Open education can grow stronger through collaboration with allied movements
Why is this important?
Open education is one of many movements that seek to advance openness and access to knowledge. The broader Access to Knowledge (A2K) movement embraces many strategies including open access to research, open data, and copyright reform, alongside open education. Even broader alliances can be seen with movements seeking openness in other ways, including free and open source software, open government, and open culture. The open education community can also see itself as part of a larger movement to support sharing and the commons in the digital era. As the open education movement moves into the next decade, we should consider how we explore and leverage these connections toward shared goals.
What is the opportunity?
By joining forces with the broader A2K community, the open education movement can gain allies and increase its impact. In particular, the open access movement has a strong base of support among research libraries around the world, which have been successfully advocating for policies to advance public access to publicly-funded research. By aligning strategies and collaborating, our movements have the potential to strengthen the call for public access to publicly-funded educational materials and research outputs together.
Likewise, national open education coalitions can expand their mandates to advocate for broader access to knowledge issues. This was done by the national Open Education Coalition in Kyrgyzstan, which successfully advocated for the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired, which allows copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of educational materials and other works.
Interesting areas of convergence are appearing elsewhere too. Ties between open education and open government movements have been successfully built within the scope of the Open Government Partnership, and efforts like OpenCon highlight how the next generation approaches openness in research and education more holistically. More deliberate effort to coordinate messages and actions will help build a stronger and broader open movement that benefits us all.
How can you get involved?
- See if there is a national open coalition in your country, and get involved.
- Check out the Global Open Policy Report which presents a global overview of open policies in four connected areas: education, science, data, and heritage.
- If you are in North America or Europe, reach out to SPARC or SPARC Europe, which work on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data. If you are from a developing or transition country, see if there is an EIFL Open Access coordinator in your country.
- To learn more about copyright reform, check out COMMUNIA