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A grand tour of OER policy

Monday 14:00-15:30 (1), Marlborough Suite

Type: Short paper

Theme: Open policy, research, scholarship and access

#oer14 #abs62


Dr. Robert Farrow, The Open University, [email protected]
Sara Frank Bristow, Salient Research, [email protected]



This study examines the relationship between policy and practice in the world of open education. It draws largely on the findings of other research projects and their openly licensed outputs (e.g. Creative Commons, POERUP) to map open education policies. In this presentation we will take the audience on a 'world tour' of OER policy, highlighting important case studies and scaffolding a participative discussion where members of the OER community can refine their understanding of the key issues.


The OER Research Hub policy registry is a tool that has been developed in response to community needs and is open to use by all. Work done around our research hypotheses has allowed us to cross-reference policies and other evidence of OER impact.

In describing the policy context for OER we provide a short historical review of relevant policy, including the Budapest OA Initiative (2002); the establishment of a Global OER Community (2005); the Cape Town Declaration (2007) and the Paris Declaration (2012). We then go on to look at each continent in turn and talk about the different kinds of policy climates, highlighting local and national case studies which merit particular interest. We pay particular attention to the USA, where there are many interesting policies at institutional, local and state levels (and where original research has been undertaken in collaboration with OER pilot participants).


OER Research Hub has a research hypothesis about policies being established as a result of OER piloting. We examine the evidence for this, finding that it is more common to find that no policy change happens as a result of piloting. Policies are frequently drivers for change rather than an outcome of OER pilots (especially in cases where an individual 'champion' works simultaneously with both educators and policymakers). Furthermore, where 'policies' can be identified they are often informal rather than based in regulation; this makes it harder in some cases to exactly understand the intended effect of a given policy. We cross reference data from OER Research Hub surveys and.interviews to enrich our picture of what is happening on the ground.


This session should provide a number of ways (historical, geographical, empirical, conceptual) for audience members to enter the discussion, which is intended to be a chance for collective raising of awareness of newer policy initiatives as well as the impact of historical initiatives. This discussion will also feed into forthcoming survey work we will be doing with policymakers about reasons for/against OER adoption.

Files associated with this presentation are at http://www.slideshare.net/robertfarrow/a-grand-tour-of-oer-policy


Funding acknowledgements

OER Research Hub is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and some of the preparation work for this presentation was carried out while Sara Frank Bristow was a visiting research fellow for the project.

Further details

Keywords: OER policy, OER, open educational resources, mapping, policy

Dr Robert Farrow, Research Associate, The Open University

Twitter: @philosopher1978

Twitter abstract: Join us on a tour around the world of OER policies