Storytelling beyond the academy: Exploring roles, responsibilities and regulations in the Open Access dissemination of research outputs and visual data

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In the last decade there has been a movement towards facilitating Open Access to academic outputs via the World Wide Web. This movement has been characterised as one that embodies corporate citizenship because such sharing has the potential to benefit all stakeholders: academics, policy makers, charitable sectors and the wider public. In the UK, the Economic and Social Research Council are implementing Open Access compliance guidelines for research that they fund, which is interpreted by individual institutions in their school regulations. In the case of doctoral theses, there is now a requirement for students to provide an electronic format of their final work to be included in their school's online digital repository. In a number of UK institutions, University Awards and Progress Committees will only consider awarding the doctoral degree once these requirements have been satisfied. Although this move to Open Access can be considered as an egalitarian endeavour, this paper argues that an important stakeholder may have been overlooked in the march towards progressive dissemination. The temporal space between gaining informed consent from research participants and the changing nature of the accessibility of outputs can both engender a breach of ethics in terms of the initial agreements negotiated with participants and raise issues around representation in the ongoing dissemination and reformulation of the original work, particularly where visual images are central to research outputs. The paper utilises autoethnography and poetry to reflect on my own encounter with the requirement for Open Access and the ways in which this brings up concerns around ethics, obligations and integrity.
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Archival date: 2014-07-10
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