The Distance Travelled: Reflections on open education policy in the UK since the Cape Town Declaration
From Ewan McAndrew
Authors: Lorna CampbellDescription
Several of the barriers the Cape Town Declaration cited are yet to be overcome, most notably convincing governments of the tangible benefits open education. While colleagues in North America have had some success in demonstrating the significant cost savings associated with the adoption of open textbooks, it has proved much harder to quantify the benefits of open education in sectors that are less reliant on textbooks, particularly when there is a perceived lack of statistical evidence supporting the impact of open education on learners.
At the time of writing, neither the UK government, nor the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales, have formally adopted open education policy, and government involvement in open education has arguable declined since the end of the UKOER Programme in 2012. That is not to say that there have been no significant advances in the adoption of open education policy. Several Higher Education institutions, including the University of Edinburgh, have formally adopted OER policies, and there have been notable successes in the public sector with charities such as the Wellcome Trust and public institutions such as the the National Library of Scotland, the British Library and some of the national galleries taking positive steps to make their collections more open and to support openness at scale. Other organisations such Wikimedia UK and ALT have also stepped in to play an important role in supporting open education policy and practice across the UK.
This paper will provide an overview of the advances and mis-steps in open education policy and practice in the UK in the ten years since the Cape Town Declaration, while comparing and contrasting the UK experience with developments elsewhere in Europe and North America. The paper will include a case study on the Scottish Open Education Declaration and the efforts of the Open Scotland initiative to lobby the Scottish Government to endorse the principles of the declaration and adopt open licenses for publicly funded educational content.
 University of Edinburgh OER Policy, http://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/openeducationalresourcespolicy.pdf