Open access means unrestricted access to research online. This research might include previously published articles, books, reports, theses, dissertations, presentations, datasets, textbooks, and media materials. Open access is meaningful because it democratizes access to information by eliminating subscription costs for users. It also allows researchers to increase the visibility and impact of their work, and can help various academic fields to advance by rapidly sharing information with a global audience.
Over the past decade, librarians, educators, and researchers have campaigned for open access to not only articles and traditional scholarly publications but also educational resources and research data. Open Education and Open Data have, in fact, appeared as complementary efforts to the larger Open Access movement.
Open data means data that is freely accessible and openly licensed for reuse. Researchers and developers can tap into open datasets to create powerful new applications or expand on previous research, among other things.
The U.S. government has been a particular proponent of open data. In 2013, President Obama called on all federal agencies to construct plans for opening access to federally funded research, including datasets. The National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health already mandate public access to many NSF- and NIH-funded projects but other agencies will announce similar plans in the near future.
In the following video, Jeanne Holm describes the potential in open data to improve health, education, welfare and safety in the United States. Holm promotes data.gov and accompanying efforts by the federal government to galvanize educators, developers, and international and state governments around open data issues.
Open Education is a movement that advocates for making educational resources available to the general public at no or minimal cost. Open educational resources are digital materials that are freely accessible and openly licensed, meaning that anyone can access and reuse them at any time.
Open education is a global movement. UNESCO organized the first Global OER Forum in 2002 to discuss strategies for promoting open educational resources around the world. MIT and the University of Tübingen began to distribute their course materials online in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and other programs soon joined in, including the Open Textbook Library, the Open Course Library Project, Merlot, and many others. These projects aim to solve global problems by reducing barriers to education. In North America, proponents of open education point to the exorbitant cost of textbooks and suggest that open educational resources would help students succeed.
See the following video for more about open education and why it matters.