OER are not sustainable

Discussing sustainability of OER is a rather complex issue and depends on many factors. It is very strongly linked to the business approach and can be guaranteed by choosing (adequate) business models that generate revenue. The sustainability becomes a priority when there is a critical mass of OER initiatives. As OER are not „cost free” their production may entail a large scale investment. Currently, the majority of OER development is undertaken on a project basis, and often with donor support and when the funding ends, further development of OER is suspended. Within EU funding procedures, institutions are expected to sustain project results up to 3 or 5 years (depending on the type of a programme) after projects’ funding. However, this approach is not enough as it does not guarantee the exploitation of resources by users. Integration into policies and procedure – as well as the regular budgets – of an organisation is a key aspect in making OER sustainable. Supporting actions should include modifications to institutional policies and processes, with the aim of making open resources release an expected part of the educational resources creation cycle. The aim of OER directed initiatives should be focused on production of OER and then caring for existing OER but also embedding processes and transforming practices to support ongoing OER production and release (JISC OER InfoKit, 2014).

Want to know more?

J. Johansen and D. Wiley, 2010, A Sustainable Model for OpenCourseWare Development, Educational Technology Research and Development, May 2010,

On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education, David Wiley, OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI)

Strategies for Sustainable Business Models for Open Educational Resources, F.H.T de Langen Open University,The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning Vol 15, No 3 (2014)

JISC OER InfoKit – Sustainability, 2014,

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