The free and reliable resources out there that immediately spring to one’s mind are repositories (green) and open access journals/books (gold), as well as specialised stuff such as information literacy OERs among other things. However, the sheer quantity (and oftentimes very good quality) of all things free on the Web makes it very difficult to identify and reliably capture the same, namely podcasts, videos, presentations, blog entries and wikis.
The report’s findings show some interesting insights, particularly in the ‘requirements and challenges’ department, when it comes to the handling of, and facilitating access to, open learning resources that librarians find worthwhile exposing to their respective user communities.
But first I’d like to highlight some selected key findings that I feel are worth isolating here (the full report can be found here; see Appendix A for the research methodology).
It’s encouraging to see that a vast majority of surveyed librarians (92%) agree that free online content adds value to the learning and research process. Likewise, people would like to see that more money is put towards efforts in surfacing such content (83%). See the chart below for more librarian opinions on various other statements in relation to free online resources.
|Figure 1: T&F survey, p. 9, April 2013|
|Figure 2: T&F survey, p. 15, April 2013|
|Figure 3: T&F survey, p. 19, April 2013|
As mentioned above, the Taylor & Frances white paper points out ten requirements and challenges for librarians to facilitating open access online learning resources:
- Creation and adoption of metadata standards to signal how ‘open’ content is
- Improved identification of free articles in hybrid journals
- Permanence of access and reliable archiving for free content
- Comprehensive indexing of quality free resources by discovery systems
- Provision of usage statistics for free online content, consistent across publishers
- Improved integration of free content with link resolvers
- Development of a wider range of trusted repositories linking to free content
- Improved user interfaces for accessing library-surfaced content
- More training and support in information literacy skills for students and faculty
- Development of metrics for evaluating impact of content (free and paid-for) on institutional performance