TED Conversations

Huw Jarvis

Editor, TESOLacademic

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How do we promote free open access to knowledge arising out of quality peer-review published research?

My humble contribution within the field of language education is to get cutting edge leaders in the field and other researchers provide talks about their work – all available from www.TESOLacademic.org Those of you who enjoyed Patricia’s talk will also enjoy Alastair Pennycook’s keynote talk as well as the X2 book talks by Widen and Edge. The problem is funding – it’s a labour of love on my part. Any suggestions?

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    Jan 23 2012: Well, I'll be honest with you, Huw. I was the managing editor for a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It took months of work to put out something worthy to be published. So I can clearly see the arguments on requiring some sort of compensation somehow for what it takes to be a gatekeeper and producer of a professional publication. Coordinating a peer review is no picnic; nor is putting all the material together into a coherent, impeccable, and impressive whole. Would you expect an editor to do all this while homeless and starving? And at the same time, having been an author for decades, I can also see where the old way of disseminating information is clearly on the way out and publishing is hardly what it used to be. I don't know how EBSCO and JSTOR are surviving. I suppose a reader's rating system that puts the most voted-for material on top can help to make editors unnecessary. Some sites actually enable the author to be paid directly by readers, which is a nice idea, but I've never seen an actual monetary exchange. Still, to a large extent, a good idea is its own promotion. A quick googling shows that open source journals are already coming about (OSJ and DOAJ, for instance). I'm trying also to think of situations where one cannot access research. Universities, colleges, libraries, and NGOs are excellent sources in addition to one's own computer, and if a book or article costs something, one can apply for a research grant. Barring these, a call put in to an expert can save months of poking about. It's a good question, though, and something to ponder.
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      Jan 23 2012: Thanks for your inputs Claudette. I take your points and I don’t underestimate the good work of editors. However, the journals and their peer-review editors quite rightly don’t pay academics for their research – they get it for free! Journals shouldn’t “own” knowledge in this way and I think wethey need to look at alternative funding models. Accessing research of of course easy if you work at a university in the “developed world” – but many are not in this situation. It also depends on the reason for accessing research – I work in a practitioner based field with lots of teachers in a variety of contexts just wanting to keep in touch with latest findings which help inform their practice.

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