Jorum to move to open access

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It was announced today that Jorum, the UK national repository for learning and teaching materials funded by JISC, is to offer open educational resources. This will make it easier for lecturers and teaching staff to share and re-use each other's teaching resources. JorumOpen - as it will be called - will also provide a showcase for UK universities and colleges on the international stage.

This move comes at a time when there is a global shift towards open access across all education and research, a development actively supported by JISC and one that is bringing about major changes in the ways that learners, teachers, lecturers and researchers make available and access learning materials and other digital resources such as research papers and data.

Jorum is managed jointly by EDINA and Mimas, the two National Academic Data Centres funded by JISC at the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester. During the first phase of Jorum's development, the focus has been on building a system that safeguards investment in digital learning resources and offers controlled access to licensed materials. The result is a service that supports access to over 2,500 learning resources for download for direct use in the classroom and within virtual learning environments (VLEs).

Through the development of JorumOpen, lecturers and teachers will be able to share materials under the Creative Commons licence framework: this makes sharing easier, granting users greater rights for use and re-use of online content and easier to understand. Importantly, it does not require prior registration. As a result availability is global as well as across UK universities and colleges. JorumOpen will run alongside a 'members only' facility, JorumEducationUK, that will support sharing of material just within the UK educational sector; this will be available only to registered users and contributors, as is currently the case.

Rachel Bruce, JISC programme director, said: "Jorum is an example of innovation at its best. It has already contributed a great deal, demonstrating that the sharing of learning resources is both viable and desirable, but these plans will allow it to develop and to innovate still further. We look forward to these further developments and to Jorum's continued growth in the future."

Peter Burnhill, Jorum co-director and director of EDINA, commented: "This is a welcome opportunity to widen access to learning material created by UK academics and learning technologists, an endorsement for the efforts of the Jorum team and the very many contributors from groups across universities and colleges to share materials. It should also be a spur to greater use in the classroom of successful digitisation projects as well as existing online services provided by the two data centres and others."

Dr Jackie Carter, Jorum co-director at Mimas, added: "Jorum is an example of a very successful collaboration between EDINA and Mimas. Considerable effort has been put into the development of the technical and legal frameworks, and the achievements can now be built on to take Jorum to the next stage."

For further information, please go to: www.jorum.ac.uk