Free research journal access – the teacher campaign continues

It’s not just teachers who have limited access to education journal articles – but also civil servants at the Department for Education, Schools Week has learned.

Concerns were raised about civil servant access to research after Schools Week reported that teachers in England are unable to access education journals for free, while their counterparts in Scotland are able to do so under a £30,000 pilot run by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

The DfE has confirmed that it subscribes to 18 education journals and, should civil servants need access to these, they are able to do so through its research department.

In contrast, Scottish teachers are
freely able to access more than 1,700 journals as part of their trial.

The DfE was unable to say how much it would cost to roll out a similar scheme in England; however a petition to education secretary Nicky Morgan calling for access has now received 625 supporters.

Debate broke out on social media after the story with education bloggers such as director of learning and research at Huntington School in York, Alex Quigley, arguing that research was only of value if teachers were given the time or “structures” to engage with it.

In response, Glen Gilchrist, a science adviser in Wales, has started a campaign
on Kickstarter – an online platform to encourage funding of creative projects – to begin a new teacher-led research journal peer-reviewed by teachers, headteachers and advisers.

Mr Gilchrist said: “In my mind, the vision is for the journal to build up into a reference of papers, so that when a teacher is considering a problem or intervention they can find a broadly similar school, with a broadly similar intervention and at least use their findings as a starting point.

Journal-of-applied-ed-research

“With all the relentless focus on increasing the professionalism of teachers – getting us to use action research, PLCs [programmable logic controllers], working parties et cetera – what is missing in the puzzle is a journal to bring all those elements together, run them through peer review and give teachers a research based voice.”

He aims to begin the first edition in mid-February.

Details of Mr Gilchrist’s campaign can be found here: http://kck.st/1wQRDEZ