agregador de noticias

He, She, One, They, Ho, Hus, Hum, Ita

OLDaily - 6 Julio, 2020 - 10:37
Amia Srinivasan, London Review of Books, Jul 06, 2020

What we need to understand is that everything is like this, not just language: "While no single individual can, by fiat, change the meaning of a word, groups of individuals, by changing patterns of usage, can... What words mean and which words exist is not up to any single person. But it is up to us, collectively." This is understood by conservatives, writes Amia Srinivasan, "who love to make fun of linguistic innovators as if they were divorced from reality, privately recognise and fear," just as it is understood by progressives, "in which too much hope can be invested." Anyhow, this is a long and interesting read about gender in language and especially in pronouns. And it shows how we teach and learn through every sentence we speak or hear. Every action we take both at once displays and informs our understanding of the world.

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The startup taking on Apple and Snapchat in a mini-app war

OLDaily - 5 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
David Pierce, Protocol, Jul 05, 2020

The idea of a mini-App is that it is a small program that runs inside another program. To date, only WeChat has built a successful mini-App ecosystem. But in the last few weeks, Apple has announced 'App Clips' and Snap has launched 'Minis'. The appeal of a mini-App is that it is "a better version of a browser, where you're signed in and payment-enabled for every site you visit." This article describes  Koji, "a twist on the mini-app idea. Rather than make apps that work inside a messaging app, Shapiro wants to make apps that work everywhere. Imagine a dating app you could embed in a text thread and browse with your friend, or a Twitter clone just for you and your friends." It's easy to see the parallels with the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) ecosystem. Of course, if we flip it, we could have learning tools run anywhere, and not just in an LMS. Which really is what we want.

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Normalising pro-diversity ideas creates tolerant society

OLDaily - 5 Julio, 2020 - 22:37
Open Access Government, Jul 05, 2020

What's significant about this story beyond the obvious social and cultural importance is that it shows how education is about much more than simply offering courses. As has often been observed by various pundits, diversity and inclusion courses, however well-intentioned, are most often ineffective. Learning requires a community. Thus we read, "Showing people how their peers feel about diversity in their community can make their actions more inclusive, make members of marginalised groups feel more like they belong, and even help close racial achievement gaps in education, according to a new study" (the study - despite the name of this feed - is behind a paywall).

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What have we learned from Covid-19 about the limitations of online learning – and the implications for the fall??

Tony Bates - 5 Julio, 2020 - 02:04
Being realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of online learning I have spent a good part of my career defending and promoting online learning and it would certainly appear that with Covid-19 and the pivot to emergency remote learning with everyone having to move their teaching online, online learning’s time has come. And indeed I […]

A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls

OLDaily - 4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Will Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review, Jul 04, 2020

I think the headline is a bit overstated, but there is something interesting in this plan. "Dfinity is building what it calls the internet computer, a decentralized technology spread across a network of independent data centers that allows software to run anywhere on the internet rather than in server farms that are increasingly controlled by large firms, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud." It's a bit like taking the cloud, and putting it into the cloud. And it's the sort of model we've seen before - "It joins a list of organizations developing a range of alternatives, including Solid, SAFE Network, InterPlanetary File System, Blockstack, and others. All draw on the techno-libertarian ideals embodied by blockchains, anonymized networks like Tor and peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent." But these aren't easy to build, they aren't easy to manage, and they aren't easy to prevent from doing more harm than good.

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What Makes an Excellent Online Teacher?

OLDaily - 4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Emily Boudreau, Usable Knowledge, Jul 04, 2020

I think this is an unusual perspective, and I'm not sure I agree with it, but it's worthy of note. Excellent instruction, according to Rhonda Bondie, "is based on decision-making — how teachers decide to respond to and engage with students, select curriculum materials, organize learning, and use communication strategies." This article summarizes Bondie's book Differentiated Instruction Made Practical (co-authored with Akane Zusho). The role of decision-making is only accentuated in an online environment. “Now, teachers need to make deliberate decisions about how students will feel belonging in a classroom community in a space without walls, see themselves reflected in the virtual space, feel both independence and belonging, and share power dynamics intentionally.” Teacher as decider. No, I'm not sure I agree at all.

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MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs

OLDaily - 4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
GeoffreyRockwell,, Jul 04, 2020 reports, "Another one of those 'what were they thinking when they created the dataset stories' from The Register tells about how MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs." The problem, in my view, is not merely that they were careless in creating this dataset, but that they are being educated in an environment where these sorts of things simply aren't considered. So long as elite educational institutions are reserved for the wealthy, these sorts of incidents are going to continue to happen. Cause. Effect.

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Global Citizenship Education after the COVID-19 crisis?

OLDaily - 4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Marta Estellés, World Education Blog, Jul 04, 2020

It makes sense that we should revisit the idea of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) after the end of Covid. But what would that education look like? asks Marta Estellés. That's the problem, she writes. " most GCED models have been framed as evolutionary and redemptive models, reinforcing neo-liberal perspectives of minimizing both the public sphere and governments’ obligations toward their citizens. With some noted exemptions, GCED models tend to promote an 'entrepreneurial self'." But that's the sort of thinking that got us into the current crisis. "The problem is not only that there are individuals who are not able to imagine and carry out forms of cooperation with other citizens around the world, but also –and perhaps more importantly– that many governments are not willing, nor demanded, to do so." We need to learn to cooperate, to form consensus, and work toward the global good.

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The Ultimate Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons for Educators

OLDaily - 4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Kathleen Morris, Sue Waters, Ronnie Burt, The Edublogger, Jul 04, 2020

I'm sure people will like this new guide to copyright, and that's why I'm passing it along. At the same time, though, I think that it and similar resources have the wrong focus. They're all about convincing people to avoid violating copyright. Sure, that's fine, but the "5 main rules" are overly publisher-centered. If I really wanted you to learn about copyright, I would begin with how copyright protects you. So my 5 main rules would be something like:

  1. Everything you create and post online is automatically protected by copyright. This means other people can't use it without your permission.
  2. You can share something you create by licensing it. For example, a Creative Commons license tells people they can use what you created for free.
  3. You can share what you create with conditions. For example, you can tell people they cannot charge money for what you created, or you can tell people they cannot alter or change what you created.
  4. If you share your content on a website, that means you are giving people permission to view what you created, but not to take it for their own use.
  5. If you share content on a platform like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, that means you are using their license to share your work, which gives them permission to use it however they wish, and to share it with whomever they want.

These are to my mind probably the most important things to remember about copyright. Remember, it's not about publisher rights - it's about your rights. If we can start there, we create a genuine reason to respect copyright, rather than an abstract 'here are the rules' reason.

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Happy July, everyone!

OLDaily - 4 Julio, 2020 - 06:37
Robert Kelchen, Twitter, Jul 04, 2020

This widely read Twitter thread predicts what is essentially a doomsday scenario for American higher education this summer. Robert Kelchen writes, "Residential colleges will take a devastating hit. Auxiliary revenues will go to near zero for another several months, resulting in layoffs--not just furloughs--of a lot of employees." Or, as one reply states, "Or, we can put billionaires in a 95% tax bracket. Definitely solve New York higher ed." But even if we're collecting taxes from billionaires, is providing that residential experience for rich students how we want to spend our money?

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e-Literate Live! Event on the ASU-hosted REMOTE Conference Next Week

e-Literate - 3 Julio, 2020 - 15:15

I'm excited to announce that the leader behind the ASU-hosted REMOTE Conference, current Entrepreneur in Residence and former McGraw-Hill Education CEO David Levin, will be joining me for an e-Literate LIVE session on Thursday, July 9th from 1:30 PM to 3 PM ET. As I've said before, the REMOTE conference is the first event I've seen that provides an example of the scale scope of the response to the crisis that we need in higher education. It's also a good example of what a #ResilienceNetwork contribution could look like. The conference schedule is shaping up quite nicely; you can now get the flavor of it. As a reminder, this is a free virtual conference on June 13th and 14th for anyone in the world who wants to learn more practical and immediately applicable practices for teaching online more easily and effectively. I'm told that registrations have topped 10,000, but there's still a lot of capacity for more attendees. please encourage anyone you know who could benefit from this event to come.

In addition to being the person who thought of the idea for REMOTE and has been moving heaven and earth to make it happen, David is an interesting and lovely guy. I probably wouldn't have started the Empirical Educator Project without his encouragement. So it should be a really good conversation. As will be the norm with e-Literate LIVE! events, we're going to keep it loose, have some focused that actively includes you, and take your input for what you'd like to see happen as a follow-up to REMOTE.

We'll be doing this on the Run the World platform, which some of you were kind enough to kick the tires with me today. As I had previously mentioned, Run the World is a promising platform designed by former Instagram folks that is a hybrid of a web conference platform, a virtual conference platform, and a persistent social media platform. It's unique. It's also a little rough around the edges, having been rushed out early in the face of COVID. It's probably fair to call it a public beta. But I love the vision for the platform and I also love the energy, enthusiasm, and quick wit of founder Xiaoyin Qi and her diverse group of colleagues. They've been evolving the platform quickly and taking input well. I'm going to stick with it and I invite you to stick with me on it. I believe the vision they have is an important one for meaningful group interaction and social engagement in the world that we live in today.

Register here.

The post e-Literate Live! Event on the ASU-hosted REMOTE Conference Next Week appeared first on e-Literate.

CEO of exam monitoring software Proctorio apologises for posting student’s chat logs on Reddit

OLDaily - 3 Julio, 2020 - 02:37
Geoffrey Rockwell,, Jul 02, 2020

It's very difficult to be paranoid about corporate abuses of technology because every time you imagine an outlandish scenario it turns out that some company is doing it. And thus we turn to Proctario, which would never abuse its powers to surveil students... right? Wrong. "That the CEO would post a partial transcript shows that: 1. staff at Proctorio do have access to the logs and transcripts of student behaviour, and 2. that they don’t have the privacy protection protocols in place to prevent the private information from being leaked." It should go without saying that the Proctorio CEO's actions were profoundly disrespectful. Here's coverage from the Guardian about the incident.

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I Asked 2 Million People How To Make Virtual Conferences Better

OLDaily - 3 Julio, 2020 - 02:37
Ryan Holmes, Medium, Jul 02, 2020

Most of the suggestions in this article are pretty good, and some of them are just silly (and no, he didn't ask 2 million people, he polled them, and some subset replied). Anyhow, the points about being less polished (but still having great audio and video) are bang-on. Content isn't king, in my view, but good content helps (and bad content will create a snooze-fest). The same with short - if it isn't engaging, people will leave - but at the same time, people do sit through long content if it's engaging (just ask Leo Laporte). Interaction is vital - not necessarily breakout rooms, but definitely backchannels. Finally - free lunch and swag? Just plain silly.

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No more going viral: why not apply social distancing to social media?

OLDaily - 3 Julio, 2020 - 02:37
Leo Mirani, The Guardian, Jul 02, 2020

One of the turning points of my life was watching a talk by Francisco Varela on connectivity. The key, he said, was to find a sweet spot - not too dense, otherwise the signals would overwhelm the network, and not too sparse, or the signal would never propagate. He was talking about immune networks, but it was clear to me that the principle applied more generally.

When we have an epidemic, the problem is that the signal - in this case, a virus - is spreading too rapidly. The basic reproduction number (R0) is used to measure the transmission potential of a disease. This number is based on the connectivity of the network - which is why we're applying social distancing. The same problems causing an epidemic, says this article, are the problems that cause misinformation. "The spread of misinformation is enabled by the structures of social networks. These structures reduce friction in sharing. They speed up flows of information and incentivise users to post things that will earn likes, replies and shares."

This is a structural problem. As Umair Haque said three years ago, "Social media has great economics: Facebook and Twitter and so on maximize incomes and earn fortunes. But it’s eudaimonics are profoundly unsuccessful: it makes people unhappy, unfulfilled, and more distant - and it’s a vector for misinformation and mistrust that’s eating away at the fabric of democracy." We need to value the local more - maybe not so much as suggested by Jenny Mackness, but in that direction.

We do this by making it harder to be too big. In an economy, it should be much harder (not easier, as it is to day) to generate more income if you already have a lot of income. In a social network, it should be more expensive to amass large numbers of users, by making it harder to finance through mass-driven economics like advertising. In media, each additional person you reach with a message should cost more, not less. And, as we already know, in a pandemic, we make it much harder for the disease to find large numbers of people such as are found at sporting events and concerts. When you hear me talk about decentralized and distributed technology for learning networks, this is why.

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Can the U.S. fix unemployment with 'Universal Basic Jobs'?

OLDaily - 3 Julio, 2020 - 02:37
Stephen Johnson, Big Think, Jul 02, 2020

One of the reasons I support a universal basic income is that it would release a flourishing of creativity and personal development. I also believe it "is a policy of care, one that fundamentally rejects the notion that people in economic distress, communities in disrepair, and an environment in peril are the unfortunate but unavoidable collateral damage of a market economy." However, making it a job guarantee, rather than an income guarantee, eliminates the creativity and personal development and leaves people being required to work for no particular reason. Sure, there's beneficial work that could be done - but it should be organized on a volunteer basis, and be done by willing contributors seeking to expand their personal and social horizons.

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Microsoft Gets Serious About Skills: Major New Announcements

OLDaily - 3 Julio, 2020 - 02:37
Josh Bersin, Jul 02, 2020

It's definitely worth watching what Microsoft is doing in this space. If you add it all together, it's a considerable investment. "The combination of LinkedIn Learning, GitHub, Microsoft Learn, and Microsoft certifications are a massive investment in this market. In this announcement, the company offers to reduce prices, provide LinkedIn learning paths for free, donate $20 Million to upskilling programs, and new GitHub offerings. The goal is to 'upskill' 25 million people by the end of the year."

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Sanjaya Mishra: Educational institutions need to become a producer of content and not just consumer of content

OLDaily - 3 Julio, 2020 - 02:37
Santosh C. Hulagabali, Open Interview, Jul 02, 2020

It takes a while to get to this point, but the interview eventually gets there: "When public funded institutions consider this as part of their mandate to share educational resources to public, the issue of sustainability becomes quite easy." The article has a number of links to good resources on OER, for example, the Global OERs Report 2017, and South Africa's national “White Paper for Post-school Education and Training”

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Como prepararse ante contingencias en instituciones educativas

Faraón Llorens - 3 Julio, 2020 - 01:23
Como prepararse ante contingencias en instituciones educativas 2 de julio de 2020 Quinteava sesión de las pláticas informativas sobre “Como prepararse ante contingencias en Instituciones educativas” Organizado por ANUIES-TIC (Ecuador) “Perspectiva en la Educación Superior en España ante la contingencia por el COVID-19”. Dr. Faraón Llorens “Perspectiva en la Educación Superior en Argentina ante la … Continue reading →

El impacto del COVID-19 en la generación Z y su visión del futuro de la educación

Tec Monterrey — Edu News - 2 Julio, 2020 - 17:09
Un estudio revela el punto de vista de la Generación Z sobre cómo el COVID-19 afecta su educación y por qué buscarán seguir su propio camino educativo.

Foto por: Susan Ruggles.

Con el fin de descubrir si los estudiantes de la generación Z estaban interesados en seguir una educación universitaria tradicional al terminar el bachillerato, la Corporación de Gestión de Crédito Educativo (ECMC por sus siglas en inglés) y VICE Media lanzaron “Question The Quo". Esta encuesta involucró a más de 2200 alumnos estadounidenses entre 14 a 18 años, es decir, jóvenes que están en el bachillerato o lo van terminando. Lo interesante es que la investigación comenzó a finales de febrero del 2020, justo cuando empezaba la pandemia y terminó a mediados de mayo, cuando los alumnos llevaban más de un mes en cuarentena. 

Tradicionalmente, se estudian cuatro años de educación superior para obtener el título pero ahora, menos del 23 % lo ven como el único camino para obtener un buen trabajo o una exitosa carrera profesional. Por el contrario, el 70 % de los encuestados están dispuestos a seguir su propio camino de aprendizaje, aunque este no incluya ir a la universidad. 

Cuestionando el statu quo

Los resultados de este estudio demuestran que las nuevas generaciones comprenden la necesidad del aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida y capacitación continua en habilidades, factores que Jeremy Wheaton, presidente y CEO del Grupo ECMC, considera esenciales para el éxito ahora y en el futuro. Más de la mitad de los encuestados (61 %) aseguraron que el mejor lugar para aprender es el trabajo, pero menos de la mitad (46 %) creen que las empresas brindan oportunidades de educación formal para ayudarlos a desarrollar sus habilidades. 

Entre los factores que influyen la decisión de alejarse de una educación tradicional por rutas alternas, el 64 % de los jóvenes comentaron que les preocupa cómo pagar la educación superior. Un 59 % espera que el gobierno lance algún bono o programa adicional para ayudarlos a pagar sus deudas estudiantiles. Otro 46 % está esperando que las empresas empiecen a brindar educación formal con el fin de mejorar las habilidades que necesitarán en el futuro del trabajo. 

Por otro lado, un 80 % de las mejores carreras que los encuestados quieren estudiar se ofrecen a través de programas de formación profesional y técnica, por lo que para esta generación, considerar una alternativa a la universidad es viable. Además, 65 % de los encuestados comentaron que consideran una educación alternativa porque confían en su futuro personal, inclusive el 84 % considera que sus perspectivas laborales son iguales o mejores que las de sus padres.  

¿Qué preocupa a la Gen Z?

El cambio climático y la deuda estudiantil son dos de los temas que más preocupan y provoca ansiedad en los jóvenes de la generación Z. Según el estudio, el 51 % considera el cambio climático como el tema más preocupante, seguido por la deuda estudiantil (48 %) y las expectativas de los demás (41 %).

Por otro lado, la encuesta preguntó a los encuestados qué era lo que les daba más esperanza sobre el futuro, y el 60 % confirmaron que su familia. Le sigue con un 55 % las metas y esperanzas que planean cumplir, junto con su habilidad de poder ganarse la vida. Lo que más desconfianza y desaliento les da  es la deuda estudiantil, ya que no creen que se pueda evitar. 

La generación Z se ha caracterizado por padecer altos niveles de estrés y burnout, esto se debe, en parte, a las altas expectativas que se tienen sobre las y los integrantes de esta generación. Las expectativas que tienen sobre ellos es el tercer tema que más preocupa a esta generación. 

Pero, ¿cómo define la Gen Z el “éxito”? Se les preguntó cuánto estaban de acuerdo con las siguientes afirmaciones y 87 % está de acuerdo con que “éxito” es obtener un trabajo que los apasione en los primeros cinco años de su vida laboral. Otro 67 % creen que es centrarse en lo que aman, sin importar el dinero, y un 30 % creen que lo económico es lo que define el éxito. 

La pandemia los ha hecho replantear sus planes a futuro

Debido a las fechas en las que se llevaron a cabo las encuestas, está claro que el tema del COVID-19 afecta a estos resultados. Al 37 % de los jóvenes encuestados les preocupa cómo la pandemia pueda afectar su futuro, especialmente por el impacto económico que la pandemia tendrá. Se estima que los estragos del COVID-19 se sentirán hasta una década después, afectando especialmente a las generaciones que ingresarán al mercado laboral en un mundo pospandemia.

Estos factores han influido en las decisiones de carrera de esta generación. El 25 % de los encuestados está considerando cambiar sus planes sobre qué hacer después de graduarse, el 24 % retrasará sus planes de estudiar una carrera universitaria y 21 % señala que es probable que asista a una escuela técnica, en lugar de asistir a la universidad. Además, el 35 % contestó que es probable que no busquen un título de posgrado. 

Para quienes siguen con sus planes de continuar sus estudios, el 74 % de los encuestados cree que una educación basada en habilidades STEM o comerciales hacen sentido y son relevantes en el mundo actual. Mientras que el 59 % considera el aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida y la capacitación continua como un tema esencial.

Clases en línea vs. presenciales

La generación Z prefiere la enseñanza presencial. Más de la mitad (58 %) de los encuestados creen que la educación sufre durante los cierres de las instituciones educativas. Mientras que al elegir entre clases presenciales, híbridas o totalmente en línea, el 36 % considera que, como están las cosas actualmente, las clases son mucho mejor presenciales, seguido muy de cerca (34 %) por la creencia que la mejor opción son las clases híbridas y el 30 % se inclina más por las clases en línea. 

Estos resultados cambian cuando se les pregunta lo mismo pero considerando un escenario donde ya se haya desarrollado una vacuna; en este escenario, el 56 % considera que prefiere tener clases presenciales, seguido por un 37 % híbridas y sólo un 7 % prefiere las clases exclusivamente en línea. Pero aunque la mayoría de los encuestados se incline por las clases presenciales, ¿cómo se imaginan un regreso a las aulas pospandemia? El 39 % está de acuerdo que, de regresar a las aulas, los escritorios deberán estar apartados uno del otro y un 36 % considera que se deberían reducir los espacios sociales. 

Al preguntarles qué tan de acuerdo estaban con la dificultad y desventajas de la educación en línea, el 39 % está de acuerdo que el material en línea es menos desafiante, mientras que un 34 %  acordaron lo opuesto, señalan que las clases online son más difíciles y sólo el 20 % afirmó consideran que es lo mismo. 

Por último, el 43 % creen que debido a la pandemia, aumentará la insistencia en la educación en el hogar posibilidad que esta generación no ve con buenos ojos ya que el 50 % cree que la cuarentena sólo ha aumentado a la desigualdad ya que no todos los alumnos tienen el mismo acceso a las tecnologías necesarias para aprender a distancia.

Está claro que la pandemia ha afectado a la generación Z y los ha llevado a replantear sus planes sobre qué hacer al graduarse de preparatoria. Además, temas como el costo de la universidad y la incertidumbre, siguen empujando a los alumnos a considerar entrar a trabajar o estudiar una carrera técnica o entrar a algún programa de formación profesional. Aún así, la encuesta se realizó durante la cuarentena por lo que sería interesante ver si cambian de opinión una vez que vuelvan a abrir las universidades.


How a Cambridge scientist became an accidental inventor

JISC News - 2 Julio, 2020 - 13:41
2 July 2020

Documentary-maker Alex Freeman never imagined she would create a tool that could overhaul the monumental structure of academic publishing.

After her postgraduate doctoral degree on wing patterns in butterflies, Freeman spent 17 years filming and producing science and wildlife programmes such as ‘Bang Goes the Theory’ and ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’.

Then, four years ago, she decided to return to academia, taking a role as leader of a team of scientists at the University of Cambridge. 

“I was really shocked to learn about the pressures my team of post doctoral researchers were under. I had heard about the reproducibility crisis and the fact that a significant proportion of research can’t be replicated due to lack of clarity of the methodology or because of chance results being treated as a robust finding, but never realised the extend of the underlying systemic issues in scientific publishing.”

She explains:

“To publish research in a journal, academics need to find a narrative that neatly makes the data fit a theory and bundle that up in one single paper. But research is not a linear thing. The huge amount of work that goes into the research and the thought processes of what did or didn’t work are all part of scientific practice. High-impact papers often just tell the success story, leaving out the many failings that are part of the truth.”

"To publish research in a journal, academics need to find a narrative that neatly makes the data fit a theory and bundle that up in one single paper. But research is not a linear thing"

Another issue with scientific publishing is that success in research (and, often, subsequent career progression) is measured by the number of people that read or cite a particular paper. This is another incentive for scientists to create a simplified narrative, written in a way that is most likely to reach the general public. Granular and detailed reporting of methodologies and underlying data (especially ‘messy’ data) are often left out. 

Freeman adds:

“Currently there just isn’t a way to publish this primary research knowledge - and that’s why I felt I needed to come up with a new way of disseminating and reporting research findings.”

Breaking up the old-fashioned academic 'paper'. 

Over the past two years, Freeman has been working on Octopus, an alternative publishing model that divides the various elements of publishing into eight different steps. This model allows for all the complexities and failures that are part of research to be published as part of the final output. Researchers will no longer have to cram all their work, often accrued over many years, into simplified, easy-to-read articles.

Freeman says:

“Each of these mini publications will be publishable instantly, rather than submitted for peer review and selected by editors first. This way, research can be instantly in the public domain to be both reviewed and rated by all, speeding up research and solving some of the problems of the existing peer review process. The model will also credit researchers for their individual contributions and offer a tangible solution to the reproducibility crisis.”

"research can be instantly in the public domain to be both reviewed and rated by all, speeding up research and solving some of the problems of the existing peer review process."

For instance, Octopus allows for people who are specialists in research design to publish stand-alone protocols, those who have collected data to publish it (regardless of the size of the data), and for researchers specialised in analysing data to publish statistical analyses of data published by others. Each of these publications would be reviewed independently. This creates quality control through greater collaboration, and specialisation related to each step.

The pandemic has highlighted the need for a revised system, says Freeman:

“The demand for a more diversified publication system has come to the fore in the global rush to understand and treat COVID-19. Researchers need to share their work quickly, but there is no real infrastructure beyond putting content on preprint servers – no formal quality control or ratings.”

“The demand for a more diversified publication system has come to the fore in the global rush to understand and treat COVID-19."

On Octopus, by contrast, researchers could be sharing their work and findings instantly, and others reviewing it and quality-rating it immediately and openly.

Credible alternative

A prototype of the platform is set to be launched in September, once it has been pre-seeded with open access material from CORE – the world’s largest open access repository, hosted by Jisc. Some might believe Octopus could replace journal publishing, but Freeman is keen to point out that “Octopus is not set up to put publishers out of business”.

She explains:

“We still need editorialised and easy-to-read summaries of research findings. Journals could play an important role as disseminators and become interpreters of what’s happening on the primary resource record from Octopus. For instance, they could create well-written updates for the large audience that doesn't want to trawl through pages and pages of methodology.

“I want people to move away from limiting research to a linear narrative. I’ve spent all my working life creating narratives and they are incredibly powerful, but they're powerful in a way that isn't necessarily good for scientific communication. Science shouldn’t say ‘believe what I tell you’, it's about showing all the things you haven’t thought of. That's a very different kind of communication and one that encourages critical thinking.”

“I want people to move away from limiting research to a linear narrative."

In the words of American inventor Thomas Edison: “Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.”

Octopus is supported by the Reproducibility Network which is co-funded by Jisc amongst other organisations.