On March 31, 2022, presidents and high-level presidential representatives from 65 colleges and universities participated in the first convening of the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS). HELIOS emerges from the work of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science. Current members collectively represent 1.8 million students, faculty, and staff. The key outcome of the meeting was a clear commitment to collective action to advance open scholarship.
Textbooks are traditional and useful learning resources for college students, but commercial texts books have been widely criticized for their high costs, restricted access, limited flexibility, and uninspiring learning experiences. Open Education Resources (OER) are an alternative to commercial textbooks that have the potential to increase college affordability, access, and instructional quality. The current study examined how an OER degree—or pathway of OER courses that meet the requirements for a degree program—impacted students’ progress to degree at 11 US community colleges. We conducted quasi-experimental impact studies and meta-analysis examining whether OER course enrollment was associated with differences in credit accumulation and cumulative GPA over multiple terms. Overall, we found a positive effect of OER degrees on credit accumulation and no significant difference on cumulative GPA. Taken together, these results suggest students are maintaining their GPAs despite taking more courses, on average. This suggests that students taking OER courses were making faster progress towards degrees than their peers who took no OER courses.
“Eager to expand access to educational opportunities, the Human Services program at College of DuPage is taking advantage of the college’s Open Educational Resources (OER) program.
To date, more than half of all Human Services classes at COD utilize OER to make attending college more affordable for students….”
“Getting access to physical textbooks has become more difficult during the pandemic. Campuses are closed to students, and the cost of textbooks is a growing barrier.
The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) launched an online library of educational content in December to provide faculty and students with free digital materials to enhance teaching and learning.
The cloud-based openNCCC is an OER platform, also known as open education resources. The initiative enables educational entities to create, share and access a library of digital materials that can be modified to adjust to student and faculty needs. The platform will support new approaches to teaching and provide equitable access to quality educational materials throughout the state….”
“This episode features our OER Librarian, Kelsey Smith, as she explains Open Educational Resources, licensing, attribution, and open pedagogy….along with some of the highlights of our ZTC degrees and the OERevolution@ WHC Lemoore that has revolutionized our courses and saved our students over $3 million in textbook costs!”
“THIS CHAPTER OUTLINES THE STEPS TAKEN TO IMPLEMENT AN open access policy at a public, midsize, four-year institution [The College at Brockport]. There is no “one size fts all” in policy-making, but the authors intend to provide motivation for others to continue to work on policies that can enhance the scholarly profle at their schools….”
“When a team of educators in Oregon became sick and tired of their students being charged heaps of cash for college textbooks, they began making their own—and it has collectively saved their students more than $2.5 million….”
“This report expands on last year’s report with updated course and enrollment data as well as new findings about students’ perceptions of their OER courses and the institutional costs and actual student savings of OER degree pathways. A final report in September 2019 will include findings on student and course outcome data. Here are several highlights from this report that caught our attention:
- The Initiative has spurred significant expansion of OER courses and enrollments at participating colleges.
- Students find OER materials more relevant, easier to navigate, and better aligned with learning objectives than traditional textbooks.
- Faculty see increased student engagement with OER materials.
- College leaders see OER degrees connected to other institutional strategic goals, including affordability, increased access and equity, decreased time to degree, and improved pedagogy.
- Students realize significant savings from use of free and open course materials, savings that can help them with financial challenges that might interfere with their ability to continue and succeed in their program of study….”
“When professors shift to assigning Open Educational Resources instead of publisher-produced textbooks, the move typically saves students money (and it can be a significant amount). But OER is not free, since it costs money to develop the materials, takes time for professors to evaluate and adopt them, and typically involves other campus-support services as well.
A report released last week gives perhaps the most detailed accounting of the pricetag to colleges looking to make signiciant moves to OER….”
“Achieving? ?the? ?Dream? ?President? ?and? ?CEO? ?Dr.? ?Karen? ?A.? ?Stout,? ?Bunker? ?Hill? ?Community? ?College? ?President? ?Dr. Pam? ?Eddinger,? ?and? ?Odessa? ?College? ?President? ?Dr.? ?Gregory? ?Williams? ?drew? ?an? ?audience? ?of? ?30? ?Congressional staff? ?members? ?plus? ?higher? ?education? ?policymakers? ?and? ?open? ?educational? ?resources? ?(OER)? ?supporters? ?to? ?a briefing? ?on? ?OER’s? ?impact? ?on? ?community? ?college? ?student? ?success.?”
“Over the last few years, several Santa Fe College professors opted to forego the use of traditional textbooks and use Open Educational Resources (OER) to save students money. OER content is licensed in a manner that provides perpetual permission resulting in the ability to retain, reuse, revise, and redistribute content.”
“Each member grants to Vassar College permission in the form of a nonexclusive, worldwide license to reproduce and publicly distribute, via Vassar’s institutional repository, each of their peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, provided that the articles will not be sold for a profit. Each faculty member is expected to provide an electronic copy of the accepted manuscript of each article to the repository in an appropriate format as specified by the Vassar College Libraries.
The policy applies to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the Faculty of Vassar College; work completed prior to appointment at Vassar can be submitted at the faculty member’s discretion. For articles with copyright restrictions, and/or upon the express direction of the faculty author, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty will not apply the policy for a particular article or delay access for the necessary period of time. In collaboration with the Library Committee, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty will be responsible for interpreting and applying this policy….”
Not even an abstract is free online.
“For the UT libraries, which constantly grapple with a small number of powerful, dollar-minded research journal publishers over the cost of texts, solving a minor financial crisis could entail taking a step back from the age-old industry altogether. With spending stagnant and the cost of research journals steadily rising year-over-year, embracing the concept of open access — putting articles out freely on the Internet and skipping paywalls — has emerged as a practical work-around for the UT Libraries that also keeps UT at the forefront of academic publishing … But Haricombe said she sees opportunity in open access — for financial and philosophical reasons. Although the idea is not new, Haricombe said she hopes to establish a more serious focus on the concept at UT, declaring the 2015–2016 school year as ‘the year of open’ …”
“As long as there has been open access (OA), there has been talk of a global ‘flip’ of research journals away from the subscription business model. The difficulties in coordinating an enormous number of stakeholders with different interests have continued to make this unlikely. However, a recent paper from the Max Planck Digital Library claiming that, ‘An internationally concerted shifting of subscription budgets is possible at no financial risk, maybe even at lower overall costs,’ has once again fueled talk of a flip. Has this paper discovered a golden ticket to global OA sustainability, or is it based on flawed assumptions? Long-time green OA advocate Stevan Harnad has written at length about the improbable nature of a global overnight flip to Gold OA via an organized system of membership deals, and about the adverse selection such a system would create … Much of the drive toward a flip is based in the EU and the UK, where public higher education is highly centralized at the national level. This creates the notion that there exists a global pool of funds that could be diverted away from subscriptions and toward OA fees. But the difficulties in coordinating action between self-interested parties becomes even more evident when one thinks about how libraries are funded and subscriptions are paid for in the US, still the major producer of scholarly articles worldwide. I frequently ask US librarians where their subscription budget comes from and the responses vary widely, but the most common answers are tuition, student fees and some portion of grant overheads. Because tuition and student fees are collected by individual institutions, there’s no big pool of funds that can be diverted centrally from one purpose to another. Such a flip would massively increase the financial burden on productive institutions, while freeing non-productive institution from any responsibility in funding research access. If I’m running a small teaching school and can save money by cancelling subscriptions, my Dean is going to be much more interested in spending our students’ tuition fees on our students, rather than sending that money off to Harvard to help their poor professors publish papers. US universities are increasingly cash-strapped, which makes any coordinated give-aways like this unlikely. And having major contributors to the literature like the US, Japan and Australia choose the Green route puts a damper on any global move to Gold OA But a recent paper from three members of the Max Planck Digital Library suggests the whole thing could be done immediately and at a cost-savings. Their thesis is that each individual library could stop paying subscription fees and instead divert those same funds toward article processing charges (APCs) for their campus authors, and that doing this could happen within current library budgets, requiring no additional funds from outside, and no pooling of funds between institutions. As Rick Anderson recently pointed out, there’s a difference between advocacy and analysis. Reading this paper, it’s clear which this is. The authors clearly state that they are trying to advocate for a cause …”