Dataset Open Access

Survey: Open Science in Higher Education

Heck, Tamara; Blümel, Ina; Heller, Lambert; Mazarakis, Athanasios; Peters, Isabella; Scherp, Ansgar; Weisel, Luzian

Open Science in (Higher) Education – data of the February 2017 survey

This data set contains:    

  • Full raw (anonymised) data set (completed responses) of Open Science in (Higher) Education February 2017 survey. Data are in xlsx and sav format.
  • Survey questionnaires with variables and settings (German original and English translation) in pdf. The English questionnaire was not used in the February 2017 survey, but only serves as translation.
  • Readme file (txt)

Survey structure

The survey includes 24 questions and its structure can be separated in five major themes:  material used in courses (5), OER awareness, usage and development (6), collaborative tools used in courses (2), assessment and participation options (5), demographics (4). The last two questions include an open text questions about general issues on the topics and singular open education experiences, and a request on forwarding the respondent’s e-mail address for further questionings. The online survey was created with Limesurvey[1]. Several questions include filters, i.e. these questions were only shown if a participants did choose a specific answer beforehand ([n/a] in Excel file, [.] In SPSS).  

Demographic questions

Demographic questions asked about the current position, the discipline, birth year and gender. The classification of research disciplines was adapted to general disciplines at German higher education institutions. As we wanted to have a broad classification, we summarised several disciplines and came up with the following list, including the option “other” for respondents who do not feel confident with the proposed classification:

  • Natural Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Computer Sciences, Engineering, Technics
  • Other

The current job position classification was also chosen according to common positions in Germany, including positions with a teaching responsibility at higher education institutions. Here, we also included the option “other” for respondents who do not feel confident with the proposed classification:

  • Professor
  • Special education teacher
  • Academic/scientific assistant or research fellow (research and teaching)
  • Academic staff (teaching)
  • Student assistant
  • Other

We chose to have a free text (numerical) for asking about a respondent’s year of birth because we did not want to pre-classify respondents’ age intervals. It leaves us options to have different analysis on answers and possible correlations to the respondents’ age. Asking about the country was left out as the survey was designed for academics in Germany.

Remark on OER question

Data from earlier surveys revealed that academics suffer confusion about the proper definition of OER[2]. Some seem to understand OER as free resources, or only refer to open source software (Allen & Seaman, 2016, p. 11). Allen and Seaman (2016) decided to give a broad explanation of OER, avoiding details to not tempt the participant to claim “aware”. Thus, there is a danger of having a bias when giving an explanation. We decided not to give an explanation, but keep this question simple. We assume that either someone knows about OER or not. If they had not heard of the term before, they do not probably use OER (at least not consciously) or create them.   

Data collection

The target group of the survey was academics at German institutions of higher education, mainly universities and universities of applied sciences. To reach them we sent the survey to diverse institutional-intern and extern mailing lists and via personal contacts. Included lists were discipline-based lists, lists deriving from higher education and higher education didactic communities as well as lists from open science and OER communities. Additionally, personal e-mails were sent to presidents and contact persons from those communities, and Twitter was used to spread the survey.

The survey was online from Feb 6th to March 3rd 2017, e-mails were mainly sent at the beginning and around mid-term.    

Data clearance

We got 360 responses, whereof Limesurvey counted 208 completes and 152 incompletes. Two responses were marked as incomplete, but after checking them turned out to be complete, and we added them to the complete responses dataset. Thus, this data set includes 210 complete responses.  From those 150 incomplete responses, 58 respondents did not answer 1st question, 40 respondents discontinued after 1st question. Data shows a constant decline in response answers, we did not detect any striking survey question with a high dropout rate. We deleted incomplete responses and they are not in this data set.

Due to data privacy reasons, we deleted seven variables automatically assigned by Limesurvey: submitdate, lastpage, startlanguage, startdate, datestamp, ipaddr, refurl. We also deleted answers to question No 24 (email address).


Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2016). Opening the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2015-16.


First results of the survey are presented in the poster:

Heck, Tamara, Blümel, Ina, Heller, Lambert, Mazarakis, Athanasios, Peters, Isabella, Scherp, Ansgar, & Weisel, Luzian. (2017). Survey: Open Science in Higher Education. Zenodo.


Open Science in (Higher) Education working group, see



[2] The survey question about the awareness of OER gave a broad explanation, avoiding details to not tempt the participant to claim “aware”.   

Files (428.0 kB)
Name Size
questions_answer sets_settings_oshe17.pdf md5:8986f50865127438cc210b04ce7c8ccc 115.1 kB Download
readme oshe17.txt md5:9eeec4460150ed1880089e19e6441c4b 5.3 kB Download
survey oshe17_complete ds_anonymised.sav md5:45e40e678de018c6294ddc779a6810c7 209.7 kB Download
survey oshe17_complete ds_anonymised.xlsx md5:fbdb4a6e35fd87f1b4fa5c4dfd4353e9 78.5 kB Download
variable list_oshe17.xlsx md5:99dbed5e5b7f5d9f9a7510bb387dca64 19.4 kB Download


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