Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Free Science at Utah State?

We currently have a very active student organization in our department--and oh what a difference it makes. In our two candidate searches they've been invaluable in coordinating (and conducting) student meetings with the prospective faculty, they're engaged in outreach, they're pushing us to think about curriculum issues and it's just generally good all around--and that's just from a faculty perspective I think the bulk of their contribution has been between and among students. One of their projects is starting an online journal--which I think is an admirable thing to take on but I wonder if an expansion of the free science movement into instructional technology/educational technology/learning sciences might be a better usage of time.

I'll express my own ignorance here--perhaps it's already being done elsewhere. I guess there is something related with the IT Forum in that papers are discussed, but I'm talking about a widespread pre-print and (where it doesn't violate the publication guideliness of journals) in-print archive of manuscripts. We've tried to start an online journal in the past and the biggest problem was getting quality submissions. Heck after reading some of the articles in established print-based journals I think they have the same problem . . . This would be a step in the right direction that doesn't come with all the overhead of starting a journal. If enough interest is started with the manuscript archive, then a journal could be started from there.

I do think our librarians are already thinking along these lines--at least with the manuscript archive (and maybe have an archive up already), would be great to partner with them in some way. If USU is known so well for open education, it seems like a natural step to start building a reputation for open research.

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