Engagement in Free Open Access Medical Education by US Nephrology Fellows

Abstract Background: 

As free open access medical education use increases, it is important to characterize how and why learners are using this educational material in nephrology. We describe the frequency, purpose, and type of free open access medical education usage across US nephrology fellows.


In this cross-sectional survey, items were emailed to all US adult and pediatric nephrology fellows via the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Fellow Survey in May 2022. The eight-item survey, developed to measure free open access medical education engagement, had previously undergone instrument validation. Results were analyzed by descriptive statistics.


In total, 43% (359/842) adult nephrology fellows and 51% (45/88) pediatric nephrology fellows completed the survey. 74% (300/404) of fellows reported using free open access medical education, and 72% (215/300) started using free open access medical education within the last 2 years. Of free open access medical education users, 41% (122/300) reported viewing free open access medical education and 33% (99/300) reported applying knowledge gained from these resources daily or weekly. Common purposes for free open access medical education engagement included searching Twitter to learn about others’ opinions in the field (43%; 130/300), reading blogs to answer clinical questions (35%; 105/300), and listening to podcasts for the most up to date information (39%; 116/300). Compared with traditional educational resources, fellows preferred using free open access medical education for staying up to date on nephrology topics (75%) and answering clinical questions (37%). Amongst all fellows, the greatest barriers to free open access medical education use were unfamiliarity with free open access medical education (27%; 111/404), validity concerns (22%; 90/404), and a lack of a local community of free open access medical education users (22%; 87/404).


74% of nephrology fellows used free open access medical education resources in a variety of ways, and of these, 33% of fellows clinically applied knowledge gained from these resources. Reasons for engaging with free open access medical education varied across resources.

Open Publishing and the Value of Access

Abstract:  The traditional market for publishing textbooks and education resources is flawed. The ecosystem which supports traditional publishing is complex. The fundamental problems with the textbook market are that textbooks often cost a significant amount of money to access, and they are governed by legal restrictions which limit the way in which the resources can be accessed, used, and reused. The emergence of open publishing models in education has challenged the way in which the traditional publishing industry is viewed by stakeholders:  education institutions, governments, philanthropic/private funders, and  individuals. Open publishing is changing the way knowledge is accessed and used; it is providing alternative ways to publish by removing access barriers, promoting free access to knowledge, and supporting changes in social norms and trends (letting people access and use content the way they want to). There exists an opportunity for innovation and progress through the broader adoption of open publishing in higher education. The broader adoption has the potential to positively influence the way publishing in education considers systemic issues such as equity, diversity and inclusion. This research investigates the way open publishing in higher education operates and offers one potential solution to the prevalent social dilemma of access to and use of educational materials.

AI, Instructional Design, and OER – improving learning

“In other words, as far as the US Copyright Office is concerned, output from programs like ChatGPT or Stable Diffusion are not eligible for copyright protection. Now, that could change if Congress gets involved (are they actually capable of doing anything?), or if the Supreme Court turned its collective back on decades of precedent (which, admittedly, has been happening recently). But unless something rather dramatic happens along these lines, the outputs of generative AI programs will continue to pass immediately into the public domain. Consequently, they will be open educational resources under the common definition….

Generative AI tools could have an incredible impact on the breadth and diversity of OER that exist, since they will dramatically decrease the cost and time necessary to create the informational resources that underlie these learning materials. Current funding for the creation of OER (when it’s available at all) typically focuses on the courses enrolling the largest number of students. This makes sense when your theory of philanthropy is that the money you spend should benefit the most people possible. But that theory of philanthropy also means that the “long tail” of courses that each enroll relatively few students are unlikely to ever receive funding. LLMs will radically alter the economics of creating OER, and should make it possible for OER to come to these courses as well. (And while LLMs will have a significant impact on the economics of creating OER, they may not have as dramatic an impact on the sustainability, maintenance, and upkeep of OER over time.)…”

The University Library joins the Open Education Network | Library | The University of Sheffield

“We are pleased to announce that we’ve become the first UK institution to join the Open Education Network (OEN), a vibrant and supportive community that advances the use of open educational resources and practices. 

The OEN started in 2014, following the establishment of the Open Textbook Library, at the University of Minnesota by the Center for Open Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries. 

The Open Textbook Library (OTL) currently contains over 1150 open textbooks across a range of disciplines, all licensed to be freely used and adapted. Anybody can suggest a book for the OTL, providing it meets the required criteria. Around 75% of the books have been reviewed by members of the OEN Community, helping teachers and students to evaluate suitability for their own teaching and learning.

Membership of the OEN will enable colleagues at the University of Sheffield to submit their own reviews, and we hope that these will be useful across the HE community in the UK….”

UBC Library research project explores Indigenous perspectives in open education resource development – About UBC Library

“UBC librarians are embarking on a new collaborative research project that aims to address a fundamental problem in how open educational practices approach Indigenous Knowledges, and instead replicate colonial concepts of ownership and knowledge transfer.

The research project, titled Foregrounding Indigenous Perspectives: Community and Collaborator Affinities and Conflicts in Open Education, was recently awarded a grant by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). The Practicing Librarian Grant, awarded by CARL’s Strengthening Capacity Committee, supports Canadian research in the field of academic librarianship for projects that use structured, evidence-based research to tackle real-world issues….”

Open Education as a lever for social justice and equity – Exploring the many on ramps of Open STEM education

“The Open Education Ecosystem can be thought of as a roundabout where educators and researchers enter into a high-impact landscape through many different on ramps, including Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Data, Open Science, Open Pedagogy, or any of the many aspects of Open Education Ecosystem. Here we describe these common on ramps, transitions, and intersections between different facets of the Open Education landscape and more importantly how Open Education can be leveraged to promote social justice and equity in STEM education.

Open Educational Resources (OER) save students millions of dollars, but the potential impact of these resources extends far beyond promoting equity through cost savings (Dembecki, 2022). Instructors often join the conversation about Open Education by using OER and quickly realize that OER are actually a launching point into higher-impact pedagogical practices. Before getting into using these resources to promote social justice and equity and engaging in Open Education more broadly we need to understand what OERs are and are not.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are not simply defined as any resources freely accessed on websites nor are they solely free textbooks. They are specifically freely and publicly available teaching, learning, and research materials where Creative Commons licensing enables retaining, remixing, revising, reusing, and redistributing the resources (5Rs, Wiley). The term OER is often used synonymously with free, but OER are much more than an alternative to standard physical and digital texts. OER can include software, datasets, teaching modules, laboratory exercises, research methods, computational scripts and workflows, study guides and test banks, and much more. At the very least, implementing OER in a course reduces the cost burden of education for students enabling all students to afford course materials. In addition to cost savings, OER can promote student success and in some cases even more so for students from minoritized populations thus extending equity beyond reducing cost (Colvard, Watson, and Park, 2018). The benefits of using OER are not the OER themselves, but what you can do with them. Adapting and remixing OER enhances the learning experience and promotes social justice and equity through resource modification. OER can be modified to achieve:

greater alignment to content, context, and cognitive level 
accessibility and ease of use
flexibility in pedagogical approach 
contextualizing for local or cultural relevance
prioritizing and promoting minoritized voices…”

The Design and Delivery of an Astrobiology Massive Open Online Class | Astrobiology

Abstract:  MOOCs, or massive open online classes have reached hundreds of millions of people around the world in the past decade with a model of free open access learning. They are an excellent vehicle for delivering science to lifelong learners. Building on experience in designing astronomy MOOCs for Udemy and Coursera, we have created an astrobiology MOOC for Coursera called “Astrobiology: Exploring Other Worlds” that launched in April 2019. As of early 2022, about 9000 people have started the course, and nearly 10% of those have completed it. The average user rating is 4.9 out of 5. The core content is 10?h of video lectures, divided into six modules, which cover the possibilities of life in the Solar System, the search for exoplanets, the concept of habitability, the definition of life and basics of biology, evolution of life on Earth, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Pedagogy was designed around clear learning objectives and includes quizzes, writing assignments, and a final project that draws on all the concepts presented in the course where students design their own mission to characterize exoplanets. In this study, we describe the design, implementation, and subsequent success of our 2019 astrobiology MOOC.


Preprints in Health Professions Education: Raising Awareness… : Academic Medicine

Abstract:  A preprint is a version of a research manuscript posted by its authors to a preprint server before peer review. Preprints are associated with a variety of benefits, including the ability to rapidly communicate research, the opportunity for researchers to receive feedback and raise awareness of their research, and broad and unrestricted access. For early-career researchers, preprints also provide a mechanism for demonstrating research progress and productivity without the lengthy timelines of traditional journal publishing. Despite these benefits, few health professions education (HPE) research articles are deposited as preprints, suggesting that preprinting is not currently integrated into HPE culture. In this article, the authors describe preprints, their benefits and related risks, and the potential barriers that hamper their widespread use within HPE. In particular, the authors propose the barriers of discordant messaging and the lack of formal and informal education on how to deposit, critically appraise, and use preprints. To mitigate these barriers, several recommendations are proposed to facilitate preprints in becoming an accepted and encouraged component of HPE culture, allowing the field to take full advantage of this evolving form of research dissemination.


Open issues for education in radiological research: data integrity, study reproducibility, peer-review, levels of evidence, and cross-fertilization with data scientists | SpringerLink

Abstract:  We are currently facing extraordinary changes. A harder and harder competition in the field of science is open in each country as well as in continents and worldwide. In this context, what should we teach to young students and doctors? There is a need to look backward and return to “fundamentals”, i.e. the deep characteristics that must characterize the research in every field, even in radiology. In this article, we focus on data integrity (including the “declarations” given by the authors who submit a manuscript), reproducibility of study results, and the peer-review process. In addition, we highlight the need of raising the level of evidence of radiological research from the estimation of diagnostic performance to that of diagnostic impact, therapeutic impact, patient outcome, and social impact. Finally, on the emerging topic of radiomics and artificial intelligence, the recommendation is to aim for cross-fertilization with data scientists, possibly involving them in the clinical departments.


The Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory

“With the success of open access publishing, Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and open education practices, the open approach to education has moved from the periphery to the mainstream. This marks a moment of victory for the open education movement, but at the same time the real battle for the direction of openness begins. As with the green movement, openness now has a market value and is subject to new tensions, such as venture capitalists funding MOOC companies. This is a crucial time for determining the future direction of open education.

In this volume, Martin Weller examines four key areas that have been central to the developments within open education: open access, MOOCs, open education resources and open scholarship. Exploring the tensions within these key arenas, he argues that ownership over the future direction of openness is significant to all those with an interest in education….”

Close to open—Factors that hinder and promote open science in ecology research and education | PLOS ONE

Abstract:  The Open Science (OS) movement is rapidly gaining traction among policy-makers, research funders, scientific journals and individual scientists. Despite these tendencies, the pace of implementing OS throughout the scientific process and across the scientific community remains slow. Thus, a better understanding of the conditions that affect OS engagement, and in particular, of how practitioners learn, use, conduct and share research openly can guide those seeking to implement OS more broadly. We surveyed participants at an OS workshop hosted by the Living Norway Ecological Data Network in 2020 to learn how they perceived OS and its importance in their research, supervision and teaching. Further, we wanted to know what OS practices they had encountered in their education and what they saw as hindering or helping their engagement with OS. The survey contained scaled-response and open-ended questions, allowing for a mixed-methods approach. We obtained survey responses from 60 out of 128 workshop participants (47%). Responses indicated that usage and sharing of open data and code, as well as open access publication, were the most frequent OS practices. Only a minority of respondents reported having encountered OS in their formal education. A majority also viewed OS as less important in their teaching than in their research and supervisory roles. The respondents’ suggestions for what would facilitate greater OS engagement in the future included knowledge, guidelines, and resources, but also social and structural support. These are aspects that could be strengthened by promoting explicit implementation of OS practices in higher education and by nurturing a more inclusive and equitable OS culture. We argue that incorporating OS in teaching and learning of science can yield substantial benefits to the research community, student learning, and ultimately, to the wider societal objectives of science and higher education.


Themed Issue on Open Educational Resources

“Embraced by college and university administrators and funded by national and state initiatives as a means to lower barriers of entry for low-income college students, open educational resources (OER) have also become a cornerstone of open pedagogy methods that work to make connections between the classroom, the university, and the world beyond the academy. This special issue explores the affordances and challenges of OER, both in their in-class use and in the initiatives at various scales to encourage instructors, librarians, and other education workers to adopt them and explore their full potential for transforming pedagogy.

We are especially proud to publish this OER special issue on CUNY’s Manifold instance. Manifold, developed by the CUNY Graduate Center in partnership with The University of Minnesota Press and the development firm Cast Iron Coding, represents a new approach to OER publishing that we believe JITP’s audience will appreciate. With this issue, and with the publication of our archives in early 2023, you can collect articles to share and annotate with your students and colleagues. To this end, please consider creating a reading account, learning more about reading on Manifold, and joining JITP’s reading group. We hope you will join us!”

Champions of Transparency in Education: What Journal Reviewers Can Do to Encourage Open Science Practices

Abstract:  As the field of education and especially gifted education gradually moves towards open science, our research community increasingly values transparency and openness brought by open science practices. Yet, individual researchers may be reluctant to adopt open science practices due to low incentives, barriers of extra workload, or lack of support to apply these in certain areas, such as qualitative research. We encourage and give guidelines to reviewers to champion open science practices by warmly influencing authors to consider applying open science practices to quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research and providing ample support to produce higher-quality publications. Instead of imposing open science practices on authors, we advocate reviewers suggest small, non-threatening, specific steps to support authors without making them feel overwhelmed, judged, or punished. We believe that these small steps taken by reviewers will make a difference to create a more supportive environment for researchers to adopt better practices.


2023 Unconference on Open Scholarship Practices in Education Research

“The 2023 Unconference will be a virtual participation event featuring participant-led sessions analyzing the current state of open scholarship practice seeking solutions to identified problems. Participants will assess barriers to adoption of open scholarship practices unique to the education community and brainstorm strategies for promoting greater awareness….”