Watch the video recording of this Open Publishing Fest session, or keep reading for a full transcript. For those interested in reading the conversation that took place among participants and the resources shared, the chat transcript is also available below.

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Audio Transcript

Open Publishing Fest: Open Publishing Survey Results


  • Karen Lauritsen (Publishing Director, Open Education Network)
  • Jennifer Pate (OER and Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of North Alabama)
  • Elaine Thornton (Associate Professor and Librarian of Open Education and Distance Learning, University of Arkansas)

Karen: Hello, and welcome to the Open Publishing Fest. My name is Karen Lauritsen. I’m publishing director with the Open Education Network.

I am joined today by Barb Thees, who is the community manager. If you don’t already know the Open Education Network, we’re a community of higher education professionals working together to make education more equitable through open education. We’re based at the University of Minnesota in the United States, and if you’d like to learn more about us we’ll drop a link in the chat at

Today we’re going to talk with Elaine Thornton who is associate professor and librarian of open education and distance learning at the University of Arkansas, and Jen Pate, OER and scholarly communications librarian at the University of North Alabama.

Together they recently collaborated on an OER publishing survey, and I’m very excited that we are among some of the first to hear about what they discovered about the OER publishing landscape that so many of us are working in. I prepared several questions for Elaine and Jen. Of course, your questions are welcomed and encouraged, so please feel free to jot them in the chat as they occur to you.

And really, this conversation is intended to be informal. It’s modeled after the monthly tea time sessions we have in the OEN Publishing Cooperative where we discuss topics related to publishing OER.

And just a couple more housekeeping details, as I mentioned, we are recording this session. It will be available in a couple of weeks. We have enabled live transcription, I believe. If you don’t see the option there, and you would like it, please let us know in the chat and we’ll make sure that that is set up properly.

And we are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all attendees, so please join us in creating that safe and constructive space.

I’m now happy to introduce Elaine and Jen, and let’s just start with professional collaborations and talking about that, in general, and what brought you two together. It can be difficult to establish a professional collaboration, especially now that we’re all working, or most of us are working remotely some of the time, all the time. So tell us how you established your relationship, how you got to know each other and embark on this collaboration.

Elaine: Okay, well, I will start. So, I am an instructor for the OEN’s OER Librarian Certificate program, and we’re set up in a cohort model. And Jen was assigned to my cohort. Not this past program, but the program before, so that was 2020 through…or 2019 through 2021. So that’s, you know, how we came to be connected, was through that certificate program. And you know, have just kind of kept in touch on Twitter since then.

Jennifer: Yeah, she was my cohort leader. She was fantastic. She’s one of my OER heroes. So, yeah, so we kept in touch afterwards and mainly through Twitter and, you know, I’ve already always appreciated the research that Elaine has done, so yeah.

Karen: And what inspired the two of you to decide to do a survey of your higher ed colleagues about OER publishing?

Elaine: So it actually all started about this time last year. So, Jen’s participation in the program had ended, and she was a superstar of course, earned her certificate. And I was reading an article by Ariana Santiago and Lauren Ray called Navigating Support Models for OER Publishing Case Studies from the University of Houston and the University of Washington. And I’m always intrigued by, you know, what other people are doing, you know.

As you all probably know, in the open community there’s a lot of communication on listservs and the back and forth, and I know, you know, I’m at a certain point in our program here where publishing has really taken off. And so, I’m always interested to read about what other people are doing. So I enjoyed reading their article and one of the things they talked about was kind of the need for a broader discussion on libraries publishing OER.

And so I read that and I saw a call for proposals for some conference or something, and I sent Jen a note and said, hey you want to do this? Because I knew at her school. She had just kind of started thinking about publishing. And I thought, I thought maybe we’d make a good combination since I was already into kind of guiding some publishing projects and she was kind of just getting started. And it’s always great to work with someone else on these kinds of projects because you have different thoughts, you know, different questions come to mind. And so, that’s kind of how we got started, and that was about a year ago. So we’ve been kind of working on this off and on for a year now.

Jennifer: So yeah, it was November of 2020. I actually told the lady last night, we were talking and I said I actually looked it up in Twitter when she sent me the message on Twitter saying, Hey do you want a partner on this? And it was this month.

And at my university we formalized our OER program, and in May of 2020 we launched our stipend program which is like a grant program for faculty so that they can adopt, adapt, or create OER. And at that point we were still really working with faculty who are adopting or adapting OER, but we knew that actually publishing original OER was coming, so it couldn’t have been more timely for me.

Karen: And so, could you please both talk a little bit more about your roles in OER publishing at your institutions?

Jennifer: Sure. So, like I said, our publishing program is emerging. We currently have two books that faculty are working on. We have another book that was published but it’s not true OER. It was a geography OER that’s published  within the geography platform that the instructor was using, so it’s not shareable in the same sense.

But we do have two books that should be published in the spring. One went through our OER program, so I’m acting as the project manager for it. I have put it on the Rebus Community. I’m about to put up the call for participation for proofreaders and copy editors and peer reviewers for that book, because the writing is done on it.

For the other book, though, because it didn’t go through our OER program, I’m acting in more of an advisory capacity, and that’s a biology microbiology lab manual. So I’m not as hands on with that one. So right now, where we’re at because our program is emerging is we’re still kind of defining our role as the OER working group, and my role as the OER librarian in how we manage these projects.

Karen: Mm hmm.

Elaine: So here at the University of Arkansas I manage all of our OER incentive programs which include kind of our OER publishing projects. So, I think we have eight or so already published open textbooks that are in use in courses here at the university, and we have, maybe, like eight or so creation and adaptation projects that are in process right now. So we have some of our OER in our institutional repository.

We also have a Pressbooks platform, and so I handle all the day-to-day, month-to-month management of those projects onboarding the authors, providing the workshops and training for the faculty authors, onboarding them with Pressbooks and then just answering any questions that they have going forward.

We provide incentives. We do not provide editorial services. They’re supposed to use money from their incentives to get those services if they need them. But sometimes I’m able to connect them with others on campus who can help them with those kinds of needs, so you know, it’s kind of juggling the incentive program, the project management for each project, and trying to recruit new projects as well.

Karen: Thank you. You both described such a wide variety of roles that I think are very common in the OER publishing landscape, and we’re really just about to find out with your survey results. Can you, before we get to the big reveal…how did you organize your survey outreach? How did you get the word out there?

Jennifer: Everything that we’ve done on this project, because Elaine is in Arkansas and I’m here in Alabama, we’ve done through collaborative Google Docs. So, together we wrote a call for participation in a Google Doc, and you know, just commented back and forth on it until we had it right where we wanted it. Elaine arranged to do the IRB on it because we wanted to make sure it was an IRB certified or exempt survey. And then we literally opened a Google Doc and just kind of dumped every listserv that we could think of, that we participated in, or that we knew of.

And then we divided and conquered, and so we put in the date that we put out the initial call for participation. And then about a week later, we did a second call and we dated that so that we kind of could track, you know, who had posted where and when we had posted so that we weren’t overlapping and over saturating because that gets annoying. So we wanted to make sure that we were as robust as possible, so we tried to hit, of course, OEN, LibOER, CCOER, and the like. I even sent it out to, I also manage our institutional repository here, so I put it out on the IR managers’ listserv and just tried to spread it out as far as we could to get as robust of participation as we could.

Elaine: And because we’re both librarians, it was heavily kind of weighted toward librarian focused listserves. But you know, we were open to feedback from anybody who was involved in OER publishing.

Jennifer: And primarily North American as well.

Karen: And anything via social media or did you focus on listserves?

Jennifer: Yeah, I tweeted. I think Elaine tweeted it as well. So yeah, we have an OER channel for UNA and tweeted it from there, and from my personal account.

Karen: And I don’t have a sense, I mean, I wonder what the audience size of those lists are if they were to be aggregated and then de-duped. It would be interesting to know how many librarians and other professionals are being reached in that way. Who did you hear from? You mentioned librarians…was there anything you noted regionally, or were you able to track, you know, response rates from listserves?

Elaine: So yeah, it was an anonymous survey so we didn’t, you know, ask for their identification or anything. We did have a space that could kind of identify someone, for people who wanted to share their policy. So if they had OER publishing policy they could put a link into that or, you know, give us information so that we could get it from them later.

But that didn’t happen very often because I think, for one reason, I think a lot of people are still trying to figure out what their policies are.

So you know, it was an anonymous survey, but based on some of the questions that were asked, we found that we had a lot of scholarly communications librarians, OER librarians, and even a few publishing librarians answering. Also some library administrators, so you know, the majority of people who answered the survey were librarians.

Karen: And before we hear broadly what you found out, were there any surprises that jumped out at you right away?

Elaine: I think…there weren’t a lot of surprises. I was kind of surprised by that publishing librarian title. That was one that I wasn’t familiar with and hadn’t heard much about before.

You know, I was surprised by some of the answers regarding kind of the cross campus collaboration, like who some of the librarians or the publishing…who the collaborators were on campuses. You know, lots of people said instructional design and university presses. Some said other, and I don’t think we had a space for them to identify who that other was.

So you know, some things you don’t think about when you’re doing a survey that you can think about when you come back around.

Jennifer: Right. And that’s one of the things that Elaine and I have talked about at length, is doing a follow-up, more of a qualitative survey to fill in some of the gaps, because in some instances when we asked about platforms, for example, and people would say, Oh, we’re using Pressbooks, or we’re using our IR, we didn’t have a space for them to tell us. You know, are they using a hosted Pressbooks, or are they using a one off instance? You know, like the faculty is just doing their own book sort of thing in Pressbooks.

What IR platform are they in? A digital commons, or are they DSpace, or are they Ubiquity? Where are they? You know, what kind of repository software are they using as well? So, just by doing the research we found, kind of, gaps in our own research that we want to go back and fill in.

Karen: Which is sort of exciting. You know, once you start digging to see, like, oh there’s all these different avenues and questions to continue to pursue. Well, tell us more about what you found.

Jennifer: We found that in most of the programs that are run by libraries, the duties are falling to the schol comm or an OER librarian, and like Elaine said, some publishing librarians, and that’s about 45%.

And what we also found that I think is not shocking at all, is that most of them, like over 45% of them said that, I’m sorry, not 45%…almost half of the respondents said that they were self-taught. So they didn’t have any kind of formal training which isn’t surprising, because this is an emerging field and you know, there are not a ton of formal education things happening in library schools about scholarly communications in general, whether it’s open access or open education publishing or open pedagogy or open source software, it’s that, like library schools are still catching up to what we’re actually doing here out in the field.

We found that 30% of the publishing programs are actually being run by other units on campus whether it’s a center for teaching and learning, or they actually have a publishing program on campus depending on their campus size.

About 5% are self-service, meaning faculty are completely on their own and do it on their own. They might come to the library for advice, but everything that’s done as far as open education publishing is done by the faculty member who’s creating the open education resource.

Pressbooks is the most used platform in this survey, with IRS coming in a very close second. I think it was like one response less. So this is one of the areas, like I said, where we really want to know more. Like, what IR platforms are you using to publish your OER?

And, in addition, for like the promotion and the dissemination, a lot of folks are using listservs. They are also just using their IR just to push it out there, OER Commons, and of course, the Open Education Network’s Open Textbook Library is a big place for promoting and putting out their OER.

Karen: And I may have missed this. About how many responded?

Elaine: I think we had 102 completed.

Jennifer: Surveys, yeah.

Karen: And so, how do you imagine this information may inform our work as the OER publishing community as we move forward? You mentioned there’s still sort of a lot more to learn, can you…

Jennifer: Well, you know, so many things are self taught when it comes to OER. So many of the programs… There are some great programs out there. Again, I will shout out the Open Education Network’s Open Education Certificate in Librarianship. That was incredibly beneficial for me to develop an action plan. Sparc also has a cohort model that they do for open education, and now AAC&U also has a year-long institute on open that they’re doing. And there are a few others that, you know, are supportive of open education, but not necessarily are open education, like getting your creative commons certification.

But other than that, there’s no real formalized training. Especially, and for myself, being at a mid-sized regional university. And one of the things about my university is that we are the lowest funded university in the state per full-time enrolled student. And there’s a lot of things that go into why our funding is so low. So when you have something like that, when you have smaller institutions, community colleges, lower funded institutions, it can be very, very difficult for people to take advantage of trainings.

It is very, very difficult to convince if you don’t have an administration that’s on board, you know, to convince them to pay thousands of dollars for you to go get a certificate somewhere. So these programs might be out of reach for these folks, and one of the things that we hope kind of comes out of the research that we’re doing is that we can build a community of practice around OER. Like a more formalized community of practice, mentorships, developing a best practices for people who are publishing that would encompass whether you’re at a large institution that has a huge publishing arm or whether you’re at a small community college and you’re self serve and you’re doing it all yourself. That there would be something in there for everybody, because there is no one-size-fits-all.

That was one of the things, the big beacons that came out of this research is, there is no one-size-fits-all. You know, whether you’re using GitHub or you’re using Pressbooks, or you’re using, you know, LaTeX, you’re using any of these things, there’s no one-size-fits-all. So it would be really great if we could develop a community of practice around publishing sort of like, I think of it in terms of what Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa have done with the Open Pedagogy Notebook where they have that website where they’re building a community of practice and people are sharing out their materials. If we could build something similar to that with, you know, a guidebook or best practices book of OER publishing that people who don’t have that formalized training from either their graduate school or from, you know, going through the open education program could refer to when they get stuck.

Elaine: Yeah, and we did have a few people who specifically mentioned published focus programs, like the OEN Pub 101. We had two or three people who mentioned that one. A few people mentioned the Library Publishing Coalition program, so you know, even if you’ve gone through some of those broader kind of open education cohorts you may still want more just from the publishing aspect of it.

So, you know, our goal is to really hone in on what are those things you need to know. Say you already have the basic knowledge of open and OER and how it all works, but what are those things that someone really needs to know or could really help someone as they’re launching an actual publishing campaign on their campus. You know, what do they need to know to help the teaching faculty?

Jennifer: And that’s where I was telling Elaine this last night. I’m currently working on a master’s degree in instructional technology and design and I’m doing a course right now in adult education. And one of the things I have to do in this course is, I have to develop a self-directed learning experience.

And so I’m a big fan of work smarter not harder, so my self-directed learning experience is learning the Pressbooks platform so that when we get done with the proofreading, copy editing, and peer review of the one of the books that we have, the one that I’m doing the project management for, I will be able to move it into Pressbooks very easily because I will have taught myself the platform. And so, yeah, so you know something like that is incredibly beneficial for, you know, especially when you’re the sole person and that’s, you know, it’s me. And, you know, I have an OER working group, but as far as like the project management for OER, I’m it. I don’t have a huge publishing division. I don’t have a huge open education cohort in the library that I can, you know, rely on. It’s me. And it’s 50% of my job. The other 50% is scholarly communication, so you know, there’s a lot of balancing that has to be done. So, if there was a guide to go to, to say you know this is how you do this, it would be incredible.

Karen: Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s just been my observation too. And I’m sure so many people in this call, you know, you turn to a colleague and ask them a question about how they did something in OER publishing, you’re going to get a very wide range of answers because there’s a wide range of institutions and needs. And so while it makes perfect sense that programs need to be tailored to their context, it can make it difficult to establish communities of practice where, you know, people can find each other and support each other and find sort of the solutions that are going to work well for them. And definitely at the OEN, we’ve been focusing our attention on less funded institutions and how we can support publishing there should faculty want to do that. And, you know, listening to the ideas that the two of you have is really exciting to think about how we can work together to come up with that community of support. And so I look forward to staying tuned or let me know how, you know, we might work together as the OEN.

Anita has dropped a guide into the chat from the Rebus Foundation about publishing open textbooks, which is a guide that’s out there that many find useful.

Anne Marie mentioned she identified and felt solidarity with funding issues that many are working with.

Cathy mentioned the benefit for institutions looking for librarians with publishing skills and I think that was in the context of, you know, certificate programs or other more formal learning opportunities. So thank you for your input in the chat everyone.

And I think this is a good opportunity, if you have questions about OER publishing at your institution, this is an informal place, this is really a time for you to ask Elaine and Jen and one another questions that are on your mind or ideas you have for how we can make this better together. So, while you think about that, did I interrupt? Did I hear a…No? Okay. What are your next steps with the data?

Elaine: So, kind of connected to what you’re saying, too, about, you know, all these different approaches that combine with funding issues. We also want to be able to build a community where people can find free resources.

We know that, you know, you can use OER Commons to create OER if you don’t have access to Pressbooks or even access to an institutional repository. So, you know, just being able to create some kind of community where that kind of information can be shared that’s specifically about publishing. I mean. you know, we’re all on all these other different listservs so you know, sometimes you lose things in those conversations.

But back to what our next steps are. So we initially presented on the survey at the NASET Conference earlier this year, and it was just a brief overview. Think it was a recorded presentation of kind of like four areas that we focused on in the survey. We talked about leaders, the leadership of the program, the training. Some of the things we were just talking about the training the librarians have going into the program or before they start publishing, publishing platforms and marketing. So those were the four things that we talked about in that presentation.

And we’re actually editing our conference proceedings right now so that should come out next year, I believe. And so our plan is to get back into the data and finish analyzing what we have, and eventually publish a journal article that kind of covers the whole gamut of the questions that we asked and possibly include some focus groups or interviews before we write that article. So, you know, we’re looking at maybe reaching out to some people to have some little conversations.

And we’d also like to use the gathered data, as we said before, as kind of a best practices template or guide so that others can, you know, contribute to it as well. So that’s kind of where we are with that.

Karen: Great! Well, thank you for sharing your survey process and results so far. This is the time when we turn to everyone who has joined us to see what your questions are.

That concludes the questions that I had prepared for Elaine and Jen, so I’ll hand things over. While you work on typing away in chat I will go ahead and just put a link actually to some of the publishing information for the OEN into the chat.

Some of the things that Elaine and Jen have identified as needs in the community, you might find a starting point for those on this page. For example, there’s an OER publishing toolkit and that links to a lot of documents that you may need when starting a publishing program. For example, an MOU between the institution and the author, even things like spreadsheets for tracking the images used in the document. And those have been created by the community.

There’s also different links to guides and so on, so I hope that may be useful to any of you who are getting started. Elaine also mentioned the Pub 101 program. We will be launching a new one in 2022. This is a totally free and rather informal program, so you do not finish with the certificate, but you do get to know some other people who are working in publishing and have the opportunity to ask questions and familiarize yourself with different resources that are out there. And that’s totally free, so if that’s something that you would like to be added to the list when we have it together, I’ll just drop my email in there, and you can let me know that you’re interested in joining us.

So, what questions do you have for Elaine and Jen? Or Elaine and Jen, is there anything you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?

Elaine: Well, I have a question for the participants while they’re thinking of their questions for us. I know we didn’t talk about every area, but if you have any particular questions or thoughts about OER publishing that you think we might…avenues we might chase, we’d love to know about it.

Jennifer: And I want to just thank you, Karen, for the links, and Anita for the links as well.

I’m a big fan of the Rebus platform. As somebody who has participated in other people’s projects on it and has now put my first project on the Rebus platform, I am so excited about using a platform that allows community participation like that. And I’m really excited that we have something like that, especially for smaller institutions to be able to put out a call to have people…

One of the books that I’m working on is a book on music theory, and I know nothing about music theory. So for me to try to reach out and find people who could participate in that project would be very, very difficult to do.

So yeah, I’m thrilled to see that people from Rebus are here, and thank you so much for the work that you do.

Karen: Feel free to unmute if you prefer to ask your question that way.

Jennifer: I’ll also add that if anybody would be interested in participating in the qualitative follow up that Elaine and I are planning on doing, feel free to email either myself or Elaine and let us know that you would be open to being interviewed about your publishing program.

We would love to reach out to you when when we’re at that stage, which will probably be later. Later…

Elaine: Like next year.

Jennifer: Yes, sometime in the spring. Yes, that’s where we’re at. This is November. If I make it through November, it’ll be great. I’m in the middle of migrating our institutional repository platform so that’s got all of my brain energy right now.

Karen: Well, I have not seen…oh there, we have a question from Anne Marie, primarily for Jen: Do you think there’s a need for “OER Publishing on a Shoestring Budget” community? I would take part.

Jennifer: Yes, absolutely. I think one of the things that Elaine and I have talked about a lot is the fact that if, you know, like the the Rebus guide to publishing and the work that OEN has done toward publishing is great, I mean they’re fantastic resources. But when we talk about developing a best practices manual it would be something that would have…that would work within whatever. You could find something in that that would work for where you’re at as far as the size of the department. If it’s, you know, you half time, or if it is you have seven people working in your open education.

You know, I always look at programs at places like Oregon and Ohio and Georgia, and I’m like, man, God I’d love to have this resource.

But yes, absolutely, you know within the best practices…okay, you’re small, you’re underfunded, you know, anything that you could possibly… You know, whatever category you would fit in, large institution, small institution, community college, technical college, there would be something there for you.

Elaine: And, even in cases where you have funding to support faculty, you know it can still be a challenge when you’re the only person devoted to helping them publish, you know. And you don’t have you know, support within your department to help with that process, because really doing this kind of work is pretty labor intensive because you have to give a lot of individual attention to the faculty author. So, you know, you can only have so many projects going on and I think just kind of maybe some guidance on how to juggle when you have multiple projects and how to make sure that, you know, any funding your institution is spending on this is giving you a good return on investment because you know some administrator’s going to ask you that. So what kinds of things can you think of upfront to kind of put in place?

And, you know, some of us say and think all these things in hindsight now, but, you know, just to be able to have that information out there so that others can think about it up front, I think, would be, you know, kind of a helpful piece of the guide or the best practices.

Jennifer: I think just managing expectations is a huge thing, especially when you have a program that’s growing as rapidly as the program that we have here. I mean, we are like I said, May of 2020 we launched our program and at this point we just funded another project that puts us at almost $400,000 a year in student savings. And that’s just within just a little over a year and it’s growing so rapidly and we’ve got the two textbooks that are in the works, and, you know, managing those expectations is something that that I’m really struggling with.

For example, the music theory book which is on the Rebus platform. I was talking with the author, Charles Brooks, and I said, I need this information for you so I can do the call for participation. And he’s like, I’ll get it to you next week. And I’m like, oh, I’m at a conference next week, but go ahead and send it to me and I’ll try to work it in between conference sessions, and I couldn’t. It just wasn’t possible. 

But yeah, it can be a really heavy lift, and so you need to be conscientious and aware of, you know, how much time some of these things are going to take because something you think is going to be a quick and easy fix might end up taking a lot of time.

Karen: I could not agree more. Managing expectations and communicating frequently I think are two very helpful skills to develop. And one of the reasons why is related to how we started the call today, and that is that publishing, that word, has such broad definition. And you say the word publishing, one person is going to have one model in their mind and another person is going to have another model in their mind, and sometimes you don’t realize that you’re meeting sort of somewhere in this vast field of publishing definitions until you’re many months into the project and it can be kind of a painful discovery that one person was thinking of publishing in one way.

And so, related to that and managing expectations, Lily has a question about editors, graphic designers, peer reviewers and asking about projects that involve stipends or monetary support. Do you provide the money in full to the authors or their departments, or are you involved in determining fund amounts for editors, graphic designers, peer reviewers.

Elaine, I remember you said you don’t get involved. You give your authors the funding for them to work that out. Are there guidelines that you offer for, you know, typically a graphic designer might charge X amount?

Elaine: So this is not something that we went into in detail in our survey and that’s part of the reason we want to do qualitative interviews because as long as I’ve been involved in open education with the last five years or so, I hear it’s different everywhere, you know. Like the answers to this question for, you know, programs that provide incentives.

So at my institution, and it depends on who you’re partnering with on your campus, too, so we partner with our global campus which is kind of our online learning unit. And that’s where all of our instructional designers live so it’s perfect for us. I love it, you know, because they provide a lot of good insight.

But it started with the vice provost for distance learning deciding, this is going to be the amount, so he said the amount because they were providing the funding when we started.

So…it’s set to give the faculty extra compensation to create the projects. The amounts are not set to hire graphic designers or to hire editors or copywriters or anything like that. It’s for the author, so we have to tell the authors that if you need those services, you must pay for them with your stipend.

That being said, we still try to provide as much support as possible. So, the OER program is myself, and then I have a graduate assistant who works with me and so he knows Pressbooks inside and out, so sometimes he will help, you know, faculty upload their Word docs or help with, kind of like, some design and layout type of thing. And then the other great thing about partnering with our global campuses, they have media. They have a media team and they have graphic designers on their staff.

And so, because there are partners in this we can kind of like get their help sometimes on projects, like if we need a cover design or we need some photographs, they can also help with, you know, shooting video… good quality video, but only as they have time because they have other projects they have to do.

You know, we encourage the faculty who are in our funded program to, you know, explore other avenues. For example, our college of agriculture has an ag media team where they have a hands-on kind of lab program for students to produce video. I mean, one of the things I do is produce video.

So I have a fashion design professor who is working on a basic sewing class, but she’s been using that team of students. In fact, she didn’t even take the funding. She put it into an account so that she can pay for that team’s help with her media for her project. So you know, we can do creative things like that, and then also find ways to kind of showcase the work of our students on campus which kind of, you know, adds to their portfolio. So I always try to steer people in those kinds of directions as well.

And no, they don’t get their funding all at once. We we pay it in increments so, you know, you get paid for every step that you complete in the project.

Jennifer: Incremental payments are important because you know we’ve already had an instance where a faculty member was unable to complete the project so she received her first stipend, but she’s not receiving the final stipend because she just wasn’t able to complete the project the way the contract that we had detailed. But one of the things about a question like this is, it really varies from place to place.

Ours is not with global campus, but I partner with our ETS, which is our ED tech department, and that is where our instructional designers live as well. We don’t tell anybody how they have to spend their stipend either, but there may be places that do.

And that was just something that we didn’t really go in depth with with our survey. You know, how do you determine how that funding is spent? Is it just to cover the time and effort for the faculty member or are they supposed to, you know, portion it out so that they can have professional copy editing or proof reading done on their projects? So yeah, that’s something that we want to know more about.

Karen: Thanks for the question Lily, and if there’s anyone here who would like to share how they do it on their campus in chat, please feel free.

Apurva is here with us from the Rebus Community. Hello! She has two questions: Besides wanting to learn more about platforms used, is there anything else you would both like to dig deeper into in the future survey and the qualitative interviews you’ve talked about? And did anything surprise you with the results you found so far?

Elaine: Well, as I just mentioned, that whole thing with how people handout their funding and what they require, that’s definitely something we would like to dig in deeper.

I don’t think there were any major surprises just because, you know, we read the listserves all the time and we talked to a lot of people who are, you know, doing OER kinds of things.

Jennifer: Sustainability, I think, is one of the areas that we really want to look at…

Elaine: Definitely.

Jennifer:…for future, in our next phase of the survey. You know, I saw Rebel just put in, revisions and upgrades. But yeah, who’s sustaining it?

When Dr. Burke’s music theory book is done and I put it on Pressbooks and it gets in the OEN Library and I put it on my institutional repository, and a year from now he decides he wants to change it. But maybe I’m no longer at this institution. What kind of policies and procedures do you have for the continued support of that published OER?

And I think that’s one of the biggest problems that we have facing us in open education publishing because it is growing so rapidly that a lot of times you’ll click on something and there’s just link rot and that product that somebody says, Oh, this is really great. Sometimes when I’m searching for OER for a faculty member I might find somebody’s lib guide that has great resources. But you know, a quarter of those links on their lib guide don’t exist anymore. So how do we keep this sustainable? How do we make sure that you know when repositories migrate, or you decide you don’t want to use Pressbooks anymore and you want to migrate it, but somebody’s got a link to the Pressbooks. How are you redirecting them? Who is maintaining that, and how is that going to be maintained?

And, you know, what kind of institutional support do you have for your program? Is it something you’re doing just within the library or do you have, like, I have full institutional support.

Our OER program is the brainchild of our provost who uses OER. He still teaches a class every semester, and he is the biggest advocate for OER on this campus and it’s great to have that. And not everybody has that, but what do you do when you don’t have institutional support or you don’t have institutional funding?How can you, you know, if you wanted a full Pressbooks? That costs money.

And if you don’t have institutional support to even give your faculty stipends to create the work, how are you going to publish that work if you don’t have an IR or you don’t have the ability to do a Pressbooks? Are you just going to put up a bunch of Word documents or in a Google drive? How are people managing all of these different things, and how can we make it sustainable?

Elaine: And even thinking about your own program because we all know with faculty they come, they go. I’ve already had one person… Our cinema book, he left the university this year. He created a resource that I still get adoption notices on all the time because it’s for a basic film course.

You know that the textbook is usually very expensive, but you know he’s no longer here, so just thinking about going forward…you know, if the links break in the book, who’s going to maintain them? Now, right now, you know I’m still in touch with him, but that could change. So, you know, even thinking about the resources that are created in the updates to them, how do you get in a cycle for doing that?

You know, how do you let people know? We’ve started doing things like putting in a revisions page just so that the public will know when someone adds or changes something. So yeah, lots of things to think about.

Karen: Thank you both! Rebel has a couple of notes in the chat, as she mentions that the student fee at K-State really helped with sustainability.

And then, Rebel, you have consortium question mark, and I do not know what you’re asking about that. Elaine, Jen, maybe that’s enough for you to go on?

Elaine: We don’t have a consortium.

Karen: What was that?

Rebel Cummings-Sauls: I was just asking if there is any way consortium support was thought about or how consortiums…obviously that’s where I’m at right now, so how do we help you better at the institution level?

Elaine: Well, we don’t have a consortium in our state, so you know it’s not a consideration for us. I know others do and they get a lot of support that way.

Jennifer: We have ACHE, which is the worst acronym in the world: the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. And through ACHE there’s a consortium called NAAL, also not a great acronym, which is the Network of Academic Alabama Libraries.

Roll tide! So yeah, we have very little support from them, just because of funding, not because they’re not eager to help.

NAAL and ACHE funded actually a bunch of librarians in the state to do the Creative Commons certification program which was great. And they did do, they brought I think Jeff from…

I don’t think they brought Tiffany… I think it was just Jeff from Affordable Learning Georgia to the state to do a series of workshops about open education back in, I think 2019, 2018, 2019. And so that was great, and then they funded like high enrollment Gen Ed course OER and that’s how we got started here. We received one of those grants for OER.

But yeah, I think programs like they have in Virginia, the VIVA and Lewis in Louisiana are fantastic supporters of OER, and I would love to see something at the program level within our consortia that would be committed to supporting OER.

Karen: And so just to build on the spirit of Rebel’s question, and I think what you were just saying, Jen, in terms of support at the program level, is there anything the two of you have at the top of your list that you personally would ask for in your work publishing OER, like if I had three wishes, it would be the following… This would make things so much better.

Jennifer: I mean, I would. OER is my priority, but it is 50% of my job. I would love them to actually hire in the lines that we’re missing in the library that we’ve not hired in because of funding issues so that I could hand off, so that we could have like a scholarly communications, you know open, you know, department and I could have somebody else who could handle the institutional repository open access stuff and I could just focus 100%. That would be all my three wishes in one, really, so that I would have more time to do this work because one of the things about where we’re at is we are considered the affordable university in the state. We have banded tuition. We talk a lot about our student support and that’s why the OER program is so important here. I just wish I had more time to do more with the OER program.

Elaine: Think, if I had a wish it would be for more support from our Gen Ed programs. We have close to 30,000 students this year, and so, if we could make bigger inroads into our Gen Ed courses we would make, you know, the impact would be so much better.

We have just partnered kind of with our student success office to get them to kind of get behind supporting that. So, then we can then take that to psychology and sociology for their Gen Ed courses and say, hey you know student success is going to help provide some funding to get you to convert that class over.

But, you know, at a big school like this there’s a lot of pushback because large seminars, you know the bells and whistles that come with the online or the publishers’ textbooks and…

Jennifer: Inclusive access.

Elaine: Some of that too, and just, you know, I think you know, we just need, if we could just, my wish would be for all of those course coordinators, our department chairs in those areas to just wake up and decide they want to move all of their 1000-2000 level courses to OER.

Jennifer: That’s a dream, isn’t it.

Elaine: Yeah!

Karen: Well, sometimes it’s good to wish and dream together, so thank you for sharing your ideas for a more better and more equitable higher ed OER publishing scenescape. And thank you Jen and Elaine for 1. Asking these questions of our colleagues and embarking on this survey, and 2. Sharing the early results with us.

We really look forward to learning more and, you know, working together on any follow ups. So I think since we’re nearing the end of the hour, that it’s time to wrap up in the chat.

I think both Jen and Elaine dropped their email. I also dropped mine. If you have further questions about OER publishing, let us know.

This is the first day of the Open Publishing Fest, so there’s lots more programs and offerings to enjoy from around the world. Perhaps we will see one another again; there are two more OEN conversations next week. I hope to see you there.

And Elaine, Jen, anything you’d like to say in closing?

Jennifer: Thanks for coming, and please reach out to us if you want to be part of the qualitative part of our survey. We would really love to hear from you.

Karen: Thank you everyone. Farewell.


Chat Transcript

00:14:05 Barbara R Thees: Here’s the hyperlink:
00:21:08 Barbara R Thees: More information on the OEN’s Certificate in OER Librarianship that Elaine and Jennifer mentioned:
00:21:39 Barbara R Thees: And great news! The next cohort is currently accepting applications through November 28th. Here’s the link to thee application:
00:32:33 Anne Marie Gruber: Solidarity with that funding issue!
00:35:34 Cathy Germano: It makes me think of the benefit for institutions looking for librarians with these types of skills.
00:37:52 Anita Walz: This guide from the Rebus Foundation may be of interest:
00:38:48 Anita Walz: Also of possible interest:
00:41:56 Karen Lauritsen:
00:43:08 Karen Lauritsen:
00:44:08 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: TY
00:44:37 Apurva Ashok: Here’s a link to Jennifer’s project: The Rebus website is also completely free to use!
00:45:54 Elaine Thornton:
00:46:25 Anne Marie Gruber: Primarily for @jen, do you think there’s a need for “OER Publishing on a Shoestring Budget” community? I’d take part! 🙂
00:46:32 Jennifer Pate:
00:47:56 Lily Dubach: For projects that involve stipends or monetary support, do you provide the money in full to the authors (or their departments) or are you involved in determining fund amounts for editors, graphic designers, peer reviewers, etc?
00:48:11 Apurva Ashok: Two questions: Besides wanting to learn more about platforms used, is there anything else you both would like to dig deeper into in a future survey/those qualitative interviews? Did anything surprise you with the results you found so far?
00:57:30 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: revisions and upgrades?
00:58:05 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: Consortium?
00:58:46 Apurva Ashok: Thank you! There are great questions for future conversations – definitely areas we’re all asking/grappling with.
01:01:20 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: Our Student Fee at K-State really helped with sustainability
01:03:42 Rebel Cummings-Sauls: TY
01:08:16 Barbara R Thees: Open Pub Fest calendar:
01:08:25 Anita Walz: Thank you!