"Openness is not like a light switch that is either 'on' or 'off'. Rather, it is like a dimmer switch, with varying degrees of openness" (Hilton iii, Wiley, Stein & Johnson, 2010)I really like this quote and something I referred to earlier in the year when questioning if the OER movement was mainstream and sustainable. I also refer to Schaffert & Geser (2008), who suggest openness has four principles: Open Access; Open Licensing; Open Software; Open Format.
So in considering the quote alongside the four principles, I wondered a) if it's possible to somehow visualise openness, and b) has anyone already made an attempt? I don't know for either, so thought I would give it a go...
My initial thoughts centre around a Radar Diagram, but it would involve plotting the 4 principles with various points for each. With this in mind, the following diagram attempts to visualise varying degrees of open practice (for want of a better phrase). The coloured area represents the degree of openness, where a larger area (based on plot on each axis) demonstrating greater openness;
If this could be a method of visualising openness, a detailed breakdown of each principle would be required. To this end (and by no means correct or complete), this could be a start;
Open Access (A) points (might include)
- Closed VLE
- Internal (Institutionally Owned) Repository
- Public (Institutionally Owned) Repository
- (National Repository) Jorum/Merlot
Open Licensing (L) points (might include)
- All Rights Reserved
- Creative Commons
- GNU Public license
Open Software (S) points (might include)
- MS Office
- Google Docs
- Xerte/GLO Maker
Open Format (F) points (might include)
- Flash Movie
- Document (.doc, .ppt, etc)
(N.B each of the points range from lowest to highest, closed to open, etc)
So to take a specific case to plot as an example, we could consider the development of an interactive Flash movie file that has been licensed with Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC) and placed within Jorum. The resulting visualisation might look like this;
The diagram/graph shows this case is a bit weak on the format and software side of things, but they are doing well in relation to Open Access and Licensing.
ConsiderationsThis is just a quick attempt at visualising openness - it's by no means complete and requires much more thought. Immediately I can think of the following points;
- Automation of a radar chart based on form input could reduce individual interpretations towards the 4 principles (this would require more specific details within each though)
- More knowledge/understanding needed (both of Openness and Technical), and perhaps crowdsourced, required to flesh out points within each of the principles
- The points on each axis could relate to the specific 'criteria' (as above)
- It might be worth highlighting that software and format are inextricably linked, however this is not to suggest a 'closed' software produces a 'closed' format; for example consider the expensive Adobe Dreamweaver which produces open HTML formats....
I would really appreciate your views on this. Is it stupid? Worthwhile? Does it already exist?
Please use the comments to share your thoughts.
This work by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.