Tuesday, September 5, 2017 News

SPARC Releases Report Highlighting the Impact of Open Educational Resources at Member Institutions

Open Education

For Immediate Release: September 5, 2017

Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202.538.1065, [email protected]

SPARC Releases Report Highlighting the Impact of Open Educational Resources at Member Institutions

Report Provides Insight on Campus Engagement with Open Educational Resources

Washington, D.C. – Today, SPARC released the first “Connect OER Annual Report, 2016-2017,” which shows that its member institutions in the U.S. and Canada are working to reduce the cost of textbooks, increase access to learning materials and support better student outcomes through open educational resources (OER)—freely available materials that can be used, adapted and shared to better serve all students.

“The biggest takeaway from the report is that SPARC member libraries are actively leading the way on OER for their campuses, and it’s having a positive impact on students,” said Brady Yano, Assistant Director of Open Education for SPARC and author of the report.

The report provides insights based on data collected through Connect OER, a pilot project to build a searchable directory maintained by academic libraries to share and discover information about OER activities across North America. This data provides a snapshot of the state of OER on 65 SPARC member campuses—spanning 31 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces—during the 2016-2017 academic year. The six key insights are:

  • Libraries are the most engaged entity on campus in efforts to advance OER.
  • Within libraries, the department most actively engaged in advancing OER is Scholarly Communications.
  • Mathematics and statistics is the academic subject with the most OER traction.
  • Nearly half of the participating institutions have a faculty or staff person with explicit OER responsibilities.
  • OER grant programs are the most common type of OER program reported.
  • SPARC member institutions saved students an estimated $5 million through the use of OER in the 2016-2017 academic year.

“The movement for open education has grown exponentially over the past ten years, yet so much of the activity is at the ground level and we often struggle to get a bird’s eye view,” said Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for SPARC. “Connect OER works through libraries as the heart of their institutions to collect information about these disparate efforts into one place, so that the community can better discover current trends, best practices, potential partners, and collective impact.”

During the pilot phase, Connect OER profiles were available only for SPARC member institutions. In early October, all higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada will have the opportunity to join the directory. To be notified when registration is available, academic libraries may sign up here.

“We are excited for the Connect OER directory to continue to grow and provide more valuable opportunities for connections and discovery,” said Yano. “In future years we will look back to today’s report as a baseline, to show just how much the movement has grown. Our hope is that the report will spark a conversation about trends and best practices and identify areas for future opportunity for SPARC members, the open education movement, and the higher education community at large.”

A link to the report is available here: https://sparcopen.org/our-work/connect-oer/reports/.


Connect OER is a platform to share and discover information about OER activities at campuses across North America. Through Connect OER, academic libraries create and manage profiles about their institution’s efforts on OER, producing valuable data that we use to populate a searchable directory and produce an annual report. Learn more at connect.sparcopen.org.

SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Learn more at sparcopen.org.

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