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PublishOER - Developing new models for Online Publishing

This project will develop new ways of augmenting the open educational resources (OER) ‘pool’ with high quality published content by investigating new business models for embedding published works in OER. It is a partnership of organisations including Elsevier, JISC Collections, Rightscom (with links to all publishers) and education providers particularly the RVC. It will survey stakeholders in the context of advancing academic publishing in challenging times (responding to changes in UK further and higher education), test models of working through a significant case study in veterinary medicine and explore the potential for mutually beneficial national licence agreements. It will investigate alternative, flexible ways of raising income while augmenting existing resources with weblogs, reviews, comments and ratings from users, and ways of incorporating published works into OER, ensuring staff and students are operating within best practice, accrediting, attributing and paying (when necessary) for using commercially published material in sharable resources.

PublishOER is led by the Academy Subject Centre for Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Medicine at the University of Newcastle. It will coordinate a significant case study working in two veterinary schools; firstly with the RVC, and once evaluated with University of Nottingham, whose vet school has expressed interest in being a dissemination partner (email correspondence available on request). This will test several approaches outlined in (3 Sample scenarios above) with different curricula but a common commitment to OER. These two HEIs will provide an opportunity to conduct a needs assessment of both academic and student OER users. Work will be coordinated within each school by ‘student researchers’ employed on a retainer basis to organise focus groups, liaise with academics, promote specific resources to target audiences and feedback to the project. This feedback and the evaluation of the work will inform investigations in other subject areas.

Student researchers will be managed and their activities coordinated by a Project Officer employed by the RVC. This person will have a good understanding of the current veterinary curriculum. As well as working closely with the main project team, they will be responsible for working with the Elsevier Senior Veterinary Commissioning Editor to identify ways existing commercial resources can be repurposed, for example by embedding in WikiVet or an institutional VLE.

Eight focus groups of approximately 10 participants each will take place (subsistence and a small payment to participants provided) to review value-added for students and staff of accessing third party content. Feedback from 4 initial focus groups will be shared. This ‘market research’ will provide an opportunity to identify future trends: in particular how students wish to access commercial and free-to-use content. Elsevier wishes to work closely with the project to tailor some of its resources to best address these requirements. Initial feedback from student and academic user groups will be collected in a second round of focus groups alongside informal interviews and surveys conducted by the student researchers. These data will inform future recommendations.