For Disruption, MOOCs Beat Open-Access Journals, Scholar Says

Megan O'Neill | The Chronicle of Higher Education | October 23, 2013

MOOCs are more disruptive to higher education than open-access megajournals are, in part because of structural protections in the scholarly-publishing world and because some policy makers are pushing massive open online courses as a means to increase productivity, a professor argues in a new article on open-access alternatives in higher education.

The privatization of the delivery of educational services via MOOC platforms and other models is seen by some politicians as a solution to “the perceived higher-education crisis of cost, access, completion, and productivity,” writes Richard Wellen, an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, in Toronto, and the author of the article. It is titled “Open Access, Megajournals, and MOOCs: On the Political Economy of Academic Unbundling.”

“The proliferation of portable and reusable educational resources—as well as policies and technologies that encourage academic freelancing—will likely expand the relative size of the teaching-only sector in higher education and challenge traditional practices of academic governance,” Mr. Wellen writes.