OER Synthesis and Evaluation / Collections: Conclusions and Recommendations
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Collections: Conclusions and Recommendations

Page history last edited by isobel.falconer@... 10 years, 2 months ago

This page is a section of Phase2 Collections strand synthesis



General Recommendations

Our principal recommendation is that issues relating to copyright and licensing are more integrated within academic practice. This may be through:

  • Staff development
  • Study skills curriculum for students
  • Developing tools to easily allocate a CC license to digital materials

 Wider Community

Given the widespread popularity and use of ‘grey’ OERs it is recommended that a productive strategy to promote OERs is to encourage the organisations producing such materials to assign a CC license. Our experience indicates that the reason organisations do not apply CC licenses is because the issue simply has not been considered by those responsible for putting materials online.


Tackling the low awareness of copyright amongst academics (at all career levels) needs to be addressed and it is recommended that issues around licensing are embedded within the Post Graduate Certificate for Teaching in Higher Education. The topic should not be seen as a one of session on ‘copyright’ but integrated within themes of creating and using teaching resources.



  • If the quantity and quality of OERs is to be increased and if these resources are to be made easier for individuals and institutions to make available there is a real need for work on standards for representation and exchange of OERs. Whilst there is some guidance and advice at present it is quite general, and it seems not to have had much influence on the widespread release of OERs. 
  • Such work should result in the delivery of best-practice guidance and an OER standard. 
  • It will often be the case that work making provision for OER will fall to library staff. It would be helpful suitable training be given to such staff so that they understand the special needs of such provision. 
  • The UK academic community needs to find ways of rewarding those individuals and institutions who contribute open resources to the community.  At present many of our institutions would regard the effort spent in the origination and sharing of such resources more profitably channelled toward maximising REF scores. In the changing climate of increasing professionalisation of teaching in HE there must be an expectation that such activities will be required.

Other comments/suggestions not in the formal recommendations section 

  • Automatic collection would be easier if resources were provided in xml or other format (eg. rdf) intended for machine reading (MIT provides in xml) (Delores final report)
  • An easy first step would be to label all OERs explicitly as OERs (even if only in text)  (Delores final report)
  • More generally, a repository of spiderable URLs at which OERs may be found would be a very valuable resource. 



  • Professional bodies should be engaged in disseminating and promoting the FERC, e.g. Royal Geographical Society / Institution of British Geographers, Geological Society of London, Institution of Environmental Sciences.
  • Further development of the FERC should be guided by practitioner feedback, i.e. we recommend continued community consultation.
  • There should be a concerted effort to evaluate engagement with, and usage of, the FERC.



  • Aim for a small corpus of coherent material of the same content type that has been standardised across all data fields and has had some degree of subject peer review
  • Instigate a better peer reviewedand checked subject-specific OER catalogue at JORUM
  • Aim for more refined subject categories being added to the directories
  • Support opportunities for locally maintained directories of OER material - where could these sit in the institutional digital repository and what projects might instigate them?
  • A community-led approach to recommending material through a subject specific repository has many merits - e.g. HumBox
  • There are many easy integration points with material held on third- party services such as YouTube, Ted & Flickr, from a simple EMBED command to easy to use API's such as the Flickr Creative Commons search. The Triton project has had success with integrating some of these services and will offer further recommendations in the final report. Some work is being done in collaboration with CSAP Open Collections project on documenting these opportunities for others
  • A simple inexpensive solution may for work to be done by subject specialists to set up directories within these social web spaces - YouTube Playlists, Flickr Collections and for these lists to be surfaced alongside more formal repositories.
  • Work with providers such as YouTube and Apple iTunesU to improve their support for OER licences and cataloguing. Steps are being taken to joined a working group at Apple to look at two OER issues that are relevant from Triton -How to improve discoverability of OER within the Apple ecosystem and where in the process can tagging be best applied.
  • Copyright Licences are still presented in metadata sources in various formats and in different styles and these are difficult to parse and present when aggregating multiple sets of material. Much more clarity is needed and some clearer pages for UKOER content providers would help. It may also help to have more validators for checking metadata fields. (The Xpert project at Nottingham was acting as an unofficial UKOER feed validator.
  • Creating a WordPress-in-a-box install for other departments/universities.
  • Student.politicsinspires.org
  • Alumni.politicsinspires.org
  • JISC-led national debate on the problems with Aggregations.



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