What Are We Waiting For?

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Recently The Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece entitled “How to Avoid a Post-Scholar America”.  Yes, we say, YES, and AMEN, too.

The University of Oklahoma was founded as a public institution.  Its mission encompasses “service to the state and society.”  We can do this by, as The Chronicle article says, creating more public scholarship which “directly impacts the public” and “touches lives far beyond the walls of academe.”

One way The Chronicle suggests pursuing this is the creation of public syllabi.  Beyond the examples provided, we want to point readers to The Open Syllabus Project.  Billed as “an effort to make the intellectual judgment embedded in syllabi relevant to the broader explorations of teaching, publishing, and intellectual history,” the project offers 1M+ syllabi useful to authors, teachers, administrators and students.  Those students include those at OU and beyond, as well as the citizens of Oklahoma, the U.S, and the world.  Consider contributing your syllabi to the project.

A second avenue offered by The Chronicle article authors is to pursue digital scholarship opportunities that address audiences beyond our academic peers.  If you are reading this blog post, you are probably already aware of the services the University Libraries offers in support of digital scholarship, as well as the many other units on campus involved in this area.  So take that one step further, and share what you know with a colleague who is not yet aware of these resources, or invite your department’s liaison librarian to make a brief presentation about digital scholarship with you to your colleagues or graduate students.

A third avenue for sharing your knowledge and expertise with the wider world is to make your work more open.  Retain your rights as an author when you publish by using an addendum to keep the rights you will need to more freely use and share your work.  Place a copy of your work in an institutional repository such as our own SHAREOK or an appropriate subject repository.  Consider publishing in a peer-reviewed open access journal and apply for University Libraries support to do so, if you have need.  We encourage you to consult Jen Waller, our Open Educational Resources and Scholarly Communication Coordinator, or your liaison librarian, for more information about or assistance with these options.

Included in OU’s founding charter is the following statement:

At the close of each fiscal year the regents, through their president, shall make a report in detail to the Governor, exhibiting the progress, condition and wants of each of the colleges embraced in the University, the course of study in each, the number of professors and students, the amount of receipts and disbursements, together with the nature, assets, and results of all important investigations and experiments, and such either information as they may deem important…

Today’s technology makes it entirely feasible to expand upon our charter, making our research —“the results of all important investigations and experiments”– available to citizens of the state of Oklahoma and beyond. What are we waiting for?

Karen Rupp-Serrano is associate dean for scholarly resources and services at OU Libraries.

1 thought on “What Are We Waiting For?”

  1. Thanks for including open syllabuses in this post! And here’s great news: now that we have Canvas as our LMS at OU, faculty can all open their syllabuses. Open Syllabus Project is also great, but in terms of actually opening up what we are doing as teachers here at OU to connect with OU students and fellow faculty, Canvas is the key: you can open all your class content (that’s what I do, e.g. Myth.MythFolklore.net ) OR you can open just the syllabus if that is what you prefer.

    I wish the syllabus were open by default (because really, why would a syllabus be private?), but unfortunately it’s closed by default… luckily, though, it takes just a click in the settings to make the syllabus open.

    With D2L, you could not open anything: not the course, not the syllabus. The open syllabus option is a huge change with Canvas, and I hope we will start promoting that really strongly now that all the courses will be in Canvas starting this coming year!

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