Fortune Favours the Bold: University Libraries Adding Value Through Open Educational Resources

University libraries and students are in a constant affordability battle with the 800-pound gorilla that is academic publishing. Our academics are motivated to publish, increasing the visibility of their work which in turn enhances their profile and enables people to read, cite and benefit from their findings.

The publisher often requires a transfer of copyright ownership, and this is where the challenge begins. Enter 36 Australian and New Zealand University libraries, banding together to create the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective (OERC). A big and bold initiative of the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), the pilot project was established in 2022 to enable authoring and publishing of openly-licensed textbooks so copyright ownership is retained, and students benefit from no-cost educational resources. The catalogue now boasts over 18 titles in subjects ranging from biomedical science, optimising recovery from COVID-19, to legal research skills. All can be accessed for free, shared and repurposed thanks to Creative Commons licensing (

Open publishing has its own challenges, but the OER Collective has successfully facilitated independent publishing across institutions, as well as built a community of members at various stages of development in their exploration of open textbooks.

Hear and learn from Rani McLennan, Open Educational Resource Collective Project Officer as she shares the details of this daring, evolving project as it enters its third year.

Rani McLennan

OER Collective Project Officer, Council of Australian University Librarians

Author Bio

Rani McLennan is the Open Educational Resource (OER) Collective Project Officer at the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and Copyright Information Officer at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She has over a decade of experience in public, school, and academic libraries. Her interests include the communication of complex information through text and visuals and openly licensed image collections.

Katya Henry

Director Strategy and Analytics, Council of Australian University Librarians

Author Bio

Katya Henry is the Director, Strategy and Analytics for the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). In this role Katya is responsible for CAUL’s strategic enabling programs, including From Decolonisation to Indigenisation, Open Access, and Open Educational Resources. The CAUL OER Collective, which builds community and capacity across CAUL Member institutions to support open textbook publishing, and the CAUL OER Professional Development Program are just two of the initiatives that CAUL has developed to support OER. Prior to her role at CAUL, Katya was the University Copyright Officer at QUT and the Creative Commons Global Network Representative for the Australia Chapter. She is a passionate advocate for open access, open education, and copyright literacy, and is deeply committed to the role librarians play in enabling access to information. She is an experienced facilitator and presenter and has published widely on topics including research support, OER, open access, learning and teaching, and copyright.