OER Foundation joins the Open Policy Network

Posted by Wayne Mackintosh on 20 May 2014

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The OER Foundation joins forces with the Open Policy Network to foster the adoption and implementation of open policy. Ensuring open access to publicly funded resources is well aligned with the mission of the OER Foundation and is a significant lever for building a sustainable and scalable OER ecosystem.

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Open Policy Network

OPN logo

The Open Policy Network, or OPN for short, is a coalition of organisations and individuals working to support the creation, adoption, and implementation of policies that require that publicly funded resources are openly licensed resources. The website of the Open Policy Network is: http://openpolicynetwork.org.

Increasingly, governments around the world are sharing huge amounts of publicly funded research, data, and educational materials. The key question is, do the policies governing the procurement and distribution of publicly funded materials ensure the maximum benefits to the citizens those policies are meant to serve? When open licenses are required for publicly funded resources, there is the potential to massively increase access to and re-use of a wide range of materials, from educational content like digital textbooks -- to the results of scholarly research -- to troves of valuable public sector data.

"New Zealand is establishing a leadership role in open policy as evidenced by the Declaration on Open and Transparent Government and the New Zealand Government Open Access Licensing (NZGOAL) framework approved by Cabinet on 5 July 2010" said Wayne Mackintosh, Director of the OER Foundation and UNESCO, COL and ICDE Chair in OER. "Encouraged by NZGOAL, I am inspired by the growing number of New Zealand schools who are adopting Creative Commons licensing policies, however uptake in the post secondary sector is disappointing."  

There is a pressing need for education, advocacy, and action to see a positive shift in supporting open licensing for publicly-funded materials. The Open Policy Network will share information amongst its members, recruit new advocates, and engage with policymakers worldwide. The OPN members are diverse in content area expertise and geographic location.

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The OER Foundation, headquartered at OERu partner, Otago Polytechnic and one of the first tertiary education institutions in the world to adopt a default Creative Commons Attribution intellectual property policy, will share our experiences in helping education institutions achieve their strategic objectives using open education approaches.  The OERu, a flagship initiative of the OER Foundation, will offer free courses to build capability in open content licensing and other dimensions of openness in education including open policy and open scholarship with pathways to achieve formal academic credit. 

With the launch of the Open Policy Network, the coalition has announced their first project, the Institute for Open Leadership. Through a weeklong summit with experts, accepted fellows will get hands-on guidance to develop a capstone project for implementation in their organization or institution. The Institute for Open Leadership will help train new leaders in education, science, and public policy fields on the values and implementation of openness in licensing, policies, and practices.

The Open Policy Network is free to join and anyone is welcomed as long as s/he agrees to contribute and abide by the mission and guiding principles. More information on the Open Policy Network is available at the website, Google Group, Twitter, and Facebook.