Open Education in European libraries of higher education: initial survey results in

29th April 2020News, Open Education

In 2019 at the LIBER Conference in Dublin SPARC Europe announced plans for a survey that would explore how academic libraries are contributing to the open agenda, and the Open Education agenda in particular. Then in late 2019, SPARC Europe, in consultation with the European Network of Open Education Librarians (ENOEL), launched the planned survey, a first of its kind, designed to gather insights into the current Open Education (OE) landscape within Higher Education libraries. The ultimate goal was to increase OE support in HE institutions and their libraries in future. 

We are pleased to share the first results of the survey with you today. The final survey sample is based on the analysis of 146 responses from 29 European countries which have helped establish a picture of initial OE activity in Europe. Seven key areas were explored: the organisational context, the funding context, policy development, library leadership / engagement with OE, OE advocacy, related services and related challenges and benefits. 

The results will help inform libraries across Europe on how they can work together to strengthen OE and increase Open Educational Resources (OER) across the continent. This survey reveals how some libraries in Higher Education, by playing to their strengths, are beginning to take a leadership role in Open Education to support teachers and learners. 

Highlights of the OE survey results include:

  • Over 20 policies were reported although the trend indicates that OE in institutional policies are more likely to be part of larger overarching policies. A stronger institutional commitment to the value of OE is nevertheless still to be made
  • 50% of respondents take the lead in OE or OER in their institutions
  • Libraries steer their OE activities mainly from teaching and learning departments or from scholarly communications, which illustrates the link to Open Access / Scholarship or Science
  • The OE services most frequently provided by libraries include information literacy related to OE, advice on copyright, training and education and discovery services. Participatory design sees the least library engagement.
  • Libraries demonstrate strong collaborative competencies when managing and executing OE in their institutions also when it comes to resourcing skills from elsewhere to deliver on certain activities, even in frequently provided service areas.

SPARC Europe plans to survey libraries consistently over time to follow developments in this area and to follow how their engagement in facilitating access to OER, involvement in OE capacity-building and policy development can impact Open Education over time. We will furthermore explore how libraries are contributing to the implementation of the UNESCO OER Recommendation ratified in November 2019. 

We have published the first interim results of the survey in the 2020 Envisioning Report for Empowering Universities. Expect the full SPARC Europe report to be published in May 2020.

Access the Report.