by Rebecca English.


This paper examines the use of crowdfunding platforms to fund academic research. Looking specifically at the use of a Pozible campaign to raise funds for a small pilot research study into home education in Australia, the paper reports on the success and problems of using the platform. It also examines the crowdsourcing of literature searching as part of the package. The paper looks at the realities of using this type of platform to gain start–up funding for a project and argues that families and friends are likely to be the biggest supporters. The finding that family and friends are likely to be the highest supporters supports similar work in the arts communities that are traditionally served by crowdfunding platforms. The paper argues that, with exceptions, these platforms can be a source of income in times where academics are finding it increasingly difficult to source government funding for projects.

The relationship between teaching and research goes to the heart of the meaning and purpose of higher education. The fundamentalist view of the university is that teaching which is not based on research carried out by academics and students is not higher education. The first modern European university, established by Wilhelm von Humboldt in Berlin in 1810, was designed with research and teaching closely aligned. Students and teachers worked together. This model was developed to facilitate the production of new knowledge, against the dogmatic scholasticism of the medieval university, and to establish the “idea of the university” as the highest level of what a society knows about itself as a progressive political project.

The idea of the university as a progressive political project was further radicalised by the students and their teachers in 1968. In Paris and around the world the elitist exclusion of students was challenged by undergraduates who claimed that research is “something that anyone can do”, a claim they supported by publishing work that revealed not just the crisis in higher education but the crisis of society in general. The ongoing student protests in the UK and around the world are at their most compelling when they provide a critical response not simply to cuts in funding but to the debate about the future of higher education. This means discussing the idea of the university as part of a wider debate relating to issues of who has the resources to produce new knowledge, who owns that knowledge and what it is used for beyond the confines of campus life.

The slogan “Student as producer” is derived from an article written by the Marxist intellectual Walter Benjamin in Germany in the 1930s. In it he made a series of suggestions as to how radical intellectuals should act in a time of social crisis. This included finding ways to enable students, readers, and audiences to become teachers, writers and actors – as producers of their own cultural and intellectual products. The wider political point was for passive consumers of culture and knowledge to transform themselves into the subjects rather than simply the objects of history and to recognise themselves in a social world of their own design.

In a moment when higher education is in crisis, and in a context where the crisis of institutions is part of a much wider crisis at the level of global society, a critical engagement with the notion of student as producer, based on Benjamin’s progressive programme for action, seems like the right place from which to be reinventing the undergraduate curriculum.

The way to improve the student learning experience is not to treat students as consumers nor to claim, as the white paper on higher education does, that students lie at the “heart of the system”. It is rather by recognising that universities are about the expansive production of knowledge and meaning and that this can best be achieved by students and academics working collaboratively on research projects inside and outside the curriculum.

Examples of undergraduate research:

The British Conference for Undergraduate Research

Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research

Student as Producer: reinventing the undergraduate curriculum

Higher Education Academy : Developing Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (pdf)

Undergraduate Research in Australia

The visibility of Wikipedia in scholarly publications, by Taemin Kim Park. First Monday, Volume 16, Number 8 - 1 August 2011


Publications in the Institute of Scientific Information’s (ISI, currently Thomson Reuters) Web of Science (WoS) and Elsevier’s Scopus databases were utilized to collect data about Wikipedia research and citations to Wikipedia. The growth of publications on Wikipedia research, the most active researchers, their associated institutions, academic fields and their geographic distribution are treated in this paper. The impact and influence of Wikipedia were identified, utilizing cited work found in (WoS) and Scopus. Additionally, leading authors, affiliated institutions, countries, academic fields, and publications that frequently cite Wikipedia are identified.

… empezar a construir una ontología de las ‘Empresas del Procomún’, la futura arquitectura conceptual de esta web. Por otro lado, discutir y empezar a elaborar los fundamentos de la commonstitución, el conjunto de normas y compromisos de quienes quieran conformar el cuerpo investigador del proyecto…

The International Journal of Learning and Media (IJLM) provides a forum for scholars, researchers, and practitioners to examine the changing relationships between learning and media across a wide range of forms and settings. Our focus is particularly, but by no means exclusively, on young people, and we understand learning in broad terms to include informal and everyday contexts as well as institutions such as schools. We are especially interested in the broader social and cultural dimensions of these issues and in new and emerging media technologies, forms, and practices. We are particularly keen to promote international and intercultural exchange and dialogue in the field and encourage contributions from a variety of academic disciplines and perspectives, including papers from practitioners and policy-makers. Through scholarly articles, editorials, case studies, and an active online network, IJLM seeks to provide a premier forum for emerging interdisciplinary research and debate and to help shape the development of the field around the world. We publish contributions that address the theoretical, textual, historical, and sociological dimensions of media and learning, as well as the practical and political issues at stake. While retaining the peer review process of a traditional academic journal, we also provide opportunities for more topical and polemical writing, for visual and multimedia presentations, and for online dialogues…

Critical Planning is the graduate student-run journal of the UCLA Urban Planning Department, producing one volume annually. Since 1993, Critical Planning has served as a forum for the urban studies and planning communities to debate current issues, showcase emerging research, and propose new ideas concerning cities and regions. The journal attracts submissions from scholars, graduate students, and practitioners from across disciplinary boundaries and from around the world. Through our double-blind peer-review process, Critical Planning is committed to identifying and publishing insightful scholarly research with a critical approach. As one of the cores of intellectual life in the Urban Planning Department, the journal provides a convivial space for rigorous debate. Our public programs—including lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, and symposia—extend this work to audiences in Los Angeles and beyond …

The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action by Donald Schön … Schön’s objective, which was about setting an epistemology of practice that place “technical problem solving within a broader context of reflective inquiry, shows how reflection-in-action may be rigorous in its own right, and links the art of practice in uncertainty and uniqueness to the scientists’ art of research“…

The papers included in this special issue present a great variety in any respect, ranging from theoretical explorations of the industrialisation of services to outlining new university programmes focusing on service design; from waste management in Bangladesh to dyslexia-friendly classes in Greece. The rising importance of services worldwide suggests that the creation and renewal of services will constitute in the years to come a major stake for societies in general and specifically for the design community. Speaking from a Greek perspective, service design will be of crucial importance in countries like Greece where both multicultural challenges and environmental issues have only recently come to the centre of public concern. It is expected that this special issue will enrich the local discourse on the transformation of services. Last but not least, it is also meant to be a contribution to a more refined and specialized terminology which is necessary for this discourse to expand and develop.