Enabled by the growing accessibility to the Internet, alternative intellectual property mechanisms such as Creative Commons, evolving metadata practices and the growing “open” movement, the emergence of open educational resources (OER) has been hailed as a potentially fruitful response to some of the key challenges faced by education in the Global South. While some research is emerging on the use and impact of OER in addressing these pressing educational challenges, most of this research is being undertaken in the Global North.
The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project was launched in August 2013 with the express intention of undertaking empirical research to better understand the use and impact of OER in countries in the Global South. These studies are currently underway in 11 countries located across 16 time zones and undertaken by 34 researchers who speak at least 11 different languages. A few additional impact studies will be included in January 2015.
This paper will explore some of the key benefits and challenges of conducting research on the use of and impact of open educational resources across languages and cultures. It will highlight successful strategies adopted to address the challenges associated with knowledge building, research capacity building, networking, curation of resources, communication, project management and leadership.