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open education

Open educational resources (OER), also known as Open Content or Open Learning Materials, are educational tools made freely accessible to the public. UNESCO defines OER as “any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license”. The definition also reveals the main ideal behind this project: “anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.” ORE comprise all digital objects created for learning purposes, for example articles, textbooks and digital equivalents. They also refer to methodological resources such as open source software tools and teaching material, e. g. instructional designs, didactic plans, case studies, curricula and simple elements such as pictures, links and short texts used to support teaching. Aim of the project is to loosen the economic and organizational constraints of the education and training sector and give broader access to education.

open source

The principle "open source" refers to a software development approach in which the software's entire source code is available to the public. Thereby, any user cannot only investigate how the software was constructed but also improve the code if bugs were found or write add-ons to the existing code that are thought to be useful. This central quality clearly distinguishes the open source environment from traditional software development where the source code typically is not available to the public or at least not open to changes [1]. The exact guidelines for the accepted modifications can be found in the licenses agreement of each open source software [2]. Furthermore, open source projects do not have classical project management structures or schedules but rather focus on the joint forces of widely distributed people instead, who work independently but in a complementary fashion [3].


[1] Kraker, P., Leony, D., Reinhardt, W. and Beham, G. (2011). The case for an open science in technology enhanced learning. Int. J. Technology Enhanced Learning, Vol. 3, No. 6, pp.643–654. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJTEL.2011.045454
[2] Sowe, S. K., Stamelos, I., & Angelis, L. (2008). Understanding knowledge sharing activities in free/open source software projects: An empirical study. Journal of Systems and Software, 81(3), 431-446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2007.03.086
[3] Scacchi, W., Feller, J., Fitzgerald, B., Hissam, S., & Lakhani, K. (2006). Understanding free/open source software development processes. Software Process: Improvement and Practice, 11(2), 95-105. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/spip.255

open data

Provide open access to research data and content. With open data anyone can freely use, modify and share the data for any purpose. In this context, the term exclusively refers to scientific research data. The content on the web is made available under an open licence and in a structured, non-proprietary format (i.e. XML, PNG, LaTeX, CSV). Sharing data allows for a more efficient replication process by simplifying data exchange and preventing unnecessary data acquisition. Plus, open data enables laboratories to collaborate and accumulate larger data sets in a cost-saving manner for more meaningful results. Smaller research groups are given the means to participate in the discussion. As a consequence, the entire scientific process is shaped more inclusively, allowing contributors to debate on an equal footing regardless of funding.

open peer review

Open educational resources (OER), also known as Open Content or Open Learning Materials, are educational tools made freely accessible to the public. UNESCO defines OER as “any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license”. The definition also reveals the main ideal behind this project: “anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.” ORE comprise all digital objects created for learning purposes, for example articles, textbooks and digital equivalents. They also refer to methodological resources such as open source software tools and teaching material, e. g. instructional designs, didactic plans, case studies, curricula and simple elements such as pictures, links and short texts used to support teaching. Aim of the project is to loosen the economic and organizational constraints of the education and training sector and give broader access to education.

open methodology

Many scientific publications are characterised by a very brief documentation of the methods implemented to answer a research question. However, a full description of procedures, data gathering and analysis steps is often crucial to reproduce, and sometimes to even understand the findings reported in scientific manuscripts. In particular, when working with “open data” it is sometimes necessary to first achieve a profound understanding of the data processing steps that lead to the data resources in their present form before being ready to actually use them. “Open methodology” provides a framework for managing this type of information in a transparent and compressive way. It comprises the full documentation of:

  1. How data is created in the first place (i.e., apparatus and settings used to gather the data).
  2. The concrete processing steps (e.g., filtering, averaging, handling of missing values, etc.) used, for instance, to reduce the dimensionality of the data.
  3. The inferential (or exploratory) statistical considerations and detailed model specifications used to derive the parameters and coefficients necessary to answer a research question.
Examples and links:
Resource Identification Initiative:
Why is the understanding of measures and methods so important?

open access

Open access publishing means to provide free access to published works for readers to both read and share. In academia this free publishing typically comes in two legal forms. Using the green way, the author publishes within a journal as usual, but is also allowed to share his work for free in other outlets besides the journals (e.g. the own homepage). Going the gold way, the publisher himself allows free access to the author’s work on his own platform. This second possibility usually comes with an extra payment by the author, but has the advantage, that the published work may receive more attention and is better connected to other publications on the same scientific topic.