Factors influencing Open Educational Practices and OER in the Global South: Meta-synthesis of the ROER4D project

Authors: Hodgkinson-Williams, C., Arinto, P. B., Cartmill, T. & King, T.

Abstract: This chapter provides a meta-synthesis of the findings from the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) empirical studies based on the 13 sub-project chapters in this volume as well as other sub-project research reports. It does so by analysing how three phases of Open Educational Resources (OER) adoption – OER creation, use and adaptation – are observed in the studies as forms of Open Educational Practices (OEP), identifying where there are most likely to be disjunctures that inhibit optimal OER adoption processes and their longer-term sustainability. It compares the open practices reported in the ROER4D sub-project studies to an idealised or maximal set of open processes, modelled as the Open Education cycle framework. It draws upon social realist theory to uncover agential decision-making about OER creation, use and adaptation in relation to structural and cultural environments, and seeks to answer the ROER4D project’s overarching research question: Whether, how, for whom and under what circumstances can engagement with OEP and OER provide equitable access to relevant, high-quality, affordable and sustainable education in the Global South?

This chapter interrogates findings from the ROER4D empirical studies using a metasynthesis approach. Following a review of sub-project research reports (including, in some cases, primary micro data), the authors used a literature-informed set of themes to create the meta-level conceptual framework for claims about OER and OEP in relation to access, quality and affordability; the Open Education cycle; and structural, cultural and agential influences on the potential impact on access, quality and affordability.

Nvivo software was used to help reveal literature-informed and emergent themes in the studies, identifying the most frequently occurring themes to provide a more comprehensive and classified interpretation of the findings across the empirical studies. Insights and recommendations were then distilled according to Archer’s (2003; 2014) social realist theoretical framework which assesses social change – and its counterpart, stasis – according to dynamically interactive and structural, cultural and agential factors. The authors used these three factors to guide their analysis of the ROER4D findings, as understood in relation to the three broad phases of OER adoption (creation, use and adaptation) proposed in the Open Education cycle.

Findings show that in the Global South contexts studied, the ideal or maximal Open Education cycle is incomplete in terms of optimising the benefits of OER adoption. There are five key points of disjuncture: (1) the dependence on copying of existing OER and the corollary failure to localise; (2) the adaptation of OER, but with inconsistent curation and rehosting of derivative works on publicly available platforms or in repositories, limiting access to the derivative OER; (3) limited circulation of derivative OER due, in part, to the absence of a communication strategy; (4) inconsistent quality assurance processes; and (5) a weak feedback loop for continuous improvement of the original or derivative work.

The chapter concludes with a critical exploration of the range of influences of OER and associated practices on access to educational materials, the quality of educational resources, educators’ pedagogical perspectives and practices, and student performance as well as the overall affordability and sustainability of education in the Global South. It argues that full participation in the OER movement in the Global South requires that certain structural factors be put in place – including a minimum level of infrastructural support, legal permission to share materials and OER curation platforms – to curate curriculum-aligned OER in local languages. However, these structural adjustments alone are insufficient for the full value proposition of OER to be realised. While individual educators and some institutions are sharing OER, this willingness needs to be bolstered by a much stronger cultural change where communities of educators and students are given technical and pedagogical support to enable OER uptake – especially the creation and adaptation of OER produced in the Global South.

Citation: Hodgkinson-Williams, C., Arinto, P. B., Cartmill, T. & King, T. (2017). Factors influencing Open Educational Practices and OER in the Global South: Meta-synthesis of the ROER4D project. In C. Hodgkinson-Williams & P. B. Arinto (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South (pp. 27–67). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1037088


Shadow Libraries

Editor: Joe Karaganis

Authors: Balázs Bodó, Laura Czerniewicz, Miroslaw Filiciak, Mariana Fossatti, Jorge Gemetto, Eve Gray, Evelin Heidel, Joe Karaganis, Lawrence Liang, Pedro Mizukami, Jhessica Reia, Alek Tarkowski

Abstract: Even as middle- and low-income countries expand their higher education systems, their governments are retreating from responsibility for funding and managing this expansion. The public provision of educational materials in these contexts is rare; instead, libraries, faculty, and students are on their own to get what they need. Shadow Libraries explores the new ecosystem of access, charting the flow of educational and research materials from authors to publishers to libraries to students, and from comparatively rich universities to poorer ones. In countries from Russia to Brazil, the weakness of formal models of access was countered by the growth of informal ones. By the early 2000s, the principal form of access to materials was informal copying and sharing. Since then, such unauthorized archives as Libgen, Gigapedia, and Sci-Hub have become global “shadow libraries,” with massive aggregations of downloadable scholarly materials.

The chapters consider experiments with access in a range of middle- and low-income countries, describing, among other things, the Russian samizdat tradition and the connection of illicit copying to resistance to oppression; BiblioFyL, an online archive built by students at the University of Buenos Aires; education policy and the daily practices of students in post-Apartheid South Africa; the politics of access in India; and copy culture in Brazil.

Citation: Karaganis, J (Ed.). (2018). Shadow Libraries. Access to Knowledge in Higher Education. Boston, MA: MIT Press.

Source: MIT Press

OER and OEP in the Global South: Implications and recommendations for social inclusion

Authors: Arinto, P. B., Hodgkinson-Williams, C. & Trotter, H.

Abstract: The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project was undertaken to provide a better understanding of the uptake of Open Educational Resources (OER) and their impact on education in the Global South. The 18 sub-projects that comprise the larger project investigated the extent of OER adoption by educators and students; the factors influencing OER adoption; and the impact of OER adoption on access to educational resources, the quality of teaching and learning, and some of the costs of education provision in 21 countries in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

The findings of each of the sub-projects are discussed in the various chapters comprising this volume, and a meta-synthesis of these findings is presented in Chapter 2. Using a social realist lens, the meta-synthesis provides a comparative analysis of OER use, adaptation and creation across the research sites, and identifies the structural, cultural and agential factors that enable and constrain these Open Educational Practices (OEP). It points out disjunctures in adoption processes in the countries and institutions studied, and draws insights regarding the extent to which OER adoption can expand access to educational materials, enhance the quality of educational resources and educators’ pedagogical perspectives and practices, and improve the affordability and sustainability of education in the Global South.

This concluding chapter explores the implications of the main research findings presented in the meta-synthesis for the attainment of social inclusion, which lies at the heart of the Open Education movement. The Paris OER Declaration of 2012 explicitly calls upon states to “[p]romote and use OER to … contribut[e] to social inclusion, gender equity and special needs education [and i]mprove both cost-efficiency and quality of teaching and learning outcomes” (emphasis added). The Ljubljana OER Action Plan of 2017 likewise recognises that, “[t]oward the realization of inclusive Knowledge Societies … [OER] support quality education that is equitable, inclusive, open and participatory”. Understanding how OER, OEP and Open Education more generally, can help to achieve social inclusion is particularly critical in the Global South where increased demand, lack of resources and high costs limit the capacity of education systems to provide accessible, relevant, highquality and affordable education. This chapter aims to contribute to this understanding the potential of OER and their accompanying OEP through a critical exploration of the ROER4D findings in terms of whether and how OER adoption promotes equitable access, participatory education and empowerment of teachers and students, and thus helps to achieve social inclusion. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the relationship between OER and social inclusion, details the implications of ROER4D’s findings as they pertain to social inclusion, and concludes with recommendations for advocacy, policy, practice and further research in OER and OEP in the Global South.

Citation: Arinto, P. B., Hodgkinson-Williams, C. & Trotter, H. (2017). OER and OEP in the Global South: Implications and recommendations for social inclusion. In C. Hodgkinson-Williams & P. B. Arinto (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South (pp. 577–592). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1043829


Open Access and Global Inclusion: A Look at Cuba

Authors: Jardine, E.,  Garvey, M., & Cho, J. S.

Abstract: According to the open access (OA) movement’s formal statements, global equity and inclusion are among its central concerns. Still in question, however, is whether the scholarly community can make these goals a reality. Though many stakeholders agree on the importance of equity and inclusion as philosophical principles of OA, there also is some disagreement about current approaches to achieve these goals.

This paper aims to summarize some of the current issues surrounding OA, focusing on global north-south differences. This discussion was inspired by our 2016 trip to Havana, Cuba, where we observed such differences first-hand. Even though the situation in Cuba is unique due to the US embargo, the contexts and circumstances we observed there were an extreme case that illustrated information needs and challenges in developing regions more broadly. Some of these challenges are relevant to scholarly communications and within the purview of the OA movement. With OA in the development stages, we’re still in a period of opportunity where we can make choices for better outcomes for everyone.

We start this paper by presenting our observations about OA in Cuba. Then we discuss the larger context of OA in developing regions, including differing perspectives, technological challenges, and issues around scholarly communications. We end by summarizing our observations and recommendations for a more inclusive OA movement

Citation: Jardine, E.,  Garvey, M., & Cho, J. S. (2017). Open access and global inclusion: A look at Cuba [conference paper]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/2017/OpenAccessandGlobalInclusion.pdf


A Tale of Two Globes: Exploring the North/South Divide in Engagement with Open Educational Resources

Authors: Beatriz de los Arcos, Martin Weller

Abstract: In this chapter we consider what evidence exists of a divide between the Global North and Global South in terms of engagement with open educational resources (OER), understanding engagement as the production and sharing of educational materials online. We discuss whether identifying educators as contributors or consumers of OER can be empirically grounded, and advocate advancing internet access in developing countries to reach a global balance where sharing is key.

Citation: de los Arcos, Beatriz and Weller, Martin (2018). A Tale of Two Globes: Exploring the North/South Divide in Engagement with Open Educational Resources. In: Schöpfel, Joachim and Herb, Ulrich eds. Open Divide: Critical Studies on Open Access. Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books, pp. 147–155.


Source: Open Research Online

Predatory publishing from a global south perspective

Author: Reggie Raju

Abstract: The unilateral determination of a definition of predatory publishing, by Jeffrey Beall, has sent the research publishing world into a tizz. Even though Beall has withdrawn his list, unfortunately in the current technological age this list is not cleared from the web archive nor is there a prevention of the rehashing of the list by someone else. Nor, has there been subsequently an adequate reconceptualization of predatory publishing to ensure that it is not discriminatory to open access or the global south.

Writing as a Fellow of the LPC from the global south, I feel a sense of obligation to follow the call that African academics and intellectuals (not that I am either), on the continent and in the diaspora, play a role in countering the prejudice and misinformation about Africa. Be that as it may, I think there are significant lessons for both the global south and north by interrogating the concept of predatory publishing. The recently published article by Olivarez and others (2018) highlight the need for interventions to remedy the insensitive generalization of predatory publishing.

Citation: Raju, Reggie (2018). ““Predatory publishing from a global south perspective.” Fellows Journal, LPC Blog. https://librarypublishing.org/predatory-publishing-global-south-perspective/


Source: librarypublishing.org

East African Social Sciences and Humanities Publishing: A Handmade Bibliometrics Approach

Author: Nora Schmidt

Abstract: For Eastern Africa, very little information about the SSH knowledge production can be found from a European perspective. Adequate indicators like information-rich bibliographic databases that cover journals and book publishers based in East Africa are lacking. This research in progress explores their indexing situation in detail, their development, which is closely connected to political history, their (non-)usage, and affiliations as well as career-stages of their authors. Furthermore, it also pays attention to SSH researchers based in East Africa who use other publication venues. Any bibliometric analysis in this field needs to rely on manual data collection, otherwise it would be heavily biased. This study lays out the foundation for citation analyses, qualitative research on the publications’ content and the self-description of East African scholars against the background of an academic environment that is often described as “international”.

Citation: Schmidt, Nora. (2016, October). East African Social Sciences and Humanities Publishing: A Handmade Bibliometrics Approach. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.162217