Read our JISC case study of Open Approaches at Oxford University
Examples of projects taking an explicity, openly, creative commons approach to their content:
Open Spires Free online courses and lectures. High-quality educational material for everyone. Oxford University is providing learning materials under a Creative Commons licence, free for reuse and redistribution in education and research. The OpenSpires project focuses on what makes Oxford unique: world-class academics presenting research-led content.
Politics InSpires a collaborative effort between the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford and the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. We created Politics in Spires with the intent to share, amongst ourselves and with a wider community, thoughts on politics and international relations from scholars at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. We aim to promote and disseminate our research, to engage in scholarly debate on current affairs, addressing topical issues in a timely fashion. We want to encourage free expression and invite critical exchange of ideas in an informal environment, openly accessible to anyone. We therefore welcome and invite comments from many audiences: we would like to receive feedback on our ideas, to hear our audience’s opinions, and to promote frank and respectful debate around these topics.
FreeSpeech debate We believe that making our content freely available for non-commercial purposes is an integral part of promoting a global debate on free expression. We think the best way to do this online is a Creative Commons licence, developed as a way of maximising the free expression possibilities of the internet. It allows all users contributing content to set the terms for how others can republish or translate their content, without having to seek prior permission every time.
Oxford University Mathematics OpenCourseWare courses which are published under the terms of OpenCourseWare.
Oxford Text Archive The University of Oxford Text Archive (OTA) is a repository of digital literary and linguistic resources for research and teaching. We also offer advice to resource creators about best practice for creating digital resources, and to users of digital resources on how to benefit from existing resources.
Open Data about the University of Oxford The site aims to collect data from around the University and make it available for reuse as linked data under open licenses.
Woruldhord The Woruldhord project is based at the University of Oxford and presents to you a collection of freely reusable educational resources to help you study or teach the period of English history centred on the Anglo-Saxons, or Old English (literature and language). This equates to a period of history roughly covering the mid-fifth century until the eleventh century. All the material held here was donated by members of the public, museums and libraries, academics, teachers, and societies. This then is a community collection created by a community of people for others to use.
Introduction to course design This site brings together a selection of different ways in which technology has been used in courses offered by the University of Oxford it is intended to be a source of ideas for those about to design a new course, or redesign an existing one. This course and all the content within it is available as Open Educational Resources.
Music scores from the Bodleian This Bodleian Libraries project aims to make music scores from the Bodleian collection available online with the help of members of the public. performances of the pieces are being cleared and released under creative commons licences.
Fourteenth-Century French NotationThis course created by Dr Elizabeth Eva Leach covers the basics of the notational system so that you can understand the sorts of decisions that modern editors have made, check available editions against original notation, sing directly from original notation, and be prepared for the more advanced studies that would be necessary to gain editorial proficiency. It is designed for musicians who can read modern notation but have no knowledge of medieval notation. It is offered openly to the public, and materials can be re-used by other people in their teaching.
The Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP) is a collaboration between the Bodleian and the University of Michigan, which produces highly accurate, fully-searchable, SGML/XML-encoded texts of early English books.
Europeana 1914-18 is based on an initiative at the University of Oxford where people across Britain were asked to bring family letters, photographs and keepsakes from the War to be digitised. The success of the idea – which became the Great War Archive – has encouraged Europeana, Europe’s digital archive, library and museum, to bring other national or local institutions across Europe into an alliance with Oxford University. The collaboration brings European stories online alongside their British, German, Slovenian, Luxembourgian, Irish, etc. counterparts in a World War One stories collection. As part of this policy, the Europeana Terms for User Contributions establish that all content that is contributed to Europeana by its users will be made available on Europeana.eu under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license.
OpenAdvent A collection of Christmas-themed resources all of which were released by their owners openly and for free to be enjoyed and shared at a traditional time of giving.
Open Access On 11 March, Council approved the Statement on Open Access at the University of Oxford. Some key messages are:
- University of Oxford academics and researchers are strongly committed to, and already very active in, ensuring the widest possible access to research findings for the benefit of the international research community and society more widely. The value and utility of research outputs increases the more broadly they are available to be considered and used by others.
- Our academics, researchers, staff and students must be free to publish in the journal of their choice.
- The Oxford Research Archive was established in 2007 as a permanent and secure online archive of research materials produced by members of the University of Oxford. We are enhancing the coverage and features in ORA to provide a single point of public access to electronic copies of peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings by Oxford authors and Oxford research theses. This also provides a means for institutional compliance with funders’ Open Access requirements.
- The University favours, now and for the foreseeable future, open access by means of the Green Route. This enables authors to publish in any journal and to self-archive a version of the article for free public use. Thus the Green approach provides most of the benefits for a much smaller additional cost than Gold Open Access (which involves paying Article Processing Charges) (APCs).
- We will use special allocations from our funders in those cases where their policy requires that APCs be paid.
23 Things Oxford The aim of this programme is to introduce library staff to Web 2.0 technologies – working on the principle that exposure is the first stage in learning. Over 12 weeks, the aim is for staff to spend a little time each week working on the project, building up their own skills as well as adding to their abilities at work. 23 Things Oxford is offered as a staff development resource to all, under a Creative Commons licence.
The Open Science Training Initiative The Open Science Training Initiative (OSTI) is a dynamic new educational scheme devised and piloted this year at the University of Oxford. It aims to address the problem of reproducibility in modern scientific research, by training upcoming young researchers in the integrated use of concepts and techniques such as digital awareness, data management, version control systems and the role of the publisher.
World War One Centennary: Continuations and Beginnings. A growing collection of OER designed to support new ways of teaching and thinking about the Great War. The project will collect and release digital learning content as OER in an easily accessible online platform to provide an academic-driven corpus of reusable scholarly resources that seek to readdress World War One and its cultural, historical, and political context. The project will surface the highest quality OER through a series of expert commentaries created by some of the most notable academics in the field of World War One studies and related disciplines. Alongside these thematic directory areas of additional expert-curated OER and dynamic libraries of relevant resources from the wider OER community will be made available.
The Great War Archive Since 2008 the University of Oxford have engaged over 2100 members of the public in the UK, Germany and Luxembourg to capture over 30,000 images of personally-owned memorabilia from the First World War. The Great War Community Collections started in 2008 with the Great War Archive (GWA) initiative (funded by JISC). This innovative project asked the public to contribute online, or via ‘collection’ days at memory institutions (museums, libraries, archives etc.) to a repository of digitized material related to the First World War. Highly successful, this led to the RunCoCo project to train others in our methodology and an ongoing collaboration with Europeana to run collection days and sites across Europe. This will be the largest online archive on the War in the world, created by the European public, openly available for all to explore and reuse in teaching, learning and research.
Google Books In 2004, Oxford University entered into partnership with Google to scan the Bodleian Libraries’ out-of-copyright holdings, in particular those from the 19th century. Items were selected solely on their copyright status and suitability for scanning, and the works that have been digitized cover a wide range of languages, disciplines, and genres. They include the first English translation of Newton’s “Mathematical principles of natural philosophy” from 1729, the first edition of Jane Austen’s “Emma”, and John Cassell’s “Illustrated history of England”.
Great Writers Inspire This project assembled a substantial new body of open content with a literary theme (focused on engaging new students) to be released through a new online web portal.The materials are grouped around a set of specific writers and thematic collections, curated by subject specialists and steered and evaluated by the demands of the subject community. There is a concentration on textual materials with embedded illustrative audio and video together with new publishing methods that include a substantial set of material released as ebooks for mobile devices.The material, intended to provide an engaging introduction to a typical humanities undergraduate education, is available to be reused in education worldwide and will be an innovative introduction to the wider UK open educational resources movement. All material is released under a suitable open content licence and published as downloads and feeds for use in perpetuity.
WebLearn is Oxford’s open-source, enterprise-level, virtual learning environment (VLE) that offers you a suite of learning, teaching and library tools. The Sakai Project began in 2004 when Stanford, Michigan, Indiana, MIT and Berkeley began building a common Courseware Management System rather than continuing their homegrown systems or licensing software from a commercial vendor. Oxfords own system built system developed from Sakai is called WebLearn. While many such systems impose licence restrictions on the host institutions there are no restrictions on the number of users allowed to access a service built with Sakai; in a research-intensive institution such as Oxford it essential that external collaborators can have an account and work within the VLE without us having to worry about licencing restrictions.
Contributions to Open Source projects by OUCS staff OUCS staff make extensive use of open source software to deliver services, and take advantage of the freedom to examine the source code, fix it, and enhance it. The department recognizes that participation in community open source development is valuable for both staff development and enhancement of the University’s reputation, as well as improving the software itself for the benefit of all. Staff who wish to contribute to open source projects seek the permission of the Director before doing so. A register of open source projects is maintained.
Open, continuing education Resources on this site have been developed, in the first instance, to support students studying weekly classes in the Department of Continuing Education, but will subsequently be released as open educational resources that can be used by adult learners and their tutors globally.
OpenPhilosophy.org A collection of public domain philosophy texts that everyone is free to enjoy and share. It will enable users to transcribe, translate, annotate and create bibliographies of philosophy texts. It will focus on providing access to and encouraging scholarly collaboration around philosophy texts – will be developed in close consultation with the project’s academic advisory board, students from Goldsmiths University and project partners Oxford and Royal Holloway.
Oxford Open Science is a group within the Open Knowledge Foundation for anyone in Oxford interested in projects related to open science. Maybe you’re looking at ways to share scientific data more effectively, planning a project involving citizen crowd sourcing, want to make your research as accessible as possible or maybe you’re just interested in how openness and transparency could change the way we do science. Podcasts are available from some of their events.In the podcasts they consider the impact of opening up science: allowing both the research community and the public to freely access the results of scientific work. Individuals can be fully informed about medical or environmental research, students worldwide can get access to the latest work, and software agents can roam the vast scientific knowledge base seeking patterns and correlations that no human has observed. Ultimately, it may profoundly change the way science is done.
Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) is an online store of research publications by scholars at the University of Oxford. It contains freely available copies of works such as journal articles, conference papers and posters, reports, and working and discussion papers. It contains digital copies of doctoral research theses by students of the University. ORA enables researchers to maximise the visibility of their research.
The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics was established in 2003 with the generous support of the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education of Japan. It is an integral part of the philosophy faculty of Oxford University, one of the great centres of academic excellence in philosophical ethics. The Centre is committed to raising awareness of ethical issues in the broader community and stimulating debate in the public arena. To this end, they have an open access policy for their resources which the resources are freely available to the public, and include journal articles and online lectures.
Sprint for Shakespeare A project by the Bodleian Library to make a digital copy of their First Folio available under a creative commons licence. This project is also important because it marks a further step in Oxford’s commitment to open educational resources. The images of the First Folio are released under the Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0). This allows anyone to:
- Share the work (i.e. to copy, distribute and transmit it),
- Remix (that is, adapt) the work; and
- Make commercial use of the work.
Research Data Management Training Materials Aimed chiefly at postgraduate research students and early career researchers, the final versions of the teaching materials and case studies from these events are available online and you are welcome to adapt any of the above materials to suit your own purposes.
Oxford Alumni Weekend The annual Oxford University Alumni Weekend aims to showcase the Collegiate University as a whole, giving prominence to a range of current research and its application to real world situations, as well as recognising the achievements of Oxford men and women. Past themes include “A Global Oxford” (2008), “Equal Citizenship” (2009) and “Shared Treasures” (2010). Many of the sessions are recorded and podcast. Of around 80 recordings, 67 are currently licensed as Creative Commons.
Open source tools are developed at Oxford and made available to anyone who wants to use or further develop them:
- The Behaviour Composer is a web-based tool designed to support teachers, learners and researchers, including those with little or no programming experience, to build, share, and discuss computer models.
- Molly Open Mobile Portal is a framework for the rapid development of information and service portals targeted at mobile internet devices. The framework follows a “batteries included” philosophy, featuring a wide variety of applications and connectors to common and standards-based systems .
OSS Watch is a service offered by Oxford IT Services, in partnership with other units including ISIS Innovation, Legal Services and Research Services.
- Creating a “level playing field” for open source options in the selection and procurement of new system
- Working with developers to release software developed within the University under free and open source software licenses
- Improving the sustainability of software by adopting open development practices and/or identifying appropriate business models
- Helping with the development of project proposals that involve elements of software development, particularly in areas such as software intellectual property management, open development, and sustainability
- Assisting with software licensing and intellectual property issues
OER research projects are carried out at Oxford to better understand the creation and use of open materials.
- OER Impact Study
- OER Engagement Study
- OER for Sustainable Academic Practice
- OER International
Some courses are starting to take an open approach to access, if not to the copyright of materials.