Open Educational Resources, or OERs, include full works like textbooks, as well as smaller units of content that can be repurposed as needed for the learning goals of a course. These are key resources for new approaches to course design and delivery, particularly but not limited to, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS). The creation and discovery of OERs has been forwarded by initiatives involving librarians, computing experts, instructional designers, and faculty. They are enabled by Creative Commons licenses. Here are a few notable examples of technology platforms that make it easier to create OERs, initiatives to support that creation, and discovery services specifically for OERs:
- Rice University’s Connexions provides a platform including a content management system, an XML structure, and content on which to build, which they call “modules” and “collections”. Connexions provides tools for writing and assembling content, and content on which to build, licensed for that purpose.
- Lumen Learning, founded by David Wiley, BYU Business School, offers support for faculty to work with and develop OER content, and provides consulting services for institutions to help plan for incorporating OERs. David Wiley explains why in his TED talk: http://www.youtube.com/embed/Rb0syrgsH6M
- The Open Education Initiative at UMass Amherst, started in 2011, provides funding for competitive grants to faculty to develop content. Faculty can use a variety of platforms to develop content, but first learn about resources for finding existing content, and about licensing to make the material reusable.
- Open Textbook publishing at Oregon State University involves the Library, the OSU Press, and the OSU Extended Campus Open Education Resources Unit, and provides funding for competitive grants to faculty to create open textbooks. See OSU Request for proposals for details on the program.
- The Open Textbook Library is the result of a new project at the University of Minnesota focused on enhancing discoverability and peer review of OERs, including open textbooks. David Ernst, University of Minnesota Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Resources, and Executive Director of the Open Academics Textbook Initiative discusses this in his TEDx talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA9Tv-OvoZU
- Flat World Knowledge includes a catalog of resources, and an online editor so faculty can customize materials; it still offers affordable options but no longer completely free access.
For more catalogs, lists and platforms for OERs, see the guide from UMass: OER For Educators
Questions to ponder:
- Should librarians select these kinds of resources for inclusion in our key discovery tools, such as the Catalog and Summon? If so, which ones?
- What is the value to academic institutions in supporting the development of OERs financially and/or with staff support?
Image: Global OER Logo from UNESCO
You may notice this CrossMark symbol on the PDF of a recent journal article you have downloaded. The icon is linked to information about this journal article, and keeps you updated with any changes even though you have downloaded the PDF to your own computer, as long as you are connected to the internet. You may also see it on the HTML of an article. The CrossMark icon link will most likely tell you that the version of the journal article you are viewing is current, but it will also warn you if there have been updates to the article, then link to those updates.
Updates could include corrections, changes in a data set, or retractions.
The DOI (digital object identifier) registration service CrossRef has developed the CrossMark service for use by publishers who use CrossRef DOIs. See CrossMark examples implemented by a variety of publishers. .
Several tools for discovering journal articles, such as Web of Science, IEEE Xplore, PubMed, and ScienceDirect, now have ways for you to limit a search to open access articles or to identify the open access articles within the result set of your search. Open access articles are free to read regardless of the reader’s access to the published articles via institutional subscriptions.
Due to the importance of being able to identify open access articles and to know what kinds of uses of these are permitted, NISO is sponsoring a working group of stakeholders to develop “Recommended Practices for Open Access Metadata and Indicators“. The adoption of standard metadata will enable transfer of that data among information providers and publishers, and potentially further enhance discovery of this information, including for example in web scale discovery services like Summon.
Meanwhile, you can use the following tools to locate open access articles; look for similar options in other search tools:
In the new Web of Science platform, run your search, display results, and find the open access option at the end of the “Refine Results” list of options. This will show you the number of articles in your result that are OA; then apply “refine” to limit your set to these.
IEEE XPlore offers the option at the search page:
PubMed offers a filter for “free full text”.
ScienceDirect provides browsing of journals by “open access” for completely open journals or “contains open access” for those where some article are open access, as well as a refinement on your search to open access articles.
Summon 2.0 is not just a new look for a user interface to search for vast amounts of scholarly content. It provides new functions and content now, with more to come as it develops over the next few months. It’s available to preview now so have a look! Summon Preview
Highlights of the new look and features that you’ll see in Preview:
- 3 columns so additional information does not cover the existing information
- Research guides, subject specialist librarians and topic overviews display in the third column to provide additional sources of information on the topic
- Overviews of topics, currently from three sources with more to come: Credo Reference, Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia
- Facets are selected by links instead of check boxes
- Results are grouped in “roll-ups” by content type such as images and newspaper articles
- Results are grouped into broad disciplines
- Additional suggested search terms are provided through use of controlled vocabularies from a variety of sources, including some index and abstract services
The Summon Preview for Dartmouth URL is:
BrowZine brings the experience of browsing current journal shelves- enjoying the cover art, scanning the table of contents, and reading the full text- to your iPad. This new app from Third Iron allows you to build your own journal browsing shelf from your choice of open access and subscription based journals from a large range of scholarly and scientific publishers. You can set up current awareness notification, and save and download articles to Zotero, Mendeley, Dropbox and other services.
There is a free version of the App that you can use for open access materials, and for a fee, an institution can set up your BrowZine experience to include the journals to which your institution subscribes. Stay tuned for a Dartmouth trial of BrowZine!
ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a not-for-profit, open source, global collaborative initiative to provide unique identification for researchers to make retrieval of papers by authors or cited authors more accurate and efficient. ORCID was formed to “support the creation of a permanent, clear and unambiguous record of research and scholarly communication by enabling reliable attribution of authors and contributors. ”
ORCID solves these problems:
- Author name confusion in searching for authored and cited works; distinguish among authors with the same names
- Attribution errors
- Citation metric errors
- Lack of persistent identification when people move to other departments or institutions
- Having to input your publications information multiple times for different purposes, such as grants and annual reports
To take advantage of the opportunities provided by ORCID, register for an ID and fill in the required information. If you already have a Scopus Author ID/Profile, all the information about your publications from that profile can be imported directly into ORCID. If you have a ResearcherID profile, you can add your ORCID identification number to that profile. You can use your ORCID identification number where you need to list your publications, such as your web pages, grant applications and annual reports.