On Sunday, October, 29, 2015 the United States Department of Education announced a new campaign encouraging schools to use educational materials that are openly licensed. The organization discussed the launch of #GoOpen in a blog post on October 29. The proposal “requires educational materials created with federal grants to be openly licensed so that any school has access”. This is great news to the open access community because if passed, the regulation could require publications created with department grant funds, to be open access.
Supporters of this campaign argue many benefits including cost savings for the districts by freeing up money normally spent on purchasing textbooks. It also keeps the quality of the content up to date without having to reprint expensive textbooks. One of the most important benefits is equally providing high quality content to all students, no matter where they are being educated.
Ten districts across the country have already adopted the #GoOpen challenge and will replace at least one textbook next year with an openly licensed resource. There are another six Ambassador Districts that currently use openly licensed materials and pledged they would help other districts do the same. There is also support from the business community as different companies commit to provide infrastructure needed for openly licensed educational materials. For example, Amazon agreed to develop and support a registry running AWS Cloud so every school district in the country has access to these learning materials.
We at The Clute Institute hope that embracing openly licensed materials will spread to the collegiate level so that more universities will support open access publishers like us. Improving the quality of primary education is essential for a strong base feeding into higher education and we are excited to see how this unfolds in the following months.
Join the discussion! Please let us know what you think of this new campaign and comment below.