7. Diversity

Our argument for Open Knowledge Institutions places diversity of perspectives, information, and knowledge sources at the centre of optimally functioning knowledge production networks.
7. Diversity
·
Contributors (12)
& 7 more
Published
Mar 08, 2019

7.1 What is the Role of Organisational Diversity?

Our argument for Open Knowledge Institutions places diversity of perspectives, information, and knowledge sources at the centre of optimally functioning knowledge production networks. A trusted organisation that adheres to OKI principles will have institutional forms that cultivate diversity through policies and actions that value and promote inclusion and equity across a number of dimensions. Such an organisation will be able to more successfully build and participate in networks that connect diverse actors ultimately increasing the capacity for knowledge production and the creation of value that results.

Often, conversations about diversity and equity begin and end with attention to diverse backgrounds of individuals involved in a community, institution or environment. This dimension of diversity is crucial; however, it is also only one of a multitude of elements that contribute to an open environment for the creation, dissemination, remixing, and sustainability of knowledge, as has been demonstrated in a range of ways including by Gardenswartz and Rowe (2003) and Page (2008).

Figure 9. Dimensions of diversity in open knowledge universities
Figure 9. Dimensions of diversity in open knowledge universities

Diversity is commonly reflected in a wide range of dimensions. In the diagram above, these dimensions are narrowed down to a selection of aspects relevant in the university context. This includes those that go beyond the level of individual diversity. We distinguish between intra-organisational diversity and external diversity in the relationships between the university and its environment.

  • In the most general terms, internal diversity can be further differentiated into individual diversity (knowledge agents) and intra-organisational diversity (knowledge structures).

  • External diversity is manifest in the spectrum of other organisations and agents with whom the university interacts; and locational diversity in a space that is structured along centre and periphery, such as the relative status of national languages in scientific publishing.

Diversity is crucial to the successful functioning of an OKI. This encompasses age, race, gender, sexual orientation, sexual discrimination, religion and belief, language, disability, age, ethnicity, and other categories. Openness means finding ways to support all these voices in the academy. In other words, openness embodies diversity and inclusion. This can manifest in a number of ways:

  • Researchers within institutions have space for open inquiry across cultural and disciplinary boundaries, to undertake diverse research activities within and external to the institution.

  • Research within communities is community-led and grass-roots led. The university is a partner and not just an instigator of research.

  • The form and output of research is diverse, where non-textual, visual, performative, and productive output is valued equally with traditional publications.

  • Policies of equity, diversity and inclusion in relation to staff, students, facilities, codes of conduct and sharing of knowledge and data underpin diversity and openness in research.

Ideally, the benefits and impact of OKI equalise and include marginalised populations. The traditional disciplinary structures within universities have excluded and overlooked Indigenous knowledges (Tuhiwai Smith, 1999). In Aotearoa New Zealand, efforts are being made to redress this imbalance. Māori knowledge is being incorporated, for example, into research to inform freshwater management policy and practices. Openness to combining knowledges has national benefits as well as articulating Māori perspectives and developing collaborative resource management models (Harmsworth, Awatere, & Robb, 2016).

University rankings and single-dimensional quality measures do not account for untraditional knowledge production and impacts. Worse yet, narrowly defined performance evaluations are used to quantify academic output from diverse disciplines, languages and cultures. This means that previously disadvantaged individuals are often further disadvantaged. The need to address these issues through the open knowledge paradigm is essential.

An open culture requires constant dialogue amongst all the diverse actors in the institution. The value of diversity to an OKI is manifested in new internal networks and relationships among institutional actors (students, staff, alumni, core funders, communities, intergenerational). These networks enable capacity building among actors and the creation of diverse and therefore open networks leads to benefits for the organisation. 

Openness means valuing a diversity of opinions, but negotiations between different claims require care and integrity. We are not proposing a post-truth era where one opinion overrides others based on power or reach or alternately where all positions are treated equally. Safeguards need to be in place to protect and foster differences of opinion to protect diversity and enable inclusion. At the same time, the approach to agreement or conclusion needs to be negotiated in a way that maximises equity. Combining perspectives from the sciences, which aim to rigorously answer a well-framed question, with those from the humanities, where the questions are rigorously tested for the relations to power and tradition, will be necessary.

The risks and problems with a totally open, or rather uncontrolled, approach to knowledge production that are discussed elsewhere in this book are also particularly of concern to disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. Inclusion and equity require efforts to address risks associated with privacy/anonymity, algorithmic inequality, intellectual property and cultural knowledge appropriation.

So how might we define the dimensions of diversity that an OKI environment should aspire to engage? The following list is not meant to be exhaustive but is illustrative. No single university is expected to excel in all of the following but rather is expected to grapple with those channels which will benefit its openness. Each challenge listed below presents important opportunities to universities as emerging OKIs.

  1. Populations that have been ignored, disadvantaged, colonised, and marginalised. OKI universities will seek to reasonably balance representation across a wide range of individual characteristics, as defined via specific socio-cultural lenses. These include gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, class, religion, rank, education level, language, religion, geographical location, appearance and other traits. An OKI benefits from attentiveness to and inclusion of a range of ages within a department. 

  2. Perspectives that defy or challenge traditional disciplinary boundaries. Cultivating an atmosphere in which departments do not merely replicate the same ideas or methods in their research outputs and their teaching, but instead encourage new perspectives and approaches. This helps to enable healthy discipline shifts and reevaluation as knowledge is created (e.g., the recent refreshing of social psychology as a discipline associated with inclusion of researchers with a different disciplinary focus and more robust statistical analysis tools).

  3. Intellectual outputs that extend beyond the article, book or dataset. The current academic environment credentialises and recognises a limited, rigidly defined set of formats for promotion and tenure, degree-granting, hiring and other purposes. Broadening these to include a spectrum of outputs (e.g., digital scholarship, short-form monographs, translations, public scholarship) empowers a broader range of voices and encourages new forms of both research and dialogue with extended communities.

  4. Course/learning spaces/knowledge objects. Encouraging and supporting a broader range of mechanisms for learning can enable OKI universities to engage more learners within more creative pedagogies. 

  5. Degree alternatives. OKIs will not encourage and reward a single bachelor to doctoral track but may instead offer a range of degree forms suitable for a broader set of learners, including those that encourage partnerships between learners, teachers, and communities (e.g., certificates, badges, etc.).

  6. Collaborative partners. OKIs will deliberately seek to engage with a range of both internal and external groups as partners in research and learning, e.g., university partners from a range of prestige levels and sizes, as well as non-university institutions from different sectors (public, private, etc.).

  7. Co-creators of knowledge. Universities currently focus on the production of knowledge that is then consumed by a range of players, including students, researchers and sometimes the public. OKIs will challenge this model by acknowledging and encouraging those who engage with an intellectual object to be co-creators of knowledge based on that object.

  8. Centre/Periphery. Power and status in various cultural contexts often yield binary juxtapositions and centre/periphery relationships, whereby some perspectives are automatically valued more than others in particular environments (e.g., north/south, male/female). OKIs will examine and challenge these power dynamics and seek to include voices from across the spectrum.

  9. Languages. The ubiquity of English as the primary language of scholarship curtails the different ways of thinking that are prompted via the diversity of language. OKIs will seek ways to better represent a range of languages through translations and other activities, not just to broaden readership but also to broaden thought patterns in ways that increase openness and value of scholarly thought and action.

In order to structure diversity-oriented policies and make internal and external accountability feasible, universities can and should develop indicators for evaluating their status as diverse organisations within the larger system of indicators used for assessing openness. An example is provided in Figure 10 below. 

Figure 10. Selected indicators for measuring diversity of universities
Figure 10. Selected indicators for measuring diversity of universities

 The diagram shows exemplary dimensions of diversity and potential indicators, with the dots as placeholders for a large spectrum of other choices, depending on regional context (such as focusing on race in a South African or American context; while in Germany the organising term would be ethnicity), demographic situation (such as aging in Japan) and other determinants. The inner circle lists examples of categories that measure openness (such as open access) and diversity (such as inclusiveness). 

The indicators presented in Figure 10 are arranged in open lists of categories which ensure a maximum of comparability but leave room for recognising and expressing individual approaches and local context. The inner circle identifies categories which are universally seen as being relevant for assessing openness (such as open access) and diversity (such as inclusiveness). Within these categories, which enable comparability, universities may set up a tailored system of specific indicators (such as age diversity in the inclusiveness category).

Such a system needs to be geared towards the need for internal and external reporting. These perspectives differ, because internal reporting may be also conceived as an instrument for implementing university-wide strategies and communicating policy directions to its members, whereas external reporting may be more focused on aspects of comparability in the context of competition for researchers, students, or funding. Both are connected via the requirement in institutional evaluations to make transparent how diversity policies are designed and implemented internally.

However, in an Open Knowledge Institution, the choice of an indicator system needs to be subject to an open and inclusive process which is not simply determined by upper hierarchical levels. In other words, it is essential that the construction of an indicator system is regularly re-assessed in a university-wide deliberation that may also include external concerned parties. In measuring diversity, it is important that needs for including specific aspects are identified via an open discourse. This necessarily implies that an indicator system cannot be imposed by an external agency, even though these are free to construct such indicator systems in their own domain of expertise. To sum up, diversity of OKIs is also reflected in the diversity of indicators and indicator systems.


7.2 Building Trust

We have addressed the question of internal diversity within an organisation such as a university. But what about diversity across organisations? How can the concept of Open Knowledge Institutions be applied internationally? And is the Open Knowledge Institution a mechanism through which positive change can be supported in the context of geographical inequities such as the North-South divide and the best and worst aspects of globalisation? There are also hard questions to be asked about hierarchies of knowledge and their relationship to open knowledge. Awareness of and sensitivity to diversity in conceptions of knowledge in different cultural, political and economic contexts is needed. So too is a commitment to ensuring that Open Knowledge Institutions do not merely re-inscribe those existing inequities.


Case Study: Chinese Open Access Journals 

In China, journal publishing is an area in which the state continues to play a central role. Scholarly publishing and scholarly communication infrastructure are viewed as central to China’s economic ambitions and too important to be left to the vagaries of commercial markets. State support for scholarly communication is widespread, ranging from government investment in the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure network (CNKI): a national level database for journals, theses, conference papers and other scholarly outputs (Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure Network, n.d.), to subsidies paid directly to individual, often small-scale, journal publishers. As a result, China’s scholarly publishers are able to operate in a funding landscape that is relatively protected from the financial challenges of a market-based sector. For their part, Chinese libraries are not faced with insurmountable budget pressures associated with increases in subscription prices – at least in the case of domestically published content.

The narrative of open access as a mechanism of ensuring ‘public access to publicly funded research’, which emerged in Western criticisms of commercial journal publishing models that depend on the capacity to exclude readers who have not paid for access (Vollmer, 2015), is also absent in China. Chinese-language scholarly content is readily accessible for most Chinese academics and university students. Widening access to research beyond universities is not seen as a priority for either researchers or the government. The problems facing scholarly communication in China tend to be framed as relating to quality and transparency, rather than to cost and access (Ren and Montgomery, 2015). Predatory ‘pay to publish’ operators and academic fraud and corruption are seen as particularly urgent problems that need to be solved if China is to succeed in transforming its research and innovation sectors (Lin and Zhan, 2014). The value proposition of Chinese open access journals centres around notions of quality, credibility and transparency, rather than public access: a key difference between China and other publishing markets.  

There needs to be an understanding of how open knowledge will operate in a post-globalisation era where trends towards nationalism and the closing down of free trade agreements may reduce or restrict the sharing of knowledge. What is currently happening in southern Africa, for example, is that very careful and detailed consultation and dialogue between the traditional communities is building up trust and mutual understanding, creating spaces in which sensitive community knowledge is closed off and protected, while the open knowledge institution as a neutral movement can transcend some of these barriers, to lead inclusivity and openness.

The question is not only how to develop free and open knowledge sharing but also how to manage failure. It appears that the open knowledge institution as a neutral movement can transcend those barriers most effectively through careful and honest collaboration in order to lead inclusivity and equity. Such collaboration is beginning to happen in extensive dialogue between traditional communities and trusted mediators from a range of specialist NGOs and public benefit organisations. Further such efforts are needed to ensure a democratic understanding between the parties involved in discussions.

 

Case Study: Open Access and Latin America

In South America, there are long-standing initiatives and platforms supporting particular kinds of openness within specific contexts, such as Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) and the Brazilian Virtual Herbarium (BVH) that both pre-date and in many respects out-perform their Western equivalents. The SciELO initiative began in Brazil in 1997; it has grown into a cooperative, multi-institutional approach and platform that addresses many of the scholarly communications challenges of developing countries, with emphasis on the Portuguese and Spanish speaking areas of Latin and South America (with publications in English, Portuguese, and Spanish).

Universal accessibility and free open access are hallmarks of this largely science-based publishing platform, which provides common methods and a federated collection of journals, books, preprints. The open access environment promoted in the SciELO system not only provides free access to the outputs of scholarship; more important, it also, and perhaps more importantly, provides scholars of all levels in Latin America with a means of producing high quality, well-regarded publications. Similar initiatives in Western countries, including the Public Knowledge Project (Canada) and its Open Journal Systems and Open Conference Systems platforms, have provided platforms also fueled by a public mission. As if to highlight the marginalisation of the Latin and South American realms in the Western publishing environment, in 2015, Jeffrey Beall (American Librarian and owner of the Beall’s List on predatory journals) attacked  SciELO and another Latin American database, Redalyc, within his now-infamous (and also now retired) blog,  as 'favelas' (slums). No similar characterisation of the PKP’s OJS platform’s many outputs was made by Beall, raising familiar questions about the 'neocolonial' perspective and prejudice that non-Western OA publishing is so often subjected to by its Western counterparts.

The BVH provides an infrastructure for gathering and making available the digital records of plant specimens, primarily focusing on Brazil and its surrounding areas. It hosts more than eight million records that improve the availability of specimens (via high-resolution scans and information about the location, collector, and botanical name, as well as the endangered status of specimens). It received 110 million data requests in October 2017 (Neylon, 2017; Maia et al. 2017).

The BVH is not a publishing platform, but rather is an open federation arena that collects data from various (open) sources and then makes them freely available via the BVH system, maintaining ownership of the data by the original sources. The progressive nature of this system focuses on collection, long-term preservation, and access provision of the collection of data BVH gathers. The platform concentrates on geographical data, descriptive data, and federation of species-based information, all intended to increase the longevity of species. The purpose of this platform has been, in part, to 'promote a cultural change within the upstream herbaria driven by evidence of the increased usage that comes from a shared data access platform' (Neylon, 2017; Maia et al. 2017). The importance of BVH as a focused archive enables comparisons between Brazilian species and those collected in many other national contexts, including Europe, Australia, United States, and Russia, as well as more geographically-bounded collections in states and regions around the world.

In addressing the role of the university, we have focused first on the benefits of diversity for the university in its role as an Open Knowledge Institution and then the challenges of different geographies and cultures and the risks for disadvantaged groups. In these cases, diversity is targeted so as to build capacity, more fully to represent the communities of interest and to build trust with the full range of communities. But this view is quite static and passive, an effort towards just reflecting the diversity around the university. In the context of the broader agenda, an Open Knowledge Institution does more than passively reflect its environment. 

The role of an Open Knowledge Institution is contextually to institutionalise openness, including the appropriate regulation of its limitations. If openness is a poised state between control and anarchy, and one that optimises the quality of the networks through which knowledge is being produced, then the role of an institution (as opposed to merely an organisation) is to organise and support the arrangements through which choices to control and to release are made. In the context of diversity, particularly where we consider under-represented and historically disenfranchised communities, enabling those communities to exercise control is a key shift in working towards being worthy of their trust.

Indigenous knowledge provides a particularly clear example of these issues. The institutions of Western knowledge production have a long history of expropriation if not outright theft of knowledge and frequently its associated cultural artefacts. There is little trust from these disenfranchised communities towards Western institutions. Those scholars who do work productively with Indigenous communities emphasise the collaborative nature of their work and in particular the critical importance of ceding control over choices involving the public release of information to the community.

An Open Knowledge Institution will provide a platform that assures participating communities of standards and controls, constraining the scholar and empowering the participant. At the same time, it will adopt the principle of subsidiarity as far as is possible, allowing those choices to be made in context. Today's compliance and regulatory frameworks often create a deep conflict of interest between the scholar in the role as a partner of a participating community, and the scholar as an employee of the university. There is a balance to be found between the value in developing trust with a diverse set of partners, which might include commercial partners, as well as historically disadvantaged communities, and the limitations that are to be accepted as necessary to build that trust. It is at the organisational and institutional level that trustworthiness needs to be built.

These issues are neither new nor limited to Indigenous knowledge. The management of privacy for research participants and the duty of care to protect from potential harm, particularly in medical research, are examples of the same issue. The societal goal of providing accessible, transparent and credible information on the benefits (or not) of a specific treatment must be balanced against the risks of individuals losing control over personal and potentially damaging information. That balance has been struck by placing a requirement for patient anonymity in national and system-wide regulatory frameworks, complemented increasingly today by an absolute requirement for the release of study-level aggregate data addressing the treatment of interest.


Case Study: Open Access in Africa 

Proponents of open development in Africa tend to argue for the benefits of openness in increasing democratic engagement and encouraging development. However, there are cautions, as a result of the appropriation of Indigenous knowledges for the purposes of commercial exploitation in the global North - highlighting the importance of decision making at a local level about when knowledge should, and perhaps should not, be made open. In the context of open development in Africa, with its focus on engagement, democracy and empowerment of communities, there is a necessary focus on creating dialogue and opportunities for the exchange of knowledge and creativity, both locally within and amongst those communities and additionally in the wider regional and global community.

A characteristic of successful projects that involve openness and sharing with Indigenous and first nations communities is that any decision on the dissemination of traditional knowledge is discussed with the communities concerned before any action is taken, either for collaborative and open sharing or for secrecy and protection, or even commercial exploitation. Open knowledge must additionally respect the rights of different knowledge systems, such as those of different Indigenous peoples who may have traditional restrictions around access to and sharing of knowledge within groups, and externally, for example, by gender and for purposes of religious or traditional observance.

A frequently cited example is that of the Hoodia plant in the Kalahari desert in southern Africa, which is used by the San to stave off hunger while hunting. The San people signed a benefit-sharing agreement for the exploitation of the benefits of the plant for weight loss (a potentially profitable commercial opportunity) with the National Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which in turn patented the drug and then granted an exploitation licence to a commercial company. The benefits were supposed to be shared with the San people, but the agreement did not conform to the Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing which aims to ensure equitable sharing of benefits; the conservation of biodiversity; and sustainability of the resources being exploited. It stands as a classic case of the inequities in power relations that can all too easily arise in dealings between traditional communities, both by national governments and corporations.

In medical research, there is significant criticism of approaches to informed consent and safeguarding. In some cases, control and protection have been insufficiently strong, leading to calls for stronger regulation and management of privacy. In others, strict interpretation has been criticised as blocking participants' access to their own medical data or preventing them choosing to release that data in an informed way. In this context, it is interesting that approaches to both providing participants with more useful and contextual information, and enabling them to share that data, and efforts to protect Indigenous communities who choose to participate in research, are taking a parallel path.

The approaches to Portable Consent developed by Sage Bionetworks, in which participants can choose to allow their personal data to be shared for specified kinds of use, mirrors the development of community agreements between Indigenous partners and some researchers. In each case, a shared platform is being developed in which explicit choices can be made about what control is retained, and what control is given up. In both cases, it is the traditionally disempowered partner, the participant, who is given control.

The key to reconciling this apparent tension is to see that the role of an Open Knowledge Institution is in building the scale and value of the trusted networks through which knowledge is created. Not all nodes on this network are the same, and a diversity of connections increases the value created. That diversity relies on trust which is built on credible governance and on a belief in the good faith of actors. In turn, this depends on a shared culture that values and respects differences and seeks to build on the value that those different perspectives bring.

Diversity, inclusion, and equity start at home. An organisation must first enhance the way it internally supports diverse actors within the most tightly coupled parts of its network, staff, students, and directly affected communities. It must also ensure an appreciation of differences across organisations, across geographies, cultures, and also disciplinary formations. In addition it must guide, ideally through fostering a culture of respect and interest, and where necessary through consistent regulation and direct control, the formation of new connections, to ensure as far as is possible that care is taken in the building and supporting of the network so as to maximise its value for all participants.


7.4 The University as a Leader in Societal Diversity

Open Knowledge Institutions have a broader role to play in society. Within their broader communities, universities should be taking a leadership role in demonstrating how societal diversity supports knowledge creation beyond the organisation's boundaries. In some cases, students may also be powerful forces of change to the university itself. The Rhodes Must Fall movement in South Africa is a powerful example, which quickly spiralled into a global effort to disentangle barriers to diversity, with its call for the decolonisation of higher education institutions. A range of high level African and international institutions have responded to this debate, raising questions of diversity of content and language in higher education in the developed world. These are clear signs of how universities, in their current state, are well behind their times, and measures are needed to change them. Hence, a university that initiates open knowledge must be able to embrace and act upon such changes.

Diversity is inherent in society and we argue it is a valuable characteristic of society. Inclusion and equity lead to more effective communication, knowledge production,  and also freedom and successful coexistence. Although some studies have shown improvements in narrow areas, it is clear there are large gaps. Even societies that make strong claims of multiculturalism, such as Australia, appear a long way from achieving this. Senior leadership positions in Australia, as in many Western countries, show a low level of diversity. In a recent Australian Research Council granting round, there were more grants awarded to people named Dave than to women. In South Africa, with its majority Black population, it is striking that there is a strong racial imbalance in the composition of both the staff and student bodies, which, after more than 20 years of post-apartheid government, still do not fully reflect national demographics. This also emerges in the profile of the research publications produced by members of the university community,  and in the level of support that they get for their dissemination.

One of the main causes of this failure of diversity in higher education institutions is the widespread reliance, even beyond the English-speaking world, on the Impact Factor (IF) as the standard measure of excellence in evaluating the status of both institutions and their researchers. This measure explicitly values the dissemination of research that is of relevance to the interests of the major English-speaking world powers. Even in the developing world, particularly in the emerging economies, the pursuit of status through the IF is vigorously sought through ever-increasing production of formal publications, especially through high-status international journals, with books playing a secondary role. This results in the under-valuing of diversity in research, often relegating development-focused research and research reported in languages other than English to a secondary status.

 

Case Study: Economics and Disciplinary Divergence 

Economics is an example of a discipline with a huge impact on society via the design of policies and institutions. At the same time, there is a large diversity of approaches and theories, though organised in terms of centre and periphery, both disciplinary (‘mainstream’ versus ‘heterodox’) and national. Regarding the latter, one conspicuous phenomenon in economics is the national ideational dynamics in catching-up countries. In the 19th century, German economics increasingly criticised the intellectual dominance of British ‘political economy,’ engendering intellectual trends culminating in autonomous developments such as the so-called ‘historical school.’ Although this school did not establish itself as a new paradigm, it triggered very productive debates in the social sciences, with the emergence of towering figures such as Max Weber. In the wake of these debates, German economists developed the conceptual model of the ‘social market economy’ as an institutional template for designing the German economy after the collapse of the Nazi regime. Until today, its legacy has had a tremendous impact on German policies and has shaped the design of important institutions of the European Union, such as the European Central Bank.

This example shows how progress in economics is deeply enmeshed with societal and cultural contexts, and that diversity of theories is essential for making economics relevant for the societies in which its research takes place. Today, we observe a similar development in China: The Chinese economic success defies many assumptions of standard economics, but Chinese economics converged with the international standard rapidly. This is widely seen as dominated by US economics, implying implicit references to the US institutional setting. Increasingly, leading Chinese economists such as David Li question this condition and work on the development of a ‘Chinese economics’. As in the 19th century, economists in the catching-up economy begin to challenge the dominant paradigm of the lead economy. Tellingly, the same was the case in late 19th- and early 20th-century American economics, when this country was catching up with the leading industrial economies of the world, then including Germany.

Outside of the major powers, this focus on formal publications in the major colonial languages is more evident in emerging economies such as South Africa, a country that provides strong financial support for the publication of journal articles in listed journals and for books published by recognised scholarly publishers. In this field, the preference is for international rather than local research output in spite of the strong imperatives for the conduct of locally-based and development-focused research. There are, however research departments, centres and institutes, many of them of high quality and internationally recognised, which engage in and self-publish research aligned with national development issues and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals; however, their publication output is published informally, disseminated from their websites. Increasingly, these organisations have been appointing communication and publishing advisors in order to manage and disseminate their content more professionally, in the interests of wider reach as well as the potential to attract policy interest and donor funding. Initially, these websites posted materials with an 'all rights reserved' copyright licence, while, at the same time paradoxically expecting content to be freely downloaded by their readers. This paradox has been largely resolved through the increased use of Creative Commons licences, resulting in an open access research environment for this kind of research dissemination. Language diversity has also been lacking in research practice and publication. 

Universities should not only be part of the process in the drive for diversity. Taking a role as Open Knowledge Institutions, they must act as supporters of the underpinnings of knowledge production. This means taking a role as leaders in influencing and educating their communities to embrace diversity by demonstrating how it can be done, and what value is created. This should be irrespective of discipline or traditionally perceived high-impact research. For example, Haupt (2014) describes how radical hip-hop as it manifests in Cape Town townships has engaged young people in debates about diversity in post-apartheid South Africa.

While diversity and inclusion are vital within a university, they should not be bounded by the university. The first step in this direction is to build, or to rebuild, the trust of our communities in their universities, and to address the lack of trust in knowledge itself. The manifesto of open knowledge is a catalyst for taking that first step.

Discussions

Labels

No Discussions on this Branch yet

Highlight text above to create a new Discussion