Collaborating to support the use and development of open educational resources: a White Rose Libraries research project – Insights

Abstract:  Interest in open educational resources (OER) has grown recently due to many external factors, including the restrictive, unsustainable and expensive business models for teaching materials that are being used by some publishers. In February 2021, the libraries of the UK White Rose University Consortium (White Rose Libraries) initiated a research project to explore the potential of OER and to create guidance in the form of an OER toolkit that could be used across all three institutions, and more widely. The project also aimed to seek improvements in the discovery of OER in the Ex Libris Primo discovery service which is used by all three libraries. This article outlines the methodology used to ascertain the needs of the libraries’ user groups to inform the development of the toolkit. A survey of academic staff across all three institutions was conducted, followed by user experience interviews. The survey findings established that more than half of respondents knew little or nothing about OER, and over half also said that they would be likely or extremely likely to consider using or adapting OER, clearly demonstrating the need for more awareness raising and guidance. The survey interview findings were then used to develop and refine the toolkit.

Education for All: OpenStax’s Journey and Impact

“At OpenStax, we are driven by a clear and powerful mission: to improve educational access and learning for everyone. Rooted in the belief that education is a public good, we strive to offer products, innovative research, and services that benefit educators and learners worldwide. Our approach is simple but impactful—we listen to the needs of the educational community, secure philanthropic support and community donations for funding, and embark on a rigorous development process.

Since our inception, OpenStax has grown to offer an impressive range of 65 textbooks, a testament to our commitment to providing comprehensive learning materials. Since our first textbook launch in 2012, we’ve already saved more than 36 million students an astounding $2.9 billion. This past school year, more than 7 million students utilized OpenStax materials….”

Open Educational Resources for Public Libraries, 10/3 at 1PM Eastern

“Open educational resources (OER) have gained traction at colleges, universities, and K-12 schools. But with an emphasis on textbook prices and affordability, OER’s primary talking points have missed the mark with public libraries. Still, there are ample opportunities for open education to find a home in public libraries, from programming and digital literacy to makerspace repositories and more!


Join us for an informal conversation with Alex Houff (Digital Equity and Virtual Services Manager at Baltimore County Public Library) and Alex Sharp (Director of Library and Information Services at Tennessee Wesleyan University). This learning circle will be facilitated by Michelle Reed, Library Futures’ Research Manager and former Director of Open Educational Resources at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.


The event will be held over Zoom at 1 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, October 3. To ensure effective community discussion, the circle will be capped at 30 participants. It will not be recorded.”

Open Educational Resources online seminar 2023 | UKSG

“The next few years will see a continual increase in the amount of materials created by educational and aligned organisations, much of which will be accessible to peers, students and the general population across the globe. The opportunities for sharing Open Education Resources are greater than ever. This widespread change has led to many ethical and practical questions around ownership, hosting and copyright. This seminar explores the current OER landscape, looks at how some of these issues are being addressed, and highlights the opportunities presented by the growth of OER resources. 


Why you should

Delegates will have a chance to hear from a variety of different perspectives, which will include how open resources can support teaching and learning, how resources are being developed and promoted, and how others have approached the creation and management of OER policies. This course is aimed at anyone who is keen to understand more about Open Educational Resources, with a view to creating them, making use of them for teaching and learning, or creating policies around them. 


Who should attend

The seminar will be of interest to those working across the scholarly information industry, including publishers, librarians, teachers, lecturers, learning technologists, research support staff, other aligned professionals and students….”

Digitally Established: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2023

“The key takeaways from this year’s survey are: • The return to classroom and in-person instruction post pandemic continues, though a small group of faculty report they only teach blended or online courses. • Faculty regularly incorporate a number student- and instructor-focused tools in their teaching. Every course is different however, as only textbooks, lecture slides, and online homework systems are used by more than half of faculty. • The overall reported use of inclusive access remained steady yearover-year; approximately 25% of respondents report using inclusive access at their institutions. We suspect there may be growing confusion about what inclusive access products are, as levels of awareness decreased in the same period. • There was a slight decline in belief amongst faculty that digital materials are as good of a learning option for students as print materials, and a strong belief that digital offers more flexibility; concerns about the cost of education for students remain high for both faculty and administrators. • OER awareness and use grew to the highest levels ever reported, continuing the trend: in 2022-23, 2 in 3 faculty were aware of OER, and 1 in 3 faculty required OER materials in at least one course …”

More faculty are aware of and using open educational resources

“As the shift toward a more digital classroom continues post-pandemic, faculty members and students alike are finding themselves more aware of and reliant on open educational resources.

Bay View Analytics, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, conducts an annual survey focused on open educational resources, or OER. They are teaching and learning materials that are openly licensed, adaptable and freely available online. This year’s survey found that both usage and awareness of OER are at an all-time high, with nearly a third of instructors, 29 percent, requiring OER in their classrooms.

There was also a high awareness of OER, with 72 percent of faculty members stating they were “aware” or “very aware” of the resources….”

Assessing Open Education Resources Programs – Ithaka S+R

“Today we are excited to announce that Ithaka S+R is embarking on a one-year research project, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, to assess the impact and implementation of open educational resources (OER) programs at public institutions of higher education. Through the project, we will develop a framework to guide sustainable OER adoption and implementation.

At their core, OER initiatives aim to increase student learning outcomes by reducing costs. Our project aims to explore how OER strategies have evolved to meet the needs of faculty and students. In particular, we will develop a holistic framework to assess the impact of OER programs and the challenges they face, paying particular attention to faculty perspectives, student learning outcomes, and equity and digital equity.

Drawing on lessons from the broader literature on teaching and learning initiatives in higher education, the project is guided by the following research questions:

To what extent are postsecondary higher education institutions concerned with sustaining open education initiatives?
What attributes do successful OER initiatives share?
How can institutions move from pilot to wider adoption?
What factors contribute to or inhibit the sustainability of new initiatives in postsecondary institutions? …”

Home – Open Negotiation Education for Academic Libraries (ONEAL) – LibGuides at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

“The Open Negotiation Education for Academic Libraries (ONEAL) project is a collaboration between Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis, Grand Valley State University, and Belmont University to develop curricula and open educational resources to support teaching negotiation education within academic libraries and in Master of Library Science (MLS/MLIS) programs. These educational resources will teach negotiation theory and strategy using academic library context of negotiating third-party content provider agreements.  The curriculum developed will raise the capacity and skill of academic librarians to plan and execute negotiations for electronic resources with third party vendors moving libraries toward sustainability as well as improving access to resources for patrons. While targeted toward academic libraries licensing resources for research, teaching, and learning, the materials created also have the potential to benefit all library sectors (academic, public, school, and special) at the national and potentially global levels. Library science programs will have access to the OER, addressing an issue of strategic importance around maintaining collections.”

Making the Case for Open Educational Resources | AAC&U

“Open educational resources (OER) are openly licensed, no-cost educational materials, such as free online textbooks, that have been shown to have a variety of benefits for students and their learning.

As the title suggests, Making the Case for Open Educational Resources is designed to assist OER advocates in their work to craft persuasive presentations, publications, and arguments as they promote OER.

Graphics displayed throughout the publication are available for you to download and use in your own publications, presentations, and on your advocacy website. Download the graphics.”

Free textbooks and other open educational resources gain popularity | Physics Today | AIP Publishing

“Given a choice between paying $200 for a textbook or taking an equivalent course with a free textbook, what would you do?

The prices of college textbooks have skyrocketed: From 2011 to 2018, they went up by 40.6% in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. That can add up to as much as $1000 for a single semester. So it’s no surprise that freely available, openly licensed textbooks, lectures, simulations, problem sets, and more—known collectively as open educational resources (OERs)—are having a moment.

Last year, for the first time, more than half of US college faculty reported “some level of awareness” of OERs, finds Bay View Analytics, a company that conducts research at the intersection of technology and education….

Free, open textbooks have “taken off much faster than I expected,” says Baraniuk. He estimates that to date, students have saved nearly $2 billion by using OpenStax books instead of buying comparable traditional textbooks. And being free is not the only selling point for open textbooks and OERs more broadly: In the past few years, says Lauren Woolsey, who teaches physics and astronomy at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan, “the messaging has shifted to the role they can play for social justice and equity.” …”

The Long Shortlist of Finalists for the 2023 OEAwards – OEGlobal

“Now in its 13th year, the Open Education Awards for Excellence again provides recognition for the people, resources, and practices in Open Education through a community-driven process.

From an open call for nominations that opened in May, we collected 172 nominations across the 16 award categories, representing people and projects from 38 countries. Next, our review committee, which includes 20 former award winners combined with the input of the OEGlobal Board of Directors, gets us to the current stage. It’s time to meet the finalists for the 2023 OEAwards! …”

West Texas A&M says it won’t charge for textbooks next fall

“West Texas A&M University’s president made a splashy announcement late last week: effective next fall, his university would no longer charge students for “textbooks.”…

“I wrote an op-ed published on October 26, 2018, entitled Text-Book Free, Not Free Textbooks,” Wendler wrote. “I waited and prodded for campus responses for five years. In some areas, faculty worked diligently to help reduce the use of textbooks and have succeeded in varying degrees. During the ensuing five years, the world has changed remarkably as more information is available from web search engines and generative artificial intelligence (AI) programs, which make possible the development of teaching materials for every course we teach.” …

The [no-confidence] resolution also criticized Wendler’s “encouraging faculty to invest significant time” to create “open-access materials rather than developing or revising materials with traditional publishers.” …”

UofL Libraries Boost Student Success with Open Educational Resources | University of Louisville Libraries News

“University of Louisville Libraries play a vital role in promoting and supporting open educational resources (OER). The Affordable Learning and OER Committee focuses both on OER and using existing library eBooks and subscriptions as supplements or replacements for textbooks. For example, a faculty member uses this eBook available in University Libraries’ collection instead of expensive textbooks for Sociology Research Methods. The libraries’ membership in the State Assisted Academic Library Council of Kentucky (SAALCK) grants access to Pressbooks which allows faculty to write and adapt accessible eBooks. Course reserves, available for students as part of a class or online learning, allow faculty to request course materials be held for check-out at a service desk at one of our libraries. In October, UofL librarians will collaborate with the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning to offer a faculty workshop centered around OERs. More details to come.”

Vacancy:  Open Science and Education Communication and Engagement Leader. End of play: Sept 15, 2023 | SPARC Europe

As the SPARC Europe Communication and Engagement Leader, you will work closely with the SPARC Europe Director and with the Open Education Community Manager. You are responsible for effectively communicating and engaging on important Open Science and Open Education to a range of stakeholders to support our change efforts. 

You will do this by taking a targeted approach, strategizing and implementing that strategy in various communities, such as OA books, diamond OA, research data management, open infrastructure, open education and, of course, you will help disseminate the work of SPARC Europe and that of our partners to the relevant audience. 

Responsibilities and tasks 

Disseminating the work of SPARC Europe and its projects in a concise, creative, engaging and targeted way. 
Developing strategies to communicate and engage with our stakeholders effectively year on year. 
Developing and implementing knowledge-sharing activities such as community meetings, webinars, and other events, and using social media and other platforms to share news and good practice. 
Developing and implementing information campaigns to mobilise change or raise awareness. 
Progressing and supporting our networks to develop them into thriving communities of practice. 
Writing blog posts and newsletters as well as concise information materials. 
Conducting some stakeholder research 

Education, experience, knowledge, skills and ability 

A Bachelor degree or equivalent. 
At least 5-10 years communications / marketing experience serving the academic community. Experience with academic libraries is preferred. 
Excellent interpersonal communication skills, including strong writing, presentation, social media and meeting facilitation skills. 
Experience with advocating for Open Science and/or Open Education. 
Involvement in managing and growing networks or communities and in building trust in a changing environment. 
Ability to manage multiple projects at the same time, with a result-orientated focus. 
Driven yet empathetic, and flexible. 

In short, if you are interested in using your creativity with your strong communication skills and your passion for Open to support change on an international level for a more Open society, this position is for you. 

Remuneration and conditions of appointment 

We are offering a position of employment in an innovative sector for a respected Open policy and advocacy organisation. We are looking for support for 32-40 hours per week. You must be located in Europe. 

Initially it is a contract for one year with the prospect of an extension and a permanent contract. Salary depends on education and experience. We ask you to propose your expected net remuneration in your application. 

The post holder is required to work remotely 4-5 days a week between Monday to Friday, and may be expected to travel to certain meetings or conferences 2-3 times per year in Europe, although these will be limited. 

Further information and applications 

If you are interested in this position, then apply by sending your CV and please state why you are motivated to work with SPARC Europe and why you’re right for the position. How you communicate this motivation is up to you. 

Please send your application no later than Friday, 15 September 2023 to 

The first round of interviews will take place online in September 2023. 

For questions about the vacancy, please contact: Vanessa Proudman, Director, SPARC Europe,



UH Students Author Chinese Popular Culture Dictionary through Open Pedagogy Collaboration | University of Houston Libraries

“Dr. Melody Yunzi Li, assistant professor of Chinese in the University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, collaborated with the UH Libraries department of Open Education Services to create the first volume of a student-authored dictionary of Chinese popular culture terms.

Students in the spring 2023 Chinese Popular Culture course each defined three popular culture terms for their midterm assignments and were invited to contribute their work to this digital open educational resource (OER). This was the second successful collaboration with Dr. Li, following the development of another student-authored textbook for her Tales of East Asian Cities course last fall….”