Eric Kansa – It’s The Neoliberalism, Stupid: Why Instrumentalist Arguments For Open Access, Open Data, And Open Science Are Not Enough


London School of Economics & Political Science. January, 2014. The Open Movement has made impressive strides in the past year, but do these strides stand for reform or are they just symptomatic of the further expansion and entrenchment of neoliberalism?
Eric Kansa argues that it is time for the movement to broaden its long-term strategy to tackle the needs for wider reform in the financing and organization of research and education and oppose the all-pervasive trend of universities primarily serving the needs of commerce.

Last year was obviously a big year for all things “open.” The White House has embraced Open Access and Open Data policies, and even recognized the work of >some advocates of reform, and that has been hugely exciting. It seems that the arguments for greater openness have finally led to some meaningful changes. All of these are signs of real progress.

However, I’m increasingly convinced that advocating for openness in research (or government) isn’t nearly enough. There’s been too much of an instrumentalist justification for open data an open access. Many advocates talk about how it will cut costs and speed up research and innovation. They also argue that it will make research more and transparent so interpretations can be better vetted by the wider community. Advocates for openness, particularly in open government, also talk about the wonderful commercial opportunities that will come from freeing research.

Read more: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/its-the-neoliberalism-stupid-kansa/

Ira Harkavy – The Role Of Universities In Advancing Citizenship And Social Justice In The 21st Century


jRTAAAEiLSage Publication, 2006. This article makes the following claims: (1) the goal for universities should be to contribute significantly to developing and sustaining democratic schools, communities, and societies; (2) by working to realize that goal, democratic-minded academics can powerfully help American higher education in particular, and American schooling in general, return to their core mission – effectively educating students to be democratic, creative, caring, constructive citizens of a democratic society. To support those claims, the author provides an historical and contemporary case to illustrate that a democratic mission is the core mission of American higher education. He also identifies Platonization, commodification, and, ‘disciplinary ethnocentrism, tribalism, guildism’, as major obstacles that have helped prevent higher education from realizing its democratic mission. Drawing on two decades of experience he and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania have had developing university–community–school partnerships, he proposes a strategy that involves colleges and universities working to solve universal problems (e.g. poverty, inadequate schooling, substandard health care) that are manifested in their local communities. Highlighting the global reach of the university civic responsibility movement, he concludes by calling on democratic-minded academics to work to create university-assisted community schools as a powerful way to help develop democratic students (K-16) and to contribute to the development of democratic schools, universities and societies.

KEYWORDS community schools, democracy, engaged university, John Dewey, undergraduate education, university-assisted community schools

Read morehttp://soco-wasow.pbworks.com/f/harkavy06.pdf

Paul Clifton – Humanities & Social Science Under Attack


nteuNTEU, March, 2014. The Abbott Government has announced it plans to redirect Australian Research Council (ARC) funding from ‘ridiculous’ research in the humanities and social science to research ‘on things that really matter.’

‘Redirecting’ funding
The Australian Research Council (ARC) has a broad mission, as stated on its website: ‘to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community’. Its national competitive grants scheme supports high quality research, both fundamental and applied, ‘across all disciplines’, except for clinical medical and dental research, which are the province of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
In 2012–13, the ARC administered $879 million in national competitive grants (including around $530 million to 1168 Discovery grants, and $130 million to 267 Linkage grants). In December last year, the Abbott Government’s mid-financial year budget statement announced $103 million of funding for the ARC would be ‘redirected’ over four years, along with a cut of $10 million over four years to the Centres of Excellence program.
The Government uses the weasel word ‘redirected’, rather than ‘cut’, specifying that some of the funding being cut from the ARC’s Discovery and Linkage programs will go to diabetes and dementia research: areas which fall under the remit of the NHMRC, rather than the ARC, so it is effectively a very substantial hit for fundamental and applied research to all disciplines except medical research.

Read more: http://www.nteu.org.au/Humanities-and-social-science-under-attack

Kris Olds – Universities 2030: Learning From The Past To Anticipate The Future


HigherEdWhat will the landscape of international higher education look like a generation from now? What challenges and opportunities lie ahead for universities, especially “global” research universities? And what can university leaders do to prepare for the major social, economic, and political changes—both foreseen and unforeseen—that may be on the horizon? The nine essays in this collection proceed on the premise that one way to envision “the global university” of the future is to explore how earlier generations of university leaders prepared for “global” change—or at least responded to change—in the past. As the essays in this collection attest, many of the patterns associated with contemporary “globalization” or “internationalization” are not new; similar processes have been underway for a long time (some would say for centuries).[1] A comparative-historical look at universities’ responses to global change can help today’s higher-education leaders prepare for the future.

Written by leading historians of higher education from around the world, these nine essays identify “key moments” in the internationalization of higher education: moments when universities and university leaders responded to new historical circumstances by reorienting their relationship with the broader world. Covering more than a century of change—from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first—they explore different approaches to internationalization across Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. Notably, while the choice of historical eras was left entirely open, the essays converged around four periods: the 1880s and the international extension of the “modern research university” model; the 1930s and universities’ attempts to cope with international financial and political crises; the 1960s and universities’ role in an emerging postcolonial international development apparatus; and the 2000s and the rise of neoliberal efforts to reform universities in the name of international economic “competitiveness.”

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/buniversities-2030

Academia Debate


AcademiaJune 3,  2014. Economy, food, environment, energy, water – whatever keyword you choose, the word crisis fits right behind it nowadays. In other words, ‘crisis’ can be attached to every single important social issue.
It goes without saying that as an institution, universities are not immune to this trend. Universities are a part of society and as such are confronted with the same consequences of choices made in the past that society has to deal with. After all, ivory towers do not exist.

In this section we want to present an overview of ongoing debates at universities, as well as offer a platform, by publishing articles that not only analyze how we got to this point, but also consider possible solutions.
Because one thing is clear: A lot of time and energy is focused on pointing out the cause of present issues. Simply put, neo-liberalism is supposed to be the source of much evil. And yes, before you can think of solutions, you have to get to the root of the problem.

Mankind succeeds in making the world a better place, one tiny step at a time. Even if we sometimes feel we are not moving very fast. At those times we see that progress stumbles, but proceeds to pull itself together in order to make another good-natured attempt.

One would expect us to learn from history. That from all those attempts, we manage to keep the good things and get rid of the bad. But it has always been, and will always be, a struggle to come up with solutions that work for all of us. That is what we want to focus on in this section, finding solutions. Besides analyses, we hope to receive ideas that will help all of us move forward. Ideas that prove universities are willing and able to help shape social debate. And ultimately, by doing that, help solve social issues.

Richard Van Noorden ~ Open Access: The True Cost Of Science Publishing


 

 Michael Eisen doesn’t hold back when invited to vent. “It’s still ludicrous how much it costs to publish research — let alone what we pay,” he declares. The biggest travesty, he says, is that the scientific community carries out peer review — a major part of scholarly publishing — for free, yet subscription-journal publishers charge billions of dollars per year, all told, for scientists to read the final product. “It’s a ridiculous transaction,” he says.

Eisen, a molecular biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, argues that scientists can get much better value by publishing in open-access journals, which make articles free for everyone to read and which recoup their costs by charging authors or funders. Among the best-known examples are journals published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), which Eisen co-founded in 2000. “The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think,” agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS.

Read more: http://www.nature.com/open-access-the-true-cost


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