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Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism

Creativity and the Promise of Openness


Michael A. Peters

We live in the age of global science – but not, primarily, in the sense of ‘universal knowledge’ that has characterized the liberal metanarrative of ‘free’ science and the ‘free society’ since its early development in the Enlightenment. Today, an economic logic links science to national economic policy, while globalized multinational science dominates an environment where quality assurance replaces truth as the new regulative ideal. This book examines the nature of educational and science-based capitalism in its cybernetic, knowledge, algorithmic and bioinformational forms before turning to the emergence of the global science system and the promise of openness in the growth of international research collaboration, the development of the global knowledge commons and the rise of the open science economy. Education, Science and Knowledge Capitalism explores the nature of cognitive capitalism, the emerging mode of social production for public education and science and its promise for the democratization of knowledge.
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Chapter Eleven: Open Education and the Open Science Economy

Michael A. Peters


Chapter 11

Open Education and the Open Science Economy

Openness as a complex code word for a variety of digital trends and movements has emerged as an alternative mode of ‘social production’ based on the growing and overlapping complexities of open source, open access, open archiving, open publishing and open science.1 Openness in this sense refers to open source models of scientific communication, knowledge distribution and educational development although it has a number of deeper registers that refer more widely to government (‘open government’), society (‘open society’), economy (open economy’) and even psychology (openness as one of the five traits of personality theory). The concept and evolving set of practices has profound consequences for education at all levels. ‘Openness’ has become a leading source of innovation in the world global digital economy increasingly adopted by world governments, international agencies and multinationals as well as leading educational institutions as a means of promoting scientific inquiry and international collaboration. It is clear that the Free Software and ‘open source’ movements constitute a radical non-propertarian (i.e., social) alternative to traditional methods of text and symbolic production, distribution, archiving, access and dissemination. This alternative non-proprietary model of cultural production and exchange threatens traditional models of intellectual property and it challenges the major legal and institutional means such as copyright currently used to restrict creativity, innovation and the free exchange of ideas.

It is the argument of the chapter that the openness movement with its reinforcing structure of overlapping...

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