The "Opening the Textbook" survey, published by the Babson Survey Research Group today, reports that the number of faculty members at two- and four-year institutions using OER as textbooks has nearly doubled in the last year -- from 5 percent in 2015-16 to 9 percent in 2016-17.Awareness of OER -- openly licensed and freely accessible teaching and learning materials -- has also increased. Twenty-nine percent of faculty described themselves as "aware" or "very aware" of OER this year, up from 25 percent last year and 20 percent the year before. The proportion that reported they had never heard of OER fell from 66 percent in 2014-15 to 56 percent this year.However as Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group, mentioned in the article, awareness of OER is still low and there are additional barriers such as finding and evaluating currency of materials.
Raising awareness, finding resources, and updating materials are all very familiar responsibilities for librarians. That is why Nicole Allen, the director of open education for SPARC, a coalition that supports open policies and practices in education and research, predicts that librarians will "play an increasingly important role in helping faculty members find and evaluate OER content."
The comments following the article further press this point. Librarians are natural resource experts to faculty. One librarian mentions LibGuides as a tool to educate on open sources. Another librarian mentions that "incentivizing for faculty is key."
The full article is available at https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/12/19/more-faculty-members-are-using-oer-survey-finds.