PhilPapers is an international, interactive academic database of journal articles for professionals and students in philosophy. It is maintained as a combined project of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra and the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. PhilPapers receives financial support from other organizations, including a substantial grant in early 2009 from the Joint Information Systems Committee in the United Kingdom. The archive is praised for its comprehensiveness and organization, and for its regular updates. In addition to archiving papers, the editors engage in surveying academic philosophers. (Description from Wikipedia)
From July 2014 PhilPapers requires that research and teaching institutions offering a BA or higher degree in philosophy subscribe to PhilPapers in order to have the right of access to its index. Previously the site had been completely free to access and was built on contributions from volunteers – who may not now be able to access their own work (although the site remains open to individual users).
In 5 years PhilPapers was built by the work of 1000s of volunteers. They are being rewarded by being hit for sub fees http://t.co/69QksSF5Cu
— Downes (@Downes) April 14, 2014
The financial case for the change can be found here. The move away from openness here can alternatively be read as a move towards sustainability (and institutional libraries will be able to interact more effectively with the data), but without open licensing of intellectual property there is nothing to stop this content being made subscription only in the long run.
20 management students using an open textbook at Northwest Community College saved $103 each for a class saving of $2,060.
35 students at Douglas College saved a total of $5,600 using an open textbook for their database management class.
40 students using an open textbook for their statistics course at the Justice Institute of B.C. saved $100 each
60 students taking introductory physics at Kwantlen Polytechnic University were assigned an open textbook that replaced a traditional textbook costing $187, for a collective saving of $11,220.
In January 2014 the B.C. government said nearly 300 post-secondary students had already benefited from its open text book initiative, each saving an average of $146 on their fall-semester book costs. They have published around 40 textbooks for higher education; these are then available to students digitally (for free) or bound (at low-cost).
Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk:
“In just a few months since we made our first batch of open textbooks freely available online in September, students are reporting sizable savings, and the benefits for students and faculty will continue to grow as we develop open textbooks for more subjects, and more instructors around the province have a chance to review and use them in their classes.”
The Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) plans to adopt official policy next week calling on the province to adopt an “open textbook” concept they claim is allowing learning to flourish at a reduced cost in B.C.
The model sees mass-use course material published online with a creative commons licence. Students and instructors alike can then download the offerings and modify them as they see fit.
Though cost seems to be the main driving factor, student-led advocacy of this sort is suggestive passing a threshold of satisfaction with the quality of the materials they have used and with their experience of OER.