be open?
  • What do we mean by open in this context?
  • When is it appropriate for research to be open?
  • What does researching openly involve and what makes open research possible?
  • What are the benefits of open research?
  • What kinds of challenges might a researcher face when researching in the open?

Whilst researching in the open can be an enabler (blogging your research findings can potentially reach a wider audience, more quickly, than via the traditional paper publishing route; see for example one of Martin Weller’s “open scholarship example[s]“) it also has potential challenges (particularly ethical issues) that researchers might face or need to consider.

We’ll be exploring some of these issues and the questions above during a four week facilitated course on open research that we’re planning for June 2014. The focus of the course won’t be the OER Research Hub project as such (although we will be using our own context as an example). Instead we’ll be looking at the kind of open research practices we’ve utilised and how you can apply them to your own context.  In conjunction with the course we’ll be releasing the remainder of our research instruments (e.g. interview and survey question banks, consent forms, a final version of the ethics manual etc.). These instruments are/will be available on a CC-BY license via our website.

Our course will be hosted by School of Open (SOO), who we’ve been working with over the past year to find out more about the impact of their courses. A stand-alone version of the course will also be made available during Summer 2014.

Our Focus 

Whilst we’ve been working on the course our guiding question has always been: where does openness make a difference to the research process?  As part of this ongoing discussion, we’ve needed to closely examine our own practices; reflecting on what impact (intended or otherwise) open has had. Consequently, we’ll be kicking off the four week course with an exploration of what it means to research “openly” and where “openness” can be applied to the research process. We’ll then examine three areas where we think openness makes a real difference: reflection/evaluation, ethics and dissemination.

I’ll be blogging again very soon with more on how you can sign-up for the course and what we’ll be covering each week. Watch this space!