Silver anniversary for a gold-standard open-access education journal

By

Trista Sobeck

Quiz time! Which ASU open-access publication is older than the JSTOR digital library (1995), BioMed Central (1999), Public Library of Science (2003), Wikipedia (2001) and Google Scholar (2004)? Give up? Here’s the answer: Education Policy Analysis Archives, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal supported by Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the scholarly resource, the longest-running OA journal at Arizona State University and one of the pioneering open-access journals in the history of the OA movement.

Through its OA model, EPAA has for decades widely disseminated important educational research to a greater variety of stakeholders including educators, policymakers and staff, parents, and journalists, leading to actual impact in policy and practice that changes schools, classrooms and children’s lives.

A gift freely given

OA publications like EPAA break down barriers of time and money (subscription paywalls) that too often keep dynamic ideas from making a difference.

EPAA was the brainchild of Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Regents Professor Emeritus Gene V. Glass. Glass remembers, "What started on a converted IBM PC in my office in 1993 amid equal measures of indifference and skepticism became 25 years later, under the stewardship of Sherman Dorn, Gustavo E. Fischman and Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, a resource accessed by literally hundreds of thousands of students and scholars — a gift freely given from the state of Arizona to the world."

Since its beginning, EPAA has opened the door to proactive and provocative scholarship. With online publication and distribution, EPAA articles place research in the hands of virtually any reader with internet access; a much faster and more accessible resource than traditional printed journals.

For example, in 1993, the second article of the newly founded EPAA — “Educational Reform in an Era of Disinformation” by David Berliner — was born out of a speech in which Berliner called out the “manufactured crisis” of U.S. education. The article had thousands of downloads in just a few days.

Open access can also foster new collaborations and advance research. Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, current lead editor of EPAA, notes how the OA journal provides a kick-start for future research. “Before serving as lead editor, my EPAA articles facilitated increased access to my research on the (potentially) wrongful termination of teachers using students’ test scores throughout the nation. This led to my work on legal cases with teams of lawyers who likely would not have known of my expertise in these areas nor my potential to serve as an expert witness in these cases as a result.”

In short, article successes lead to more research, more articles and more books on a topic, which helps advance individual careers, as well as a body of policy research.

 

A gateway to global partnerships

EPAA has also built up innovative collaborations and networks around the globe. Gustavo E. Fischman, former editor of EPAA explains, “Few journals in the field of educational research have the level of global recognition and influence of EPAA. Our journal’s global relevance is in no small part due to the international and multilingual nature of our authors, reviewers, editors, readers and collaborators, who share the commitment to make high quality research accessible.”

International collaboration is in EPAA’s DNA. In addition to publishing articles in English, EPAA also publishes in Spanish and Portuguese. Roberto Rodríguez Gómez served as the first associate editor for Spanish language in 1998, and Gustavo E. Fischman and Pablo Gentili served as the first associate editors for Spanish and Portuguese in 2003. Canadian collaborators John Willinsky and Juan Pablo Alperin from the Public Knowledge Project contributed to the journal’s migration to Open Journal Systems in the mid-2000s.

Accordingly, EPAA continues to be a leader in education policy scholarship. Publishing on a weekly schedule, the journal offered 126 articles last year. The journal also maintains a YouTube channel where it shares video commentaries of select articles. Several EPAA articles have been featured or mentioned in news media outlets, such as The New York Times, Inside Higher Education, Prospects and local news channels. In 2016, EPAA articles had 126,707 total views, and it’s not uncommon for some articles to have more than 1,000 downloads in their first year.

 

Open, but not unregulated

Ease of access, however, does not diminish the scholarly rigor of the journal. With an acceptance rate of only 14 percent, a double-blind peer review process and active editorial boards in English, Spanish and Portuguese, EPAA is indexed in Scopus and ranked No. 4 in education policy journals based on Google Scholar metrics.

Most authors choose to publish in EPAA because it is one of the most efficient journals in the field and it is OA. Under EPAA’s Creative Commons license, authors own their copyright and are free to share their work as they choose.

With more universities establishing OA policies and funders requiring OA publications as a condition of funded research, journals like EPAA are meeting the needs of an increasing digital scholarly landscape. It will be exciting to see what the journal continues to offer in the next 25 years.

 

Top 25 EPAA articles

  1. Teacher Quality and Student Achievement (Linda Darling-Hammond)
  2. Choice Without Equity: Charter school segregation (Erica Frankenberg et al.)
  3. The Link Between Teacher Classroom Practices and Student Academic Performance (Harold Wenglinsky)
  4. High-Stakes Testing and Student Learning (Sharon L. Nichols et al.)
  5. Competencies in ICT of Teachers and Their Relation to the Use of Technological Resources (Jesús M. Suárez Rodríguez et al., Spanish)
  6. Value-Added Modeling of Teacher Effectiveness: An exploration of stability across models and contexts (Xiaoxia A. Newton et al.)
  7. Influence of Environmental Conditions and Academic Performance in the Primary Education Classrooms of Iberoamerica (F. Javier Murillo et al., Spanish)
  8. Does Teacher Preparation Matter? Evidence about teacher certification, Teach For America and teacher effectiveness (Linda Darling-Hammond et al.)
  9. Preparing Teachers of English Language Learners: Empirical evidence and policy implications (Francesca López et al.)
  10. The Effectiveness of "Teach For America" and Other Under-Certified Teachers (Ildiko Laczko-Kerr et al.)
  11. Scholastic Achievement and Demographics of Home School Students, 1998 (Lawrence M. Rudner)
  12. The Construction of an Inclusive Multicultural Citizenship: Tools for its exploration (Marin Gracia Maria Angeles, Spanish)
  13. Educational Expertise, Advocacy and Media Influence (Joel R. Malin et al.)
  14. Wanted — A National Teacher Supply Policy for Education: The right way to meet the "highly qualified teacher" challenge (Linda Darling-Hammond et al.)
  15. High-Stakes Testing and Student Achievement: Does accountability pressure increase student learning? (Sharon L. Nichols et al.)
  16. Factors Affecting the Impact of Professional Development Programs on Teachers' Knowledge, Practice, Student Outcomes and Efficacy (Lawrence Ingvarson et al.)
  17. Professional Capital as Accountability (Michael Fullan et al.)
  18. Accountability for College and Career Readiness: Developing a new paradigm (Linda Darling-Hammond et al.)
  19. Chronic Teacher Turnover in Urban Elementary Schools (Kacey Guin)
  20. Legal Consequences of Mandating High-Stakes Decisions Based on Low-Quality Information: Teacher evaluation in the race-to-the-top era (Bruce D. Baker et al.)
  21. The Myth of the Texas Miracle in Education (Walt Haney)
  22. High-Stakes Testing and Student Achievement: Updated analyses with NAEP data (Sharon Nichols et al.)
  23. Developmentalism: An obscure but pervasive restriction (J.E. Stone)
  24. It's Not "Education by ZIP Code" Anymore, but What Is It? Conceptions of equity under the Common Core (Mindy Laura Kornhaber et al.)
  25. Avoidable losses: High-stakes accountability and the dropout crisis (Linda McSpadden McNeil et al.)