Publishing in open access journals

Periodically I receive a message from Taylor and Francis about how often a paper I published with Mariana Funes has been read. This week they sent me the following message:

Of course Taylor and Francis can’t know whether or not the article has been read. They can only know how many time the article has been clicked on or downloaded. And, yes, sharing the article on social media (as we did when it was first published on Feb 28 2018) may well increase the article’s reach.

It is gratifying to see that the article has been accessed more than 500 times on the Taylor and Francis website, but of course Learning, Media and Technology is a closed journal so the reach of the article will necessarily be confined to those with access.

But the journal did allow for open publication of the pre-print of the article, which Mariana and I did on this blog, where we provide open access to the pre-publication (but virtually identical) article for free. This version of the article has had a much wider reach.

In 2018, this blog post was clicked on 4,070 times. This year to date it has been clicked on 231 times.

Again, it is not possible to say whether or not the article has been read, only that there is sufficient interest in it for people to click on the blog post.

As yet, there hasn’t been a mad rush to cite this paper. Google Scholar shows that it has been cited twice this year. Whilst it may be that this is not a paper that will be much cited, I do know from experience that it can take a year or two for papers to come to the attention of other researchers, so there is time yet for it to be more widely cited.

It is possible that open journals still don’t have the kudos of closed journals. Someone recently told me that it wouldn’t be worth my while applying for a job that required a PhD and 4 papers published in ranked journals, because most of my papers have been published in open journals, which, because many are fairly new journals, are still building their reputation. It has always been my preference to publish in open journals. I appreciate Taylor and Frances wanting their journal articles to reach a wider audience, but I suspect that their reasons for this are different to mine.

Kudos or not, the point is that it is not simply using social media to disseminate research that makes a difference to its reach. My experience suggests that extending a paper’s reach depends at least in part on whether or not the paper can be openly accessed.

But I am grateful to the Learning, Media and Technology journal for not only publishing our article, but also allowing us to openly publish the final pre-print version, and I will now follow their advice and tweet this blog post, so that, hopefully, the article will continue to reach a wider audience. The prize for every author is to be read.


Funes, M. & Mackness, J. (2018): When inclusion excludes: a counter narrative of open online education, Learning, Media and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2018.1444638 When Inclusion Excludes MF:JM 280218

When Inclusion Excludes ….

….. A counter narrative of open online education

This is the title of a new paper, co-authored with Mariana Funes and published today in Learning Media and Technology, by Taylor & Francis Online.


Open education aspires to democratize education, promote inclusion and effect change through social justice. These aspirations are difficult to realise in open, online environments, which enable multiple, and often conflicting, perspectives. This paper proposes a counter-narrative that surfaces certain operational norms of the internet and foregrounds their exclusionary nature. We offer an illustrative inventory of some social media interactional patterns to examine communication used in open online education communities. This examination leads us to conclude that language online is subject to a dialectical tension that both includes and excludes. We conclude that a different language is needed in open online educational environments; one that embraces exclusionary structures and strategic ambiguity, as well as the aspirations to further democratise education via digital means.

This paper is the culmination of 17 months’ work with Mariana and many long and wide ranging discussions. I have found the paper really interesting and thought-provoking to work on, and have particularly enjoyed collaborating with Mariana.

The final version of the paper is on the Learning, Media and Technology website –

But in line with  Taylor and Francis’ Green Open Access policy ( we are able to post here the ‘preprint’, i.e. the final, accepted version of the paper, before being formatted by Learning, Media and Technology.  This is virtually identical (bar the formatting and some tightening of reference citations) to the published article.

When Inclusion Excludes MF:JM 280218

We are very grateful to Stephen Downes, Lisa Lane and Carmen Tschofen for reviewing the paper for us before submission and making suggestions for improvement. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for further detailed feedback, which helped us arrive at the final version.

We would welcome any comments or dialogue about the paper.