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OER Toolkit

Policy Quick Start Tips

As a starting point to your policy-related work, get to know whether there are existing university policies and guidelines in the areas below. When appropriate, consult with relevant stakeholders on these issues.

  • Intellectual property policies and employment contractsThese address how creative works created by staff within the scope of employment may be shared with or used by others. Check your college's policies on copyright - opens in a new window and intellectual property. Collective agreements or employment contracts can also affect copyright ownership. Contact your university library if you need more information, since they may be able to direct you to relevant policies and contacts.
  • Human resource policy guidelinesThese outline whether or not the creation of certain kinds of work (e.g., learning resources) constitutes part of the job description for staff, and what the implications are for remuneration and promotion purposes.
  • ICT policy guidelinesThese address access to and use of appropriate technology and technical support, as well as provision for version control and the storage systems for the institution’s educational resources.
  • Materials development and quality assurance policy guidelines These address guidelines on the selection, quality assurance, and copyright clearance of works that may be shared. This category also encompasses library collection development policies, and whether those policies explicitly support OER as part of collection building.


Text is a derivative of content within A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources, by Commonwealth of Learning, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

It is also helpful to get familiar with external, public policies, which you can draw on to convey the timeliness of OER conversations at your university. For example, UNESCO’s Education 2030 Framework for Action calls for OER to be an integral part of universal goals for equal access to affordable, high-quality education.
Initiate conversations with faculty, library staff, students and other key stakeholders. Get to know their needs, and build shared understanding around the problem that OER can solve for them. For students, this might be textbook costs; for faculty, it might be lack of accessible, relevant content.
Equipped with knowledge of existing policies and policy gaps, consult with administration in exploring opportunities for developing policies and resources that would allow OER to address your stakeholders' needs. For example, for library staff, there may be a lack of policy or guidelines for incorporating OER into their curation workflows. Faculty, on the other hand, may need policy-level support in the form of training, time and funding for OER adoption and use.

Developing OER Policy

OER Policy Development Tool

The OER Policy Development Tool will help you shape campus policy in favour of OER. The tool addresses the following topics, as part of building OER policy:

  • OER Purpose
  • OER Policy Statement
  • Licensing OER
  • OER Procedures and Responsibilities
  • OER Training and Professional Development
  • OER Technical Format
  • OER Quality Assurance


Reasons Why Policy Matters

  • Having an OER policy in place signifies support from leadership, and creates a safe environment for faculty and library staff to explore the potential of OER.
  • OER policies that incorporate financial and non-financial incentives can help colleges nurture the creation and use of OER, toward OER sustainability.
  • In Canada, provincial-level OER policies have served to promote subsequent policy initiatives such as eCampusOntario’s Open Content Development Fund.



Text is a derivative of content within OER Policy Development Tool by Lumen Learning, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

List of 4 Policy Examples

  • 2016-2018 Open Content Development FundeCampusOntario’s open-content development fund has sought to support Ontario’s post-secondary institutions in providing access to open educational resources.
  • Alberta: Open Educational ResourcesThis policy was adopted to allow Alberta’s post-secondary institutions to apply for funding to support OER development and use.
  • BCcampus Open Textbook ProjectThrough this policy, British Columbia's provincial government provided $2 million in funding for the creation of 40 open textbooks in top subject areas, and an additional 20 textbooks in the trades sector.
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Open Educational Resources  The Premiers of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan released a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014 to enable the three provinces work together to make higher education more affordable through the development of OER within their advanced education sectors. Find memorandum in Available Files tab.


OER Policy Registry by Creative Commons, licensed under CC BY 4.0.


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