On August 4, 2015, ARL joined more than 90 organizations and institutions wrote to President Obama calling for a policy to ensure that federally funded educational materials “are made available to the public as Open Educational Resources to freely use, share and build upon.”
The letter discusses the impact of open educational resources (OER) and points to several examples where the use of OER has resulted in significant cost savings, including Washington State’s Open Course Library program that has saved students more than $5.5 million. It also points out that “[e]merging evidence in both K-12 and higher education has begun to demonstrate that students using Open Educational Resources have the same or better academic outcomes than peers using traditional materials.”
The letter recommends:
To achieve these goals, Administration policy on access to federally funded educational materials should direct the agencies to adhere to these core principles:
1. A broad definition of educational materials. The educational, training, and instructional materials covered by the Order should include any unclassified information resource created, in whole or in part, with Federal funds designed to educate, instruct, train or inform. At the core, these would include learning materials, professional development resources and job training materials, but recipients of Federal funds create many other informational resources concerning, for example, public health, the environment, or energy that could be adapted for educational use if these were made freely available over the Internet under terms that permitted such adaptation.
2. Free access through the internet. Any covered information should be freely accessible through the Internet if in digital form.
3. Conditions that enable reuse. To maximize the value of these informational resources created with public funds, it is essential that recipients of Federal funds agree as a term and condition of such funding that they grant to the public broad copyright permission to reuse and adapt these materials for any purpose so long as the creator and the agency receive appropriate attribution.
4. Prompt implementation. Agencies should be required to implement this policy in no more than 12 months. This action is well within the purview of existing procurement law and does not require notice and comment.
5. Reporting to OSTP. Agencies should report their progress and results to the Office of Science and Technology Policy.