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Staff considerations for OER-friendly policy

Key policy questions include:

  • Is the development of works such as learning resources, research outputs and reports stated in staff employment contracts?
  • What training and support are available to staff in the development of these works? Is the use/development of OER encouraged in this process?
  • Who owns the copyright in the works produced by staff?
  • Under what conditions can the works created by staff be shared with others?

Illustrative case studies:

  • Staff: what rights do I have to the works I create?
  • Staff: prescribing texts – an ethical challenge

Related toolkits:

Illustrative resources/sample templates:

This case raises interesting questions for institutions wishing to make more systematic use of OER.

Some of these questions could be:

  1. Who is listed as the author for citation purposes – the lead academic, the development team, the institution…?
  2. What rights do staff (or students) have in terms of the works they create?
  3. Is the development of learning resources part of the job description and time allocation of staff?
  4. How are learning resources selected for development, developed and then approved for use in the institution and subsequently for release into the OER community?
  5. Where and how are draft and final versions of learning resources, and their constituent elements, stored?

This case study, based on actual experience, raises a number of questions that a robust policy framework
should help to address.

The following questions occurred to us, but you may be able to think of others:

  1. Is the development of learning resources of any kind part of the formal job description of staff?
    • If yes, what rights should staff have over the adaptation and use of these resources for other contexts, including commercial publishing?
    • If no, how is the curriculum mediated and how do staff ensure equivalence of provision for growing numbers of students?
  2. How are prescribed resources that students need to buy separately from the payment of their study fees, approved? What is an appropriate process for selecting prescribed texts that students must purchase?
  3. What could be considered the minimum requirements for a distance learning study package?
  4. To what extent should we expect shared resources to be adapted for use in different contexts and programmes?