Policies and Models

When planning an open education initiative, it is important to consider how both local institutional policy as well as state and national policy can play a role. For example, a college might consider a policy that requires that institutional publications utilize openly licensed content; a university might recognize that faculty research published in an open access journal is considered on equal footing with a publication in a journal that requires a paid subscription. At a state or national level, a state system might require that publicly subsidized curriculum development be openly licensed; a national education ministry could offer grants for openly licensed projects. In short, policy that recognizes open education can help to promote open practices.

A compelling example of a system-wide policy comes from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. In 2013, the system adopted language that requires open licensing of publicly funded materials that are created using Chancellor’s Office grants and contracts. The California Community Colleges comprise 112 colleges serving over 2.5 million students and is now the largest education system in the world to require open licensing. For more information, see this press release and this Creative Commons blog posting.

Below are a number of resources that can help you to find examples of existing open policies. You will notice that many of the policies listed are focused on the state and national levels or are from research universities. We would be pleased to learn more about college policies that recognize open education.

Overview of open policies (as of September 2014)

Textbook Affordability: Open Source Textbooks, Education Commission of the States, September 2014

General listings of policies

Creative Commons Public Policy overview

OER Policy Registry

Government use of Creative Commons

Open Policy Network

Higher education examples of policies

Harvard University

Boston University



Read about the Duke policy on the Duke Library Blog


U Mass

University of Rhode Island

Wellesly College


Older examples

Exemplary Collection of Institutions with OER Policy

Reviewed Collection Best Practices

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