Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, November 12, 2007

Educators need access to education research

Sandra Porter, Evidence-based teaching, open access, and the digital divide, Discovering Biology in a Digital World, November 12, 2007.  Excerpt:

...Science instructors are often unaware of the findings from education research because they don't see them....


It's not either not accessible or it's not indexed by our favorite search tools.

If I use PubMed Central for example, and I browse the PMC journal list with the word "education," I find only four journals....Only one of these journals concerns teaching science to undergraduates.

If I use Google, I find lots of things, but I can't read any of them on-line.

Very few science education journals are open access. Journals like "Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education," and "Journal of natural resources and life sciences education" and "Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education," keep their articles locked away, out of public view.

And certainly away from most instructors.

I find it appalling that in a day and age, when we're struggling to teach students how to think like scientists, we have so little access to the tools that would help us practice these principles in our own daily work.  College instructors need to become more familiar with the concepts and benefits of evidence-based teaching. That familiarity would develop more easily if college instructors had more access to the results of education research.

If we are ever to use science to help us teach science, if evidence-based teaching is ever to replace teaching by anecdote, we're going to need to share strategies and information, not lock them away.