The editorial project for the relaunching of Open Praxis as the ICDE scholarly, peer-reviewed and open access journal included three main aspects: editorial process, scientific quality and dissemination (Gil-Jaurena & Malik, 2011). After 6 published issues in 2013 and 2014, let's focus on the last aspect, related to visibility of the journal. The use of Open Journal System (OJS) -an electronic journal management and publishing tool- facilitates dissemination, as its features include comprehensive indexing of content part of global system, reading tools for content (which show indexing metadata, citations formats, info about the author, etc.), and email notification and commenting ability for readers.
The fact of being an open access journal makes the publication more easily available and visible. Permanent actions developed in order to promote Open Praxis are (Gil-Jaurena, 2013):
- Announcements are published in the journal website. Registered users in the site (as readers, authors and/or reviewers) get notifications by email.
- The journal uses RSS, so users can get automatic updates and sites can aggregate content, as it happens with sites such as JournalTOCs.
- ICDE Newsletter announces news about Open Praxis regularly, reaching all its members.
- Open Praxis maintains diverse social media profiles: a Twitter account, @ICDEOP, informs about news, calls, announcements related to the journal. A Facebook page and a topic in Scoop.it! are also used for Open Praxis news.
- Any user can share each article via Twitter, Facebook, CiteULike, LinkedIn, Mendeley, ResearchGate, etc. (using AddThis).
- The assignment of a digital object identifier (DOI) to each article guarantees conservation in the digital world. It also promotes visibility, as publications with a DOI can be easily linked to researchers' profiles, such as ORCID.
- Articles are published with a Creative Commons License that allows, among others, to post the journal's published version to an institutional repository. Some authors have done so, and it is something that we expect to promote more actively: the increasing involvement of authors themselves in the dissemination of their papers.
- All papers published in Open Praxis in 2013 (volume 5, issues 1 to 4) have been published in a printed compendium, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the International Council for Open and Distance Education - ICDE. Copies have been delivered to ICDE members and to Open Praxis contributors during 2013, including authors, reviewers and Editorial Board members. This compendium promotes preservation and availability of the journal in physical libraries. It is also available as a pdf.
With regards to dissemination an also related to quality, abstracting and indexing is a main concern for scientific journals. During the first one and a half years after relaunching, Open Praxis has been submitted to diverse databases and catalogues for evaluation and inclusion. In July 2014, Open Praxis can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), EdITLib, Google Scholar, Dialnet, WorldCat, Information Matrix for the Analysis of Journals (MIAR), etc. An agreement with EBSCO was signed in March 2014. Updated information is available in the journal website, http://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/pages/view/indexing. Abstracting and indexing is an ongoing process and Open Praxis will be submitted to other databases and catalogues as soon as the journal meets the evaluation criteria and formal requirements, especially minimum years of regular publication.
Some figures about dissemination and visibility of Open Praxis let us know that, from the publication of issue 5(1) in January 2013 until July 20th 2014, we have had more than 77000 pageviews, more than 21000 sessions and more than 14000 users from 168 countries, being the top ten the following (in descending order): United States, United Kingdom, Spain, India, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia and Germany (info provided by Google Analytics). About impact in social media, we have reached more than 320 followers in Twitter and more than 580 tweets have mentioned Open Praxis (278 tweets sent by Open Praxis are not included).
Regarding impact in the academic arena, our Google Scholar profile counts 74 citations to Open Praxis papers published in 2013 and 2014. From 32 papers published in 2013, 19 have received at least one citation in a variety of scientific journals, conference proceedings, books and other specialized works. From 16 papers published in 2014, already 2 have received at least one citation.
After this brief report on Open Praxis dissemination, let's introduce this third Open Praxis issue in volume 6. It is an open issue covering different aspects related to open, distance and flexible education; six articles are included in the research papers section, and three focus on innovative practices.
The first two research papers focus on OER and highlight aspects related to quality, repurposing and adaptation of open educational resources.
Thomas Richter and Patrick Veith (Fostering the Exploitation of Open Educational Resources), contrast different aspects in the life cycle model of educational resources in commercial and open scenarios, placing quality as a basis for OER. They analyze which specific quality demands exist for OER and propose to consider both appropriatennes and formal quality in the implementation of a common standard. They provide an exhaustive and updated bibliography, useful for any researcher or practitioner interested in OER.
Alison Buckler, Leigh-Anne Perryman, Tim Seal and Shankar Musafir (The role of OER localisation in building a knowledge partnership for development: insights from the TESSA and TESS-India teacher education projects) present a paper that the OCWC 2014 Programme Committee pre-selected for publication in Open Praxis in the frame of the agreement with the OpenCourseWare Consortium (now Open Education Consortium). Other selected papers were published in vol. 6 issue 2. Located in the "pedagogical impact" strand, the paper reflects about adaptation of OER upon the experience developed in two projects in Africa and India. From a qualitative approach, they provide some insights to consider when dealing with contextualization of OER.
Daniel Dominguez and Paz Trillo Miravalles (Learning Competences in Open Mobile Environments: A Comparative Analysis Between Formal and Non-Formal Spaces), involved in a research project funded by the Spanish Government, compare the use of mobile technologies in formal and non-formal educational or learning settings. Conceptually framed in sociocultural ecology, they analyze the competences (instrumental and advanced skills and knowledge) that univesity students acquire through the use of mobile technologies, which differ between both scenarios. They identify some implications of these results for further analysis and practices.
Chryssoula Themelis (Synchronous Video Communication for Distance Education: the educators’ perspective) deals with other technology, SVC, and presents a research where educators from different countries have been interviewed regarding how they use synchronous video in distance education. The results derive in a theory of praxis, called tele-proximity, that consist on tele-teacher, tele-cognitive and tele-social presences (explained in the paper); it may help to better understand and use SVC.
Adhi Susilo, in his paper Emerging Technologies Acceptance in Online Tutorials: Tutors’ and Students’ Behavior Intentions in Higher Education, presents a survey-based research that analyses the factors that influence instructors' and students' intentions to use emerging technologies. The variables considered are emerging technologies reaction and understanding, and technology competences, being the latter the most relevant one. With a broad theoretical section, the paper also includes the survey used in the research as an appendix.
Victoria I. Marín and Gemma Tur (Student Teachers’ Attitude towards Twitter for Educational Aims) also focus on attitudes towards technology, specifically Twitter. They compare two different learning activities developed with face-to-face students, where Twitter was used and its educational impact was discussed among the students. The paper includes students' (future teachers) comments and reflections about Twitter in their own learning processes and in their future teaching. Considered as a preliminary approach to the topic, the authors suggest further research and questions to be addressed.
The innovative practice articles section is opened with a contribution by Teresa Aguado, Fernando Monge and Alicia del Olmo (Virtual Mobility in Higher Education. The UNED Campus Net Program), who describe a virtual mobility program developed in a partnership between different universities in Europe and Latin America. They present how the program was managed, highlighting administrative aspects that need to be considered, and collect students' and professors' opinions about the experience. Betting on this kind of experience, they finally summarize some challenges faced by institutions involved in virtual mobility.
Marilyn E. Laiken, Russ Milland and Jon Wagner (Capturing the Magic of Classroom Training in Blended Learning) present an experience where a group of educators in Canada have converted a face-to-face training into an online learning practice. Building upon a set of principles on adult learning, they narrate the design process they followed and identify a set of challenges and lessons learned in relation to relevant aspects for practitioners in blended and online learning, such as the implementation of active exercises or formative assessment.
Finally, Luisa Signor and Catherine Moore (Open Access in Higher Education–Strategies for Engaging Diverse Student Cohorts) reflect about a study program in Australia where students have no entry requirements and present a diverse profile. They elaborate different strategies adopted to address diversity and equity. These strategies refer to technological, motivational or methodological aspects, and are framed in an approach to diversity that values the rich background that mature learners provide, also in online scenarios.
It is our wish in the journal that the variety of topics covered in this open issue contributes to reflection, debate and improvement of practices on open, distance and flexible education.
Special thanks from Open Praxis to the authors and reviewers who have collaborated in this issue.
Gil-Jaurena, I. (2013). Mobilising knowledge about distance education through an open access scientific journal: the case of Open Praxis. Proceedings of International Conference UNED – ICDE 2013, 7-9 March 2013, Madrid, Spain (pp. 84-96). Retrieved from http://www.icde.org/?module=Files;action=File.getFile;ID=3372
Gil-Jaurena, I. & Malik, B. (2011). Editorial project for Open Praxis. Unpublished project.