York scholar predicts MOOCs much more disruptive than open-access journals

October 25, 2013

Many people predict that both MOOCs and open-access journals will be the 2 most disruptive changes to higher education, but a York University scholar argues in a recent paper that MOOCs will be the major game changer, while open-access journals will likely remain an alternative to traditional offerings. Richard Wellen, an associate professor of business and society at YorkU, examines the “sharpened existing political battle lines" around MOOCs in the US and in Britain, and compares them to the less-contentious topic of open-access journals. “Academics do not seem to be prepared to fully repudiate the gatekeeping function of academic journals and publishers,” says Wellen. He adds that academics fear that adopting open access may threaten academic freedom and institutional autonomy. “MOOCs are part of a larger socio-economic shift that would diversify the supply chain of higher education, transferring more academic functions to independent services that are offered on a freelancing basis,” says Wellen. Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed