Navigating support models for OER publishing: case studies from the University of Houston and the University of Washington | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe programs that support open educational resources (OER) publishing in academic libraries. Insights, opportunities and challenges are shared in relation to the broader open education movement.


This paper provides two case studies describing the development of OER publishing programs at large, public research universities – the University of Houston and the University of Washington. Each program takes an Author DIY approach to publishing support and is in the early years of supporting OER adoption and creation.


These case studies demonstrate the need for a greater focus on decision-making and workflows. They illuminate challenges and opportunities for librarians supporting OER initiatives, including adapting existing models of OER publishing, navigating institutional culture, moving OER programs beyond affordability and how to sustain and scale OER programs with shifting institutional support.


OER is an emerging program area within academic libraries, and much of the focus has been on outreach and advocacy around affordable alternatives to commercial textbooks. Little has been written about programmatic initiatives to support OER publishing. This paper adds unique examples to the OER literature and raises new questions around support for OER publishing.

From Meow to ROAR: Expanding Open Access Repository Services at the University of Houston Libraries

Abstract. INTRODUCTION The rapidly changing scholarly communication ecosystem is placing a growing premium on research data and scholarship that is openly available. It also places a growing pressure on universities and research organizations to expand their publishing infrastructures and related services. DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM To embrace the change and meet local demands, University of Houston (UH) Libraries formed a cross-departmental open access implementation team in 2017 to expand our open access repository services to accommodate a broad range of research products beyond electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). The result of this effort was the Cougar Research Open Access Repositories (Cougar ROAR), a rebranded and expanded portal to the UH Institutional Repository, and the UH Dataverse, which disseminates the full range of scholarly outputs generated at the University of Houston. This article describes the team’s phased activities, including internal preparation, a campus pilot, rebranding, and a robust outreach program. It also details the team’s specific tasks, such as building the Cougar ROAR portal, developing ROAR policies and guidelines, enhancing institutional repository functionality, conducting campus promotional activities, and piloting and scaling a campus-wide open access program. NEXT STEPS Based on the pilot project findings and the resulting recommendations, the team outlined key next steps for sustainability of the UH Libraries’ open access services: continuation of the campus CV service, establishment of campus-wide OA policy, further promotion of Cougar ROAR and assessment of OA programs and services, and investment in long-term storage and preservation of scholarly output in Cougar ROAR.

Enhancing OER Support by Developing a Workflow and Service Model

Abstract:  My capstone project for the 2018-19 SPARC Open Education Leadership Program focused on developing internal infrastructure in order to support a new and quickly growing OER program at the University of Houston (UH). The primary goals of my project were to develop an OER adoption workflow to support instructors in replacing commercial textbooks, and to develop a service model for an effective and sustainable level of OER support.

This report details the process of completing the capstone project, which included conducting an environmental scan of OER needs at UH, reviewing existing OER workflows and similar resources, developing an OER adoption workflow specific to the UH context, and beginning to develop a service model for OER support. Successful completion of the capstone project is evaluated by comparing project outcomes to the desired goals. 

Lessons learned include recognizing the value of documentation, resisting perfection, understanding my own process, and acknowledging my progress and successes. This project would not be as successful without my SPARC mentor, Camille Thomas (Scholarly Publishing Librarian, Texas Tech University), who provided constant guidance and support.