What is the cost of Knowledge and what should it be?


Seen the hot news in Higher Education recently?

11531 International Researchers are taking a stand AND Harvard is behind them, but  what are they so upset about?


Courtesy of Giulia Forsythe via Creative Commons


Unfair commerce.  Publishing monopolies.

Sound familiar?  Know anyone protesting in a similar way in the ELT context?


These kinds of issues are so much more visible today, and even governments are making strides to change the flow of information and commerce towards fairer practices and more open source approaches.  This month the Guardian reported that England has brought on Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, to move forward a project:

“Giving people the right to roam freely over publicly funded research [as it] will usher in a new era of academic discovery and collaboration, and put the UK at the very forefront of open research”

England’s University and Science minister, David Willets further commented that

“he recognised the value that academic publishers brought to the research process. “But, as the world changes, both cultural and technological change, their business model is going to change.”

This is not as strong of a message as TechCrunch’s “Death to gatekeepers” about which I wrote last month, however, the direction is the same: people won’t stand for organizations that capitalize unfairly, and never has there been a time when companies are forced to have greater transparency, nor has there been a time when individuals have had as great an ability to organize and communicate their discontent with heavy-handed goliath business practices.

A lot is happening these days, and I think it’s important that teachers become aware of the global picture and that, hopefully, they’ll support efforts that take education in a positive, open direction.  With that in mind, I’m happy to announce that our innovative online English Certification, The Edulang Certificate of English, is now also pay what you want, hence totalling 7 applications available to anyone learning English, anywhere, at anytime… and with half of all contributions going to Room to Read.

Very exciting movement to be a part of!

PS… Oh… and it just so happens that the organization against which these researchers are protesting is owned by the second largest educational publisher in the world.  See the top 50 below, and I wonder how their transparency is treating them…


Top Publishers 2011 Courtesy of Wischenbart; Graphic via Publishers Weekly

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  • Mike Harrison

    Where’s CUP?? V. surprised…

  • http://blog.edulang.com/ Brad Patterson

    Nice eye, Mike.

    For whaever reason, they’re not listed in that report, however a bit of google provides the results:  http://www.cambridge.org/about/annualreport/  They totalled 336M $ in 2010, hence putting them at #43… wonder why they weren’t included…   cheers, b

  • http://twitter.com/epicenterone Aaron Nelson

    As always Brad, very interesting post. It sure is interesting to think about re: change in business model towards more open practices. I wonder how this will impact ESL companies. What do you see happening to small businesses (like mine) and the teachers we employ? Do you foresee a future where the ESL consulting business vanishes? 

  • http://blog.edulang.com/ Brad Patterson

    Hey Aaron.  Thanks for the kind words.  I feel lucky to have a PLN that reads, exchanges and where so much professional development is happening.

    One thing we do know is that the ESL market is experiencing tremendous growth, especially within digital publishing, but really in all sectors.  With that being said, and so much change happening, I feel like there’s more opportunity now than ever before.  I do think there’s a lot of room for small businesses, especially in their local environments, however with the internet, anything is possible, and a company like yours in Mexico could very well do consulting for schools in China, Turkey, Brazil or wherever.

    And, I can’t see ESL consulting ever vanishing because as the industry continues to evolve, there will always be a need for those who understand the recent changes, and can help schools or other organizations take advantage of them.    

    What do you think?  Cheers, Brad

  • http://twitter.com/epicenterone Aaron Nelson

    Agreed Brad. Borders and areas of influence as far as providing language training/coaching services will and are vanishing thanks to the internet and digital content. 

    I also don’t see ESL schools going away any time soon. But I do think they will have to drastically change. Flexibility and program customization to fit specific client and student needs will be a must. Students will demand personalized training, or go somewhere else to get it. My two cents.  And I do think costs will be coming down as more open source options appear. You’ll be hearing from me shortly via e-mail. I’ve got a few questions for you. :)  

  • Sylvie_guinan

    I’m very much concerned with content these days, both creation & sourcing. You have mapped out today’s realities in a palpable way indeed!!

    The more Iearn about the Edulang initiative the more I like it – you’ll hear more about that soon:)


  • Sylvie_guinan

    And I read this the other day. It really made me feel that I should spend more time on twitter. Proabably you and your other readers here were part of this ‘debate’..
    .http://eltchat.com/2012/03/02/the-future-of-publishing-in-elt-for-teachers-and-students-eltchat-summary-22022012/It was funny to my mind, as self-publishing online feels normal to me, though it was treated as a new concept in the #eltchat  article – blended learning and so on, seems to confuse people – teachers should just experiment, shouldn’t they?And what about students publishing too..??

  • Sylvie_guinan
  • http://blog.edulang.com/ Brad Patterson

    Cheers, Aaron.  Your two cents are always welcome and appreciated!

    There will be quite a bit of evolution as you’ve said, but there will always be a need for skilled professionals to help move learners (and those teaching them) down that marvelously challenging road of language acquisition! ;-)

  • http://blog.edulang.com/ Brad Patterson

    Great, Sylvia.  I’m definitely excited to hear more ;-)

  • http://blog.edulang.com/ Brad Patterson

    Fine read.  ELTchat is an awesome community and resource.  Merci 4 the link!

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