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OER: Open Educational Resources

OER Research

Open Up image of book

(Image by OpenSourceWay.)

Given the recent interest in open educational resources, the research landscape in this field is constantly changing. We've compiled a selective list of articles covering a variety of OER-related topics, most of which are accessible online. 

Perception and Awareness

Frederick, J. K. (2021, January 4). "Not much has (Yet) changed." Ithaka S+R.

"..For those whose research was unrelated to the pandemic, emergency open access services from providers like HathiTrust also facilitated greater teaching and research continuity while physical libraries remained closed. In this changed landscape, have library leader perspectives on the value of investments in open access shifted? In this post, I explore the answer to this question..."

Spilovoy, T., Seaman, J., & Ralph, N. (2020). The Impact of OER Initiatives on Faculty Selection of Classroom Materials. WCET and Bay View Analytics.

"The adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) is on the rise, driven in part by increasing awareness of OER. But while faculty and institutions have shown increasing awareness and acceptance of OER, many remain unfamiliar with what they are, or how to utilize them..."

Allen, E. I., and Seaman, J. (2016) "Opening The Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2015-2016." Babson Survey Research Group.

"Most higher education faculty are unaware of open educational resources (OER) – but they are interested and some are willing to give it a try.  Survey results, using responses of over 3,000 U.S. faculty, show that OER is not a driving force in the selection of materials – with the most significant barrier being the effort required to find and evaluate such materials.  Use of open resources is low overall, but somewhat higher for large enrollment introductory-level courses." - Executive Summary


Armellini, Alejandro, and Ming Nie. "Open Educational Practices For Curriculum Enhancement." Open Learning 28.1 (2013): 7-20.  Academic Search Premier. Web.

Reports on open educational practices (OEP) and the adoption and adaptation of OER in UK universities. Suggests ways institutions can support the use and creation of OER, with the goal of making OER adoption more sustainable and widespread.

Bliss, T.J., John Hilton III, David Wiley, and Kim Thanos. "The Cost and Quality of Online Open Textbooks: Perceptions of Community College Faculty and Students." First Monday, 18.1 (2013): n. pag. Web.

Studied satisfaction rates and perceptions of OER in a community college population. Generally, the open textbooks used in this study were well received, but issues with technology or flawed OER texts result in negative perceptions by students.

Feldstein, Andrew, Mirta Martin, Amy Hudson, Kiara Warren, John Hilton III, and David Wiley. "Open Textbooks And Increased Student Access And Outcomes." European Journal Of Open, Distance And E-Learning 2 (2012): ERIC. Web.

Core business courses at Virginia State University replaced traditional textbooks with OER content, resulting in more students accessing the textbook (compared to sales of hard copies) and higher grades. Students surveyed reported very high satisfaction with OER materials.

Fischer, Lane. John Hilton III, T. Jared Robinson, and David Wiley. "A Multi-Institutional Study of the Impact of Open Textbook Adoption on the Learning Outcomes of Post-Secondary Students." Journal of Computing in Higher Education 27.3 (December 2015): 159-172. Web.

Research study across multiple institutions on the efficacy of OER materials in undergraduate classes. Students assigned to OER materials had more favorable outcomes in several areas including course completion rates, course grades, and enrollment in future courses.

Pawlyshyn, Nancy, Dr. Braddlee, Linda Casper, and Howard Miller. "Adopting OER: A Case Study of Cross-Institutional Collaboration and Innovation." Educause Review. Educause (4 Nov. 2013): n. pag. Web.

Implementing OER in an underperforming first-year seminar at Mercy College (NY)  boosts student retention and learning. Faculty collaboration, excitement, and innovation are credited with a successful and quick implementation. Instructional design, assessment, implementation issues, and recommendations are discussed.

Cost savings

Hilton III, John, Donna Gaudet, Phil Clark, Jared Robinson, and David Wiley. "The Adoption of Open Educational Resources by One Community College Math Department." The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning [Online], 14.4 (2013): n. pag. Web.

Community college students and faculty react favorably to the use of OER texts in five different math classes. OER adoption is credited with significant cost savings for students. Student success and completion rates were relatively unchanged; authors suggest further research is needed to determine impact of OER on student learning.

Hilton III, John, and Carol Laman. "One College’s Use Of An Open Psychology Textbook." Open Learning 27.3 (2012): 265-272. Academic Search Premier. Web.

Students using OER outperformed peers using traditional course materials in an introductory psychology class at Houston Community College. Thorough discussion of cost savings for community college students when OER materials are adopted.

Hilton III, John, T. Jared Robinson, David Wiley, and J. Dale Ackerman. "Cost-Savings Achieved in Two Semesters Through the Adoption of Open Educational Resources." The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 15.2 (2014). Web.

Students enjoyed significant savings in eight colleges where OER materials were used. Study data and comparisons to traditional textbook prices are examined.

Creation and Publication

Sutton, Shan C., and Faye A. Chadwell. "Open Textbooks At Oregon State University: A Case Study Of New Opportunities For Academic Libraries And University Presses." Journal Of Librarianship & Scholarly Communication 4.4 (2014): 34-48. Academic Search Premier. Web.

A joint undertaking in open textbook authorship and publishing between Oregon State University Libraries and OSU’s Extended Campus (eCampus). Article highlights issues of libraries as content creators/managers, the role of the OSU Press, adoption of OER materials, and next steps for the project moving forward. Authors recommend inter-institutional collaboration in creating OER texts to avoid duplication of effort and to reach the most users.

Case Studies, Reports, Interviews

OER Links