Exploration of open educational resources in non-English speaking communities


  • Cristobal Cobo




open educational resources, open access, education, digital technologies


Over the last decade, open educational resources (OER) initiatives have created new possibilities for knowledge-sharing practices. This research examines how, where, and when OER are attracting attention in the higher education sector and explores to what extent the OER discussion has moved beyond the English-speaking world. This study analysed English, Spanish, and Portuguese OER queries over a long-term period (2007-2011). The data retrieval was conducted using four online platforms: two academic journal databases (Web of Knowledge and Scopus), one video-sharing Web site (YouTube), and one document-sharing Web site (Scribd). The number (more than 32,860) of search results collected indicate an increasing interest in online OER discussion across languages, particularly outside academic journal databases. Additionally, a widening ‘language gap’ between OER discussions in English and other languages was identified in several platforms. This research reports some of the cultural and language challenges caused by the expansion of the OER discussion and highlights relevant findings in this field.

Author Biography

Cristobal Cobo

He is research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute – University of Oxford, where he coordinates research on innovation, open knowledge initiatives and future of learning research projects. Currently he works on Internet Science, OportUnidad, KNetworks and SESERV (European Commission). Cristobal has been distinguished by the British Council of Economic and Social Research (ESRC). He has PhD “cum laudem” Communication Sciences at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Co-author of the book “Invisible Learning” (with more than 30,000 downloads). He has been speaker in more than 20 countries



How to Cite

Cobo, C. (2013). Exploration of open educational resources in non-English speaking communities. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(2), 106–128. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v14i2.1493