I started the week by questioning how open I was online. I joined the ONL191 course thinking that my digital literacy was rather low but not null, and I was right. I also joined the course thinking that I was rather open to discover that I could do better!

How open are you?‘ was the first question of all of our discussions this week. I can tell now that I am open with my work: ready to discuss my science with my peers, but also with the public. I go to conferences at least twice a year to share my latest results, often the unpublished data. I publish my work as open access (always), because I want it to be accessible to anyone ready to learn and build upon my results. I believe publishing OA allows progress and step forwards, while paywalls will restrict possibilities. Similarly, I am really active with the public. I always try to find ways to fill the dialogue gap between Academia and the public. This month only I have discussed research with a local journalist (Hallå Lund), I have presented science twice to teenagers (NMT-Dagarna and one work-placement), I am co-organizing the Biology days (27th of April in Lund – all welcome!) and hosting thirty 8year old school children at the University.

For each of these activities digital tools are used: Twitter platform to share widely the details of my latest articles, Dryad repository to share OA the raw data included in my studies, online newspapers for discussion with the public and promoting outreach events to come. The more I think of it, the more I realize digital tools are used everyday in very simple ways, without fear for being open! But the more I think of it and the more I also realize that I am actually NOT so open!

Most of my studies are built upon large amount of data. Lots of time and efforts was spent collecting and analyzing it, and a lot of money was needed for it. Thus I feel protective, I want to be the one first presenting and publishing the results. Putting the raw data out there before publishing the paper associated to it, may mean that I will be scooped and my CV and career could suffer from it. I know I am not the only one thinking this way. Similarly, I am also protective of my personal life. I have a Facebook account but I have restricted the access to it. My pictures are restricted to my friends, and family. I am not on Facebook to make the show and collect followers. I am on Facebook to keep contact with people I love all around the world. It is nowadays easier to maintain those contacts through Facebook than to follow everyone’s new email addresses!

I think my fears of being more open than I am now, with my online personal profile and my raw data at work, are legit. And following the ONL191 course will not make me open my Facebook account to everyone. As it was put in the webinars this week, there is for sure places and times where and when we can be open, and places and times where it is better to keep the door close. I think that keeping my personal life more closed than my professional life is healthy. Not sharing to the world my raw data as soon as it is collected is also a good idea. Having this raw data out could lead people to make mistake in the way they will use/analyse it, and thus maybe lead my field of research in the wrong direction.

However, the ONL191 course is making me consider how open I could be with my teaching material, why I am so protective of it and how can I be more open. As I think of changing my practices with my teaching and re-visit my own digital openness: it feels good. The rest of the discussion on this topic promises to be eye opening!

Am I open to the (digital) world?