Open academia: Principles and practices
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Expression of interest for refereed paper for HERDSA 2011: Higher Education on the Edge (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia), July 4-7, 2011 Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
This paper argues that open academic practices provide greater benefits to society, institutions and academics than do closed practices. Five principles of open academia are suggested (open access, open licensing, open formats, free software, and open governance) and discussed with case studies and examples (such as intellectual property, open textbooks, open journals open education, and open governance). Open academia applies these five principles to core areas of academic work, particularly open education and open research. It is argued that universities and academia should develop capability, policy and practice to promote open access, open licensing, open file formats, and free software. Such practices help to disseminate knowledge and training, facilitate dynamic engagement with the public and stakeholders, improve overall quality, and enhance marketability. In addition, it is argued that academic, education and research institutions should demonstrate transparent governance and methodologies, a view supported by current Australian federal reforms in education. In essence, it is argued that academia and universities should champion free and public access to knowledge, education and training, and that progress toward implementation of open academic principles should become key performance and benchmark indicators. The biggest barriers to openism in academia are not legal or technical, but rather cultural, organisational, and psychological. This paper outlines initiatives under way that seek to address these barriers and examples of open academia that show advantages to universities such as collaboration and networking, peer review, quality improvement, commercialisation opportunities, kudos, marketing, and branding.
- James Neill, Assistant Professor, University of Canberra
- Leigh Blackall, Learning Commons Coordinator, University of Canberra
Conference theme 
All submissions must relate to the conference theme, "Higher education at the edge", and address one or more of the research domains:
- Academic practice, work and identities
- Learning, teaching, assessment and curriculum
- Quality and standards in higher education
- Leadership, management, governance and policy in higher education
- Student pathways, experiences, expectations and outcome
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