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Issue 6 (2008)


Towards a global, knowledge-based economy: the effects of ICT on employment

The spring 2008 issue of UOC Papers is the sixth and as usual is structured around a central article, by Miltiadis Lytras, University of Patras, Greece, and Miguel-Ángel Sicilia, University of Alcalá de Henares, entitled Open research – the ORS way, and a dossier, ICT and work: towards new organisational systems, new salary and employment structures, and new mechanisms for intermediation, coordinated by UOC lecturer, Joan Torrent.

In the main article, the authors begin by looking at the spread in recent years of open-source software, in academia in particular, and examine the challenges produced by this expansion for research, in terms of aiding openness and transparency. With this in mind, they explain the role played by the Open Research Society (ORS). This non-governmental organisation, founded on September 1 2007, aims to experiment with open approaches to research and analyse the ways research activities and results can be considered “closed” today. The ORS provides an umbrella for such experimental and evolutionary approaches to inquiry in making research less closed than it is at present.

In turn, the dossier coordinated by Joan Torrent brings together a series of articles analysing the changes seen in employment within the framework of the transition from an industrial economy to a global, knowledge-based economy. In the first article entitled Electronic skills-biased technological change (e-SBTC), employment and salaries: the state of the question, Torrent himself looks at this controversial question and examines the bias of technological skills and their effect on employment and salaries, as well as the problem of the context in which these effects take place. In the second article in the dossier, Pilar Ficapal-Cusí, UOC, examines the process to build the knowledge society and economy in terms of Catalan businesses. Based on data from 2003, the article looks at the limits and potential for transforming business efficiency within the context of this profound change. The third article, by Ángel Díaz-Chao, King Juan Carlos I University, Madrid, analyses the impact of ICT and the knowledge economy on salary gaps based on Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE) data and highlights the effects. In conclusion, Elena González and Jorge Sainz, also of King Juan Carlos I University, ask Who looks for work on the internet? Their results show that the young, educated and, for the most part, women benefit from the ability to find job offers on the internet. In short, we offer UOC Papers readers a series of articles, based firmly on empirical studies, that provide approaches to the effects of the knowledge economy on the employment market.

The miscellany section contains the following articles: How do people work in a multilingual virtual classroom? A multilingual learning environment using Moodle and Apertium by Antoni Oliver and Cristina Borrell, UOC, which presents a project that aims to integrate a machine translation system into a virtual learning environment and Digital literacy as a factor for social inclusion: a critical perspective by José Luis Travieso García and Jordi Planella Ribera, UOC, which questions the current trend to offer digital training programmes aimed solely at technical skills development and the growing awareness of the need to include values to promote cooperative work.

Likewise, as in every issue of UOC Papers, you can find the section of reviews and new releases.

Finally, we would like to highlight the fact that UOC Papers has recently been included on two important databases and a benchmark portal: Latíndex (the regional online information system for scientific journals in Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal), ISOC (CSIC’s Scientific Documentation and Information Centre (CINDOC) database) and INIST-CNRS’s BiblioSHS (the human and social sciences information portal, France).

Joan Fuster Sobrepere

Director, UOC Papers

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