Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Open Access Research for Childhood / Education

Almost all of the posts on this site link to free resources (usually research reports or similar) which those with an interest in childhood & education will hopefully find useful. However, it still remains the case that much high quality peer-reviewed research is inaccessible to many - you either need to hope that the institution you work for or study at has a subscription to an item that you're interested in, or be willing to pay to get hold of it via an inter-library loan or direct from the publisher.

Fortunately there is a growing movement to ensure that peer-reviewed research gains a wider audience by making it easier and free to access - in particular, many Universities are now insisting that if one of their academics publishes an article, then a version of it must also be deposited in an institutional repository. So today's post will cover a few of the places where you can find such items or other useful documents, and read them in full. If a particular article or even book chapter you want is not available to you via the 'usual' channels, it's increasingly worth seeing if a version of it exists in the sites mentioned below.

The CORE site is a fantastic service which allows you to search across and access the contents of 176 different repositories in the UK. It covers all academic subjects, but there is plenty of childhood / education material which you can read in there. You can even download an Android or iPhone app to use the site while on the move!

The Institute of Education (IOE) offers access to two collections of material. IOE EPrints is an index of material authored by IOE staff, and while full access isn't available to every citation it contains, there is enough available to make it worth a visit. The IOE also manages the Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA), which offers a permanent home to various official government documents, ensuring that they can still be found if there are changes to departmental websites etc.

There are a number of online-only journals which offer free access to all visitors. Symposium Journals publish 9 different education journals, offering access via a 'moving window' - eg articles become available to all once they are more than 3 years old. Early Childhood Research & Practice is a longstanding online journal from the USA which offers free access to all of its content, while the Education Section of the Directory of Open Access Journals lists over 600 freely available titles. Oddly I haven't had chance to vet them all!

And finally: for any information on child development, it's almost certain that the peer-reviewed Encyclopedia on on Early Child Development will cover what you need to know. Or if you're a user of ERIC, the world's largest education database, then there is an option in the Advanced Search which allows you to tick a box to ensure that only items available in full-text will be returned in your results.

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