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The movement for Open Educational Resources (OER) has grown exponentially across
North American higher education. Recent studies have found that as much as a third
of faculty now have some level of awareness of OER and that the trend toward OER
adoption is growing. Yet despite this progress, some myths about OER still remain.
Whether it is confusion over the meaning of open versus related concepts such as free
or digital, or adherence to folk wisdom such as “you get what you pay for,” there are
many common misunderstandings about OER.
OER Mythbusting addresses the top seven myths about OER in North American higher
education, as voted on my more than 100 faculty, librarians, students and other
members of the OER community. This project grew out of a discussion during one of
SPARC’s Libraries and OER Forum monthly calls, where a group of librarians from the
U.S. and Canada identified a need for better resources to address misconceptions
about OER. A team of volunteers developed a poll and distributed it over email lists
and social media over a two week period in July 2017. The results were then used to
produce this collaboratively written document.
While OER Mythbusting is not intended to be a comprehensive catalog of all myths in
all contexts, our hope is that it will provide a useful resource for both OER advocates
and those seeking to learn more about the topic. We anticipate that this resource will
evolve over time, as new myths emerge and old ones fade.