Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World

A problem with educational research publishing is that most of the most highly rated peer-reviewed journals are closed access, and though most are accessible to me through our library, I try as much as possible not to contribute to journals that are not available as open access. Especially in education, there are too many potential readers in schools, universities in developing countries and ordinary Canadians who just don’t have access to expensive closed publications. Thus, I strongly support the recent boycott of Elsevier (largest journal publisher in the world) but I extend a personal boycott it to all closed research publications (with the occasional exception).
However a year ago, I had an idea to research the impact of what for us in education was a new and i think very promising research methodology known as design-based research (DBR). The DBR model matches researchers with teachers in real educational contexts, to develop interventions (pedagogical technical, administrative etc.) and then test them in real contexts using a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques and then extracting broader design principles explaining how and why the intervention works or fails to improve teaching or learning.

I was fortunate enough to recruit Atahabasca University doctoral student Julie Shattuck and together we analysed the 5 most widely cited DBR articles over each of the ten years since the methodology was first promoted. You are welcome to read the results published this week

Terry Anderson and Julie Shattuck (2012) Design-Based Research : A Decade of Progress in Education Research? Educational Researcher, 41: 16-25,http://edr.sagepub.com/content/41/1/16.full

Once the article was written we were faced with the question of where to publish. I thought the article would have considerable interest -especially in the US, as this is where the majority of cited DBR articles were published. Thus, I wanted to go beyond the open and distance education audience that I normally write for. I immediately thought of Educational Researcher. This is arguably and usually cited as the most widely read and prestigious peer reviewed journal in the educational world (ISO Impact factor of 3.774), so I really didn’t think we would get accepted.
However, although Educational Researcher is published by Sage (a commercial publisher) it is sponsored by The American Educational Research Association (world’s largest professional educational group) and is distributed in paper to all its members and most importantly freely in PDF format on the web. So the prospect of a very large audience in a very prestigious journal and close to open access publication was irresistible.

The submission process was very picky and exacting, with editors demanding very strict adherence to APA format, page length etc. before they would even send it to review. Not to my surprise, two months later, it was returned with requests for revisions which I must say all reasonable and likely to improve the paper. However, the returned manuscript must go through a second review, so we didn’t get our hopes up. Then last summer, to our surprise, a very quick second review and minor suggestions for revisions and we were accepted!! 5 months later everyone is able to read the article online and I await my paper copy in the mail!
So thanks to Julie, the reviewers and editors at Educational Research and celebration time!!

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  1. February 3, 2012    

    Great news, Terry! I am teaching a class on DBR and I look forward to reading the paper for use in class. Congrats!

  2. February 3, 2012    

    Looking forward to reading this article, Terry. I just used DBR for my dissertation.

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