This photo is implying the very opposite of open access.

I’m back, and thinking about the problems of the online world, especially in terms of possible projects. While my aforementioned goal of heroism is perhaps a little out of reach, and even acknowledging such a goal might be shooting myself in the bank account in regards to any of my future journal submissions with these publishers (Is that how it works?), small gains in the reception of smaller, self-maintained, open-access journals might be paving the way for new types of efficient knowledge sharing and impact. Efficient, but I don’t know about economically viable.

My initial foray into project-picking has highlighted this new kind of journal-ism as a possible project area. The way we approach free information online is changing. Wikipedia is no longer wholly dubious. Even the most unassuming blog post can be scrutinised with critical eyes. But how can we make it sustainable?

Of course, the problems of free information are numerous without regulation. We can easily take ‘fake news’ and outdated online news as an example. News stories in the past week discussing the suspects of the Québec Mosque shooting, with one suspect released days ago, have yet to be updated; factually inaccurate allegations maintain an afterlife, despite the news being wholly outdated.

These seemingly unrelated issues affect how we professionalise, produce and present academic and other open-access products. How do we maintain the relevance and accuracy of our research? Should we even use that kind of approach?

I have many questions, but not many answers. But that is what research is for! Access and accuracy online are issues I imagine lecturers and researchers contend with too. A grounded awareness of how we find and access information online, and how we represent the outcomes of our research online, are important, whether it’s on Twitter, through databases, in blog posts, eBooks, etc.

In fact, it seems the premise of this module is to understand how we might apply critical and creative thinking to the digital–and other formats in light of the digital–in order to design, create and manage fruitful projects and conduct original research. For me, it goes back to the question of what we can do with all this information in our hands at all times. How can we make it useful?

Jannat Ahmed