Digital content, distributed via a global network, has laid the foundation for potential changes in academia, but it is when the third element of openness is added in that more fundamental challenges to existing practice are seen, as I hope to demonstrate throughout this book. Let us take an example to illustrate this combination of a digital, networked and open approach, that of the life of a journal article.
The authors, let’s call them Frank and Sally, know each other through a combination of commenting on each other’s blogs, being part of the same network on Twitter where they share many of the same contacts and some email exchanges. Following a blog post by Frank on pedagogy for networked learning, Sally posts a long piece in reply. They decide to collaborate on a paper together and work in Google Docs to produce it. Sally gives a presentation about the subject to her department and shares the presentation on Slideshare. She posts the link to this on Twitter, and it gets retweeted several times by people in her network, some of whom comment on the presentation. Frank posts a draft of their chapter on his blog and again receives a number of comments which they incorporate into the paper. They submit it to an open access journal, where it is reviewed and published within two months. They both tweet and blog about the paper, which gets widely cited and has more than 8,000 views. As a result of the paper, they give a joint presentation in an open, online course on networked learning.