Not my title, but Veletsianos and Kimmons from 2012 where they explore… well Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship…!  As we move further down the line of a digital world in Northern Ireland we have just commenced a further four weeks of semi-lockdown.  Workplaces that are not hospitality or close contact remain open and schools have closed again for a two week period.  In the last lockdown, schools were expected to provide support to students using a variety of media, this time – not – as here in the North of Ireland it has been a weeks half term extended to two weeks.  How parents are expected to cope with childcare as schools have closed, there are few details about.  And that’s why I am commenting about this piece – more of our world and learning in school and beyond will be conducted via some aspect of online learning – and online learning is not the same as ‘Open’.   As we move through the Covid -19 Pandemic, the stark issue of social divisions are made clear.  The significant impact of Covid-19 on poverty,  on those from BAME communities and those more broadly who experience the social divide in health negatively, are the real purpose of any world in which ‘open scholarship’ can deliver change.  To deliver change, a critical perspective is required.   Veletsianos and Kimmons suggest four key assumptions and I’ve included their summary Table below.


Table 1

Veletsianos and Kimmons begin their list of common themes and assumptions by focusing on a ‘strong ideological’ root for open scholarship in democracy, fundamental human rights, quality and justice, and they offer a challenge as to whether this is an essential component of an ‘Open Scholar’ or is it simply an accident that those involved in leading this field,  support these tenets.  They also use terms like ‘Critical Examination… of Practice’ and ’embedded values’ of technology but really they don’t engage with these ideas at all.  To create a critical examination of open scholarship needs a perspective of what a critical approach is in educational terms and to begin to address embedded values of scholarship, needs a critical perspective on values appointed to scholars in this increasingly online world. Veletsianos and Kimmons don’t provide either of these. Their perspective on scholarship is limited, insular and regressive rooted in liberal establishment ideas of an independent university curriculum not influenced by any specific extant paradigm on learning..

They focus on scholarship as owned by University Scholars and so they completely miss any perspective of a Critical Examination of any ideological root to their notion of scholarship, open or otherwise.  What they do is simply work on the ideological basis of liberal social values of scholarship and add a focus on equality and justice but do not engage in what these actually mean for any form of scholarship. They ignore the work of Gramsci and any idea of an organic intellectual, they ignore the work of Stuart Hall and others on the institutionalization of racism,  they ignore any reference to gender inequality and access to resources,  and they apparently forget about Global North and Global South and access to wealth.  Veletsianos and Kimmons piece is interesting in that it addresses relationships within a specific closed world of academic scholarship and highlights the tensions that some are engaged with and in around issues of open scholarship, but is neither ‘Critical’ nor ‘Open’ in its method.

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