Missing the impact of open? Perspectives from Scottish STEM lecturers

Lucy I. Beattie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

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This poster presentation explores early findings from a PhD study which looks at the lived experience of nine Scottish lecturers concerning their core experiences of the triple nexus of teaching-research-public engagement (Stevenson and McArthur, 2015). The links between these activities are not always well defined, particularly within undergraduate cohorts, and the aim of the study is to elicit the ways in which Scottish lecturers interlink teaching, research and public engagement at undergraduate level (Healey and Jenkins, 2009). Given that the impact of academic research is inextricably linked to neoliberal funding mechanisms, such as the research excellence framework (REF).

There is a continued expectation from academics to demonstrate the links between science and society to gather funds, which is problematic as impact is hard to measure and interventions may have more longitudinal effects beyond the life of a short-term project. (Chubb and Watermeyer, 2016). It has been found that those disciplines defined as STEM Panel B in the REF case studies reports (Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer science and Environmental science) are less likely to report on impact than any other discipline in higher education (HE) (Duncan, Manners and Miller, 2017).

Open educational practices (OEPs) have changed the way in which knowledge can be produced, co-created, shared and formalised thereby enabling the democratisation and ownership of knowledge production to be reconfigured (Johnston, MacNeill and Smyth, 2019). Engagement in third spaces (a communal space distinct from the workplace, or normal place of education), can take place in a variety of ways, settings and physical places which acting as a bridge for public engagement with academia (Lubicz-Nawrocka, 2019). These dialogic approaches add layers to research and teaching whereby students, lecturers and public can work together for socio-cultural change using social media, open-source repositories or wikis for example.

Interviews indicate that some lecturers engage with OEPs – for example by using and co-contributing to open-source platforms with students or developing OEP approaches to laboratory work. However, there is a reluctance amongst some lecturers to engage with some digitally mediated third spaces to support their research and teaching. The overall presence of universities in non-formal, open, digitally mediated third spaces has markedly increased following the COVID19 pandemic; however, according to interview findings it may not always have a catalytic effect on openness in teaching and learning practices. This short presentation considers how OEPs can support undergraduate research and teaching in Scotland, and also demonstrate their wider public impact to instantiate the triple nexus (Stevenson and McArthur, 2015).

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2023
Event14th Annual Conference for Open Education Research, Practice and Policy - University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Apr 20236 Apr 2023


Conference14th Annual Conference for Open Education Research, Practice and Policy
Abbreviated titleOER 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • open education
  • OERs
  • STEM education


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