#openscholarship Bach + Kimiko Ishizaka and George Veletsianos + Royce Kimmons; Culture wants to be Open


One of the great by-products of invitations (e.g. to Perth) is that I am catalysed to write overview blog posts because I don’t normally do conventional slides and because I don’t know what I am going to say in detail (though I agonize sufficiently beforehand). For example in this case I had just come up on the bus where I met two very nice students from ECU who showed me where to get off the bus. One was a performing musician (ECU has the Western Australian Academy for the Performing Arts, WAAPA, http://www.waapa.ecu.edu.au/). So I asked if he had come across The Open Goldberg Variations http://www.opengoldbergvariations.org/ by Kimiko Ishizaka. No. So I told him about how this was completely open (CC0) including both the performance and the score. That means they have created an app which shows the score running alongside the recording. What a wonderful aid for teaching, learning and scholarship in general.


And how disappointing to read on the page:

Open Goldberg Variations

‎”Copyright abuse hurting musicians!” Does that headline get your attention? Well it’s true. Kimiko Ishizaka, Pianist is the victim of copyright abuse. Despite her best efforts to make the Open Goldberg Variations free – for every person and every use possible – GEMA (Germany’s artist collection society) is STILL claiming that the work falls under their jurisdiction and blocks YouTube videos from playing in Germany when they use Kimiko’s music. Since the whole point of making the music free was to gain exposure to a larger audience, having the videos blocked hurts Kimiko Ishizaka as an artist, and undermines her efforts to share Bach. Outrageous.


This, as much as anything indicates that we are in the middle of a titanic battle for our scholarship and creativity. What conceivable moral or ethical right can anyone have to block Bach’s work 260 years after his death. Is his ghost demanding rights? Even Mickey Mouse is not 260 years old (although if we don’t fight we still won’t have access to him in 200 years’ time).


So I started my talk by playing the Aria from OGV.


Because I blogged I got this great mail from George Veletsianos: Cameron Neylon emphasises networks and scale and this is an ideal example of another link in the network – we use each others ideas to reinforce and refine our own. And networks scale with N-squared (though I think it’s even greater), so this isn’t one link, it’s increasing the power by N+M where these are the sizes of our local networks – we are linking our environments and because they may be partially independent we gain a great deal.


George Veletsianos says:

November 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm  (Edit)

I really appreciated reading your insights as I come from a different disciplinary background. I came across your blog because I try to keep up-to-date on the concept of open scholarship, and I was alerted through Google Alerts about it. This idea, of researchers connecting with researchers through the opportunities afforded to us by networked technologies, I think is one of the central characteristics of the notion of open scholarship and openness. A colleague and I have written about this recently and I think that you might enjoy our paper: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1313/2304

Now that I also found your work, I look forward to following along!

George and Royce Kimmons have written a very good, comprehensive, well referenced paper on Open Scholarship. They come from a different angle, mainly teaching and learning, but they share the same ethical and political viewpoint. Read the paper, but they summarised their position in four principles (PMR highlighting and numbering), governed by a single guiding philosophy of Openness as an ethical pursuit for democratization, fundamental human rights, equality, and justice. This is essentially identical to the views of those I meet in the Open community (I have blogged that http://blogs.ch.cam.ac.uk/pmr/2011/09/30/access-to-scientific-publications-should-be-a-fundamental-right/ ). So George and Royce:

Given these examples of open scholarship, we should be able to recognize some common themes and assumptions about openness, sharing, and Internet technologies that unite such practices. First, open scholarship has a strong ideological basis rooted in an ethical pursuit for democratization, fundamental human rights, equality, and justice. As the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002) explains, the aim of openness is “building a future in which research and education in every part of the world are … more free to flourish,” thereby reflecting ideals of democracy, free speech, and equality. Caswell, Henson, Jensen, and Wiley (2008) further explain this ideological basis with a statement of belief:

  1. We believe that all human beings are endowed with a capacity to learn, improve, and progress. Educational opportunity is the mechanism by which we fulfill that capacity. Therefore, free and open access to educational opportunity is a basic human right, … [and] we have a greater ethical obligation than ever before to increase the reach of opportunity. (p. 26)

Directing these desires for ensuring basic human rights, transparency, and accountability is a sense of justice or fairness in scholarly endeavors. Based on this ideological foundation, openness and sharing in scholarship are seen as fundamentally ethical behaviors that stand as moral requirements for any who value ideals of democracy, equality, human rights, and justice.

  1. Secondly open scholarship emphasizes the importance of digital participation for enhanced scholarly outcomes. Arguments for openness tend to focus on addressing the short-comings and limitations of current institutionalized practices through faculty participation in online spaces. For instance, Greenhow, Robelia, and Hughes (2009, p. 253) argue that Web 2.0 “tools might positively affect—even transform—research, teaching, and service responsibilities—only if scholars choose to build serious academic lives online, presenting semipublic selves and becoming more invested in and connected to the work of their peers and students.” Throughout these arguments for openness, the undesirable alternative is depicted as being “closed” or unresponsive to calls for equity, sharing, and transparency.
  2. Thirdly open scholarship is treated as an emergent scholarly phenomenon that is co-evolutionary with technological advancements in the larger culture. Though ideals espoused in the first assumption are not new developments, their reintroduction into and re-emphasis in discussions of scholarship come in conjunction with the development and diffusion of a variety of social technologies. As Wiley and Green (2012) point out, open practices “allow the full technical power of the Internet to be brought to bear on education” (p. 82), and though causal relationships between technology developments and social trends are multidimensional, historical precedents suggest that social trends evolve in conjunction with technology development in a negotiated and co-evolutionary manner (cf. Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012; Binkley, 1935). Thus, when discussing openness in scholarship, technology must be seen as both being an actor (i.e., influencing changes in scholarly culture and thereby influencing cultural behaviors) and being acted upon (i.e., being influenced by scholarly and other cultures and thereby reflecting cultural behaviors).
  3. Finally, open scholarship is seen as a practical and effective means for achieving scholarly aims that are socially valuable. Such aims might range from ideological values (as mentioned above) to a variety of others including reduced cost of delivery, improved efficiency, greater accuracy, and so forth. For instance, one argument in favor of OA journals is that “the cost savings alone are likely to be sufficient to pay for open access journal publishing or self-archiving, independent of any possible increase in returns to R&D that might arise from enhanced access” (Houghton et al., 2009, p. XIX). Similar arguments have been made about improved research efficiency in sharing data sets (Trinidad et al., 2010), increasing the reach of universities via MOOCs (Carson & Schmidt, 2012), and using SNS for research purposes (Greenhow, 2009). Considering an educational perspective, such efficiency may also have pedagogical value because as Wiley and Green (2012) argue, “Education is a matter of sharing, and … [open practices] enable extremely efficient and affordable sharing” (p. 82). In their view, “those educators who share the most thoroughly of themselves with the greatest proportion of their students” are seen as successful (p. 82). From this perspective, openness is seen as an effective vehicle for achieving various scholarly goals like affordability, efficiency, accuracy, accessibility, sustainability, dissemination, and effective pedagogy.

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