Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version


Document Type



Washington, D.C.: SPARC. Also available at (site viewed September 5, 2017).


Open access material. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, CC-BY.


Earlier this year, SPARC launched Connect OER—a platform to share and discover information about Open Educational Resources (OER) activities at campuses across North America. Through Connect OER, academic libraries create and manage profiles about their institution’s efforts on OER, producing valuable data that we use to populate a searchable directory and produce an annual report.

As the first Connect OER Annual Report, this document summarizes insights from the Connect OER pilot, which ran from May - July 2017. The data encompass 65 SPARC member libraries spanning 31 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces who participated in the pilot. Our analysis provides a snapshot of what is happening on the ground level with OER at this subset of institutions. Our intent is that these insights will help inform SPARC members, the open education community, and the library community at large about current trends, best practices, and the collective impact being achieved through OER at participating institutions.

The purpose of the Connect OER pilot was to identify:

• Which SPARC member campuses were actively engaging in OER

• What role the library—in relation to other campus stakeholders—was playing in these efforts

• What institutional resources have been made available to support these efforts

• What kinds of activities and partnerships exist on campus

• What the overall impact of OER has been at SPARC member campuses

As the project transitions out of the pilot, we hope that the Connect OER directory will continue to grow, so that future annual reports can provide insights based on a broader range of institutions across North America. We recognize that the directory will never reach a state of completion since activities are always evolving, but our annual snapshots will provide a meaningful illustration of the reach of the OER movement, and the impact it has for students.

Key Inisights

1. Libraries are the most engaged entity on campus in efforts to advance OER

2. Within libraries, the department most actively engaged in advancing OER is Scholarly Communications

3. Science is the academic field with the most OER traction

4. Nearly half of the participating institutions have a faculty or staff person with explicit OER responsibilities

5. OER grant programs are the most common type of campus OER program reported

6. SPARC member institutions saved students an estimated $5 million through the use of OER in the 2016- 2017 academic year.