RUSC v12i3 | Editorial [en]


Josep M. Duart and Rosalind James

Co-Editors, RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal

We are pleased to present the new issue of RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal, which closes volume 12. The works in this issue’s miscellaneous research section were published as in-press articles last May. Readers now have access to the articles in the special section too. The special section is on Learning Analytics. We are happy with the decision to open the January and July issues two months earlier by publishing the works in the miscellaneous research section as in-press articles. This allows the times between article acceptance and publication to be shortened, benefitting authors and readers alike. We are currently looking into ways of making the times between article acceptance and publication even shorter.

Special section on Learning Analytics

As a research topic and an emergent field of application, Learning Analytics (LA) has drawn the attention of scholars, pedagogy professionals, educators, school managers, administrators, political decision-makers, artificial intelligence researchers, data mining experts and learning technology entrepreneurs.

Access to the unprecedented quantity and quality of data generated by students has created new challenges and opportunities. For example, researchers can get a better understanding of how students acquire subject-related knowledge, educators can assess the effects of teaching-learning activities and interventions, and students can receive student-centred support. Available online and in real time, this support is automatically personalised as students progress through the learning process.

This issue contains four articles that deal specifically with such topics. Short introductions to these are given below, in no particular order. The first article is by researchers at the University of Huelva (UHU), Spain. They present a study analysing the relationship between the number of hours per day that university students spend on the Internet and their attitude, training, use, impact and perception of difficulties in Web 2.0 integration, as well as their knowledge and use of Web 2.0 tools in higher education. In the second article, Ángel Juan, an associate professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), Spain, and Laura Calvet, a researcher at the UOC’s Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), present an analysis and brief introduction to this field of research, which new researchers into this topic will find useful. The third article is by researchers at the University of Macedonia (UOM), Greece. They present a study that was conducted to analyse visual representations of student-generated trace data during learning activities, which help both students and instructors interpret them intuitively and perceive hidden aspects of these data quickly. The fourth and last article in the special section is by researchers at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), Mexico. They present an analysis of the navigation logs of students enrolled in a course offered at a School of Engineering. The objective of their project was to analyse the characteristics of the students’ navigation by identifying, summarising and characterising the way in which they interact with the platform. Based on the results, it is inferred that students apply different learning strategies and follow individualised navigation paths.

RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal organised a workshop for the editors of international educational technology journals

On 9 June 2015, within the framework of the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN) Annual Conference, RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal organised the first international meeting of educational technology (e-learning) journals in the field of higher education. In attendance at the meeting were representatives of 13 of the world’s most prestigious journals in this field. A list of the participating journals and more information about the event can be found at

The workshop was divided into two sessions. In the morning session, which was restricted to the editors of the invited journals, there was an open discussion about current issues of the greatest concern to scientific publishing in the field of educational technology. The first issue to be discussed was quality in the journals’ editorial processes. Peer review processes and the adoption of ethical and quality criteria in editorial processes were analysed in depth. The increasing importance of author support services provided by journals was then discussed. Several options were evaluated, as were their potential and scope for bringing about improvements. Journals are very interested in providing more and better services in this particular area because they help to ensure that the needs of those authors placing their trust in them are attended to properly. After that, the issue of journal sustainability was discussed. This led to considerable debate about open publishing policies and the option of applying article processing charges to authors in order to pay for editorial processes. Finally, the alternate metrics issue was discussed, as was the impact of articles on the scientific community. The editors thanked RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal for providing them with the opportunity to meet for the first time to develop future proposals on how to approach issues shared by all the journals.

A round table was the basis for the afternoon session, with four editors acting as speakers. The session opened with a presentation by Nick Rushby, editor of the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET), who approached the topic of quality in editorial processes. Rory McGreal, editor of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL), then presented his vision of open access and the policy of publishing open content. The next speaker, Barney Dalgarno, editor of the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET), tackled alternate metrics and measuring the impact of research. Finally, Gill Kirkup, editor of Open Learning (OA), gave her presentation about the author support services that OA provides. After the four presentations, the discussion was opened to all attendees. They had the opportunity to speak to and run ideas by the four editors who had given presentations. A video of this round table can be found at Pre-conference workshop EDEN 2015_Open Round Table_9 June 2015.

The editors and researchers taking part in the meeting were very satisfied with it and thanked RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal for holding the event, from which emerged a commitment to organise an editors’ network. The aim of this network is to enable the editors to continue to share information and improvement proposals for scientific publishing in the field of educational technology in higher education.

Finally, we would like to remind readers about our Twitter account (@ruscjournal), which now has more than 800 followers. For anyone interested in the topics covered by RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal, it is a valuable knowledge and information-sharing resource.


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RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal is an e-journal edited by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona).

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