Open Resources: The Need for Integration

Thursday, October 20 | 9:00AM–9:50AM | Meeting Room 114
Session Type: E11
Over the past 10 years or so there has been a growing, and inexorable, movement toward making scholarly and academic resources openly available. Within IT this first appeared in open-source software and the developments, mostly within higher education, of open standards as a basis for interoperability, with the Internet being the most far-reaching example of this trend. Openness has been a powerful driver for beneficial business and societal improvements.

More recently the open access to research outputs in the form of journal articles (based on the principle that the outputs of publicly funded research should be publicly available) has been very successful, although finding sustainable business models remains a challenge. Open research data is a more recent development with rather more complex economic, ethical, and technical issues. And open science/research processes are attracting considerable support. More recently still, open educational resources (OER ), or open course ware, are becoming widely available across the world.

Increasingly society is expecting content to be freely available, and universities and colleges are doing a great deal to meet that demand in the education space. These different open movements are mostly well coordinated internationally, particularly at the subject level. This talk will argue that these movements need to join up to provide a more complete, higher-level educational experience. OER should link more closely to full-text open-access articles and, where useful, to research data. OER should be better placed in a pedagogical context; there should be a bigger push for open text books. The benefits would be to advance public understanding of science and the arts, promote research-led teaching, reduce costs to students and institutions, support business development, encourage wider access to further and higher education, recognize (and ideally reward) individual teachers and researchers and their colleges or universities, and improve the educational and research standing of the nation.

Properly organized open resources can underpin online learning for both private and public education and "leisure" learning. It is a fundamental infrastructure for learning and teaching and should be supported as such by funders and policymakers in the education, research, and culture domains.


  • Malcolm Read

    JISC Executive Secretary, JISC

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