We often talk about the importance of open education practices on the blog, including how to find your way through the five R’s of David Wiley’s open education framework (Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute). But there’s an additional R that’s also an important part of the conversation – recognition, for those who do the work to create valuable open educational resources (OER).

How can sharing benefit academics?

The use of OER offers diverse possibilities. Academics can adopt existing resources or create and share their own. For example, OER materials may undergo peer-review or be piloted in courses and repurposed based on student needs. Academics can also combine various approaches to best suit learning objectives. For instance, open-pedagogy provides ways for students to learn collaboratively and actively participate in creating and sharing knowledge. Adopting OER in teaching and learning has great benefits and contributes to enhancing educational quality, cutting costs, promoting equitable access to knowledge, and fostering a culture of openness and social justice in education. 

Open educational practices (OEP) extend the concept of OER by focusing on how these resources are used, adapted, and created in the learning process. OEP encompass three main ways instructors engage with OER: adopting existing resources, adapting or creating new ones, and integrating OER into innovative teaching methods. Interestingly, academics often do see numerous benefits in OEP, but the challenge often lies in finding the time for this work. Some faculty members might be hesitant to invest resources into OER due to concerns about recognition and support from their institutions. So in this post we explore a potential sixth R, Recognition, which could focus on acknowledging and rewarding educators who actively engage in OEP.

Academic promotion at UTS in the context of OEP

Academics seeking promotion at UTS are usually assessed in three areas: research, teaching, and service. OEP can align with all three categories of OER use, and faculty members should carefully assess how their contributions to open education best fit within these areas. There are many examples that show how OEP aligns with these three areas.


  • Authentic assessment: using OER in assessment design to counter the current challenge of assessment vulnerability to generative AI (GenAI).
  • Adopting open pedagogy: engaging students in developing open textbooks.
  • Creating OER: academics can develop their own OER, such as open textbooks, lesson plans, interactive activities and multimedia resources, and share them with the wider educational community.


  • Advocating for open education: academics can actively promote the adoption of OER and open educational practices within their faculties and beyond.
  • Community engagement: facilitating partnerships and collaborations with other institutions, and special interest groups such as ASCILITE OEP SIG.
  • Sharing their teaching practices: such as in Canvas Commons or ARTT.


  • Publishing in open-access journals: academics who choose to publish their work in open-access journals are embracing open research practices as they make their findings freely accessible to the public.
  • Sharing research data: as a movement, open science endeavours to make research output publicly accessible to the public by encouraging researchers to openly share their research data with the scientific community and the public.
  • Peer review of open-access journal articles: Open-access journals employ transparent and collaborative peer review processes, allowing reviewers to be more engaged in the scholarly discourse. A reputable open-access journal follows the same submission and peer review process as subscription-based journals. Yet, a drawback is that certain open-access journals necessitate article publishing charges (APC).

The role of recognition

There are many other examples that align with the three areas, but still – why should academics care? What are the incentives?

In their March 2019 report titled A Place for Policy: The Role of Policy in Supporting Open Educational Resources and Practices at Ontario’s Colleges and Universities, James M. Skidmore and Myrto Provida emphasise the crucial role of institutional support in acknowledging OEP during the academic promotion process. They contend that without such recognition and support, academics may be hesitant to engage in OEP-related work.

The largest barrier to participation in OEP is the lack of professional recognition. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members who evince interest in becoming involved in OEP worry about the amount of time needed to do it properly. Those concerns are compounded if the faculty member thinks that the time and effort expended on OEP will not be recognized in the normal career progression processes, namely tenure and promotion.

(Skidmore & Provida, 2019)

The call for academic recognition is not new, and it’s time to amplify it once more. Considering David Wiley’s five R’s, it might be valuable to introduce a sixth R that specifically emphasises the recognition of academics who actively engage in OEP.

Further reading

Open Education in Promotion, Tenure, & Faculty Developmentby Abbey K. Elder, Mahrya Burnett, Anne Marie Gruber, and Teri Koch (through Iowa OER) is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

Skidmore, J.M., & Provida, M. (2019). A place for policy: The role of policy in supporting open educational resources and practices at Ontario’s colleges and universities. Report.

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