Working paper Open Access

The Open Education policy registry: An open benchlearning tool

Havemann, Leo; Atenas, Javiera; Neumann, Jan

Open Education does not occur in a vacuum; ergo, policies aimed at fostering sustainable growth of Open Educational Practices (OEP) must acknowledge that such practices sit within a wider landscape of socioeconomic and educational ecosystems aiming to widespread efforts to democratise access to research and knowledge; however, the development of national and institutional-level OER & OEP policies appears to lag behind, therefore, the main objective of the OE policy registry is to become a hub for benchlearning, supporting institutions and communities of practice to develop OE policies that promote ethical developments of OE (Atenas et al, 2019). 

Much discussion of the need for open education policy has occurred at the supranational level. International OE declarations (e.g. Cape Town Declaration, 2007; Paris Declaration, 2012; UNESCO-Recommendation, 2019) have called for an OE ethos to be embedded within wider education policy, as it is understood as a key spur to democratise access to quality education. Nowadays, a series of international initiatives are attempting to stimulate action on educational and scientific openness, including guidelines to foster sustainable policies. In some cases, nations and subnational governments have taken up the challenge of incorporating policy to enable open resources and practices into education policymaking agendas. What is less clear, and less straightforward to investigate, is the extent to which individual institutions are developing policies to support openness. 

Our session at OER20, reported on the current state of OE policies internationally, based on the OE Policy Registry dataset. Through engagement with the data held in the Policy Registry it has been possible to collect and examine a wide range of policy documents and sketch some key features of the OE policy landscape. Further auditing of this dataset is needed, in order that the registry can be used effectively to support policy benchlearning by OE advocates, researchers and policymakers. 

This session presented the initial findings of a research project conducted using this dataset, and additionally, inputs gained during a series of workshops designed to support OE policy co-creation. We presented key features of the OE Policy Registry to support 

  1. OE advocates seeking to support and enhance practice through policy 

  2. Policymakers at institutional and governmental levels

  3. Researchers interested in OE policy

For these user groups, several different use-cases are addressed and presented:

  • Policymakers can showcase and find good practice policy exemplars, which they can adapt and reuse within their context.

  • OER advocates and advocacy networks can connect with each other, so that they can exchange experiences and cooperate in joint projects.

  • Researchers can collect data on policy activities in different educational sectors and geographical areas, gaining a deeper understanding of the functioning of OE ecosystems and develop strategies for mainstreaming.

Open Education Policy Working Papers #1 (April 2020)
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