by Jan Neumann, Leo Havemann, Javiera Atenas, and Fabio Nascimbeni
The story so far and who we are
Policymaking related to Open Education (OE) has been discussed intensively by a small community of experts during recent years. While it has perhaps been less interesting to the wider group of OE practitioners, a long-standing and important strand of OE work has focused on advocacy for the development of supportive and enabling strategies, policies and infrastructures. Broadly speaking, OE policymaking refers to (top-down) activities of governments and institutions which aim towards mainstreaming open educational practices, often with a particular focus on the facilitation of creation, adaptation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER). Keeping in mind that organic growth and bottom-up development have been characteristic elements of most variants of OE, it should be clear that implementing change from top-down is not an easy thing to do, and always carries the risk of cultural clashes. Nevertheless, policymaking is widely considered to play an important role if OE is to grow sustainably, as it should ensure provision of resources and shape the regulatory framework to support OE mainstreaming.