May 27, 2022

SPARC Publishes Inaugural “Connect OER Annual Report” on the Impact of Open Educational Resources at Member Institutions


Today, SPARC released the first “Connect OER Annual Report, 2016 -2017,” which shows that its member institutions in the U.S. and Canada are working to reduce the cost of textbooks, increase access to learning materials and support better student outcomes through open educational resources (OER)—freely available materials that can be used, adapted and shared to better serve all students.

2017-09-05_15-30-10“The biggest takeaway from the report is that SPARC member libraries are actively leading the way on OER for their campuses, and it’s having a positive impact on students,” said Brady Yano, Assistant Director of Open Education for SPARC and author of the report.

The report provides insights based on data collected through Connect OER, a pilot project to build a searchable directory maintained by academic libraries to share and discover information about OER activities across North America. This data provides a snapshot of the state of OER on 65 SPARC member campuses—spanning 31 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces—during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Six Key Insights From the Report

  • Libraries are the most engaged entity on campus in efforts to advance OER

  • Within libraries, the department most actively engaged in advancing OER is Scholarly Communications.

  • Science is the academic field with the most OER traction.

  • Nearly half of the participating institutions have a faculty or staff person with explicit OER responsibilities.

  • OER grant programs are the most common type of OER program reported.

  • SPARC member institutions saved students an estimated $5 million through the use of OER in the 2016-2017 academic year—an average of $100 in savings per student.

“The movement for open education has grown exponentially over the past ten years, yet so much of the activity is at the ground level and we often struggle to get a bird’s eye view,” said Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for SPARC. “Connect OER works through libraries as the heart of their institutions to collect information about these disparate efforts into one place, so that the community can better discover current trends, best practices, potential partners, and collective impact.

During the pilot phase, Connect OER profiles were available only for SPARC member institutions. In early October, all higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada will have the opportunity to join the directory. To be notified when registration is available, academic libraries may sign up for our waitlist here.

“We are excited for the Connect OER directory to continue to grow and provide more valuable opportunities for connections and discovery,” said Yano. “In future years we will look back to today’s report as a baseline, to show just how much the movement has grown. Our hope is that the report will spark a conversation about trends and best practices and identify areas for future opportunity for SPARC members, the open education movement, and the higher education community at large.”

Direct to Full Text Repot (19 pages; PDF)

Additional Connect OER Annual Report Resources 

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.