Main Body

Chapter 4. Text Analysis and Results

The initial corpus is a single document of the SAIT OER policy (SAIT Board of Governors, 2018). The downloaded policy file (i.e., PDF) was manually read for a first impression of the content, then processed with Voyant Tools.


Researcher Reading. The SAIT OER policy document emphasizes procedure and has a creative commons license of CC-BY. The layout is an institutional policy template with an initial administrative section followed by definitions, principles, and procedure. The definitions focus on media outputs without including an explanation for the ‘e-’ prefix to “e-books, e-work books, e-articles, and e-labs.” There is a potential discordance between public domain and creative commons definitions, as the former definition infers that a creative commons license could expire to a public domain status. The governing principles section aligns with institutional agendas in promoting quality education and reputation. The creation of OER is not necessarily aligned with the necessity within courses, as principle 5 states “any material that is published under an appropriate Creative Commons licence or in the public domain may be considered for use in a SAIT course.” The procedural section outlines administrative stakeholders, followed by OER compliance sections with respect to Creative Commons licensing, file formats, data storage, and ownership. Although there were hyperlinks to Creative Commons and key related policies, there was no link to the Schedule A OER Selection Rubric. Overall, the SAIT OER policy aims to be action oriented to promote outcomes without directly linking OER outcomes with courses.

Voyant Tools Text-analysis. The Appendix E text file was converted from the SAIT OER policy PDF in accordance with the CC-BY designation. Minor cleanup of the converted PDF to text file was required to remove hidden paragraph format marks and insert a space between “externally created.” The text-analysis uses the entire policy document as the raw source view with the Voyant Tools default stop-words list.

Single Document Corpus

The output focus employs corpus tools rather than document tools due to the single document corpus focus.

Summary. According to Rockwell and Sinclair (2016), occurrences of word types sorted by frequency can indicate importance and provide a sense of what a text is about (p. 57). The single document corpus generated 1,927 total words and 535 unique word forms. The default summary setting is a list of the five most frequent words in the corpus. In this corpus there were 23 occurrences of ‘oers’ and ‘open,’ 19 ‘creative,’ 18 ‘work’ and 17 ‘commons.’ The single document corpus had a vocabulary density of 0.278 (535 unique words divided by 1,927 total words) and an average of 27.5 words per sentence. A unique word has one occurrence in the document (Rockwell & Sinclair, 2016, p. 57). There were 1,392 non-unique words occurring greater than one entry in the corpus. Keywords from Appendix D do not frequent the document, except for the prefix ‘open’ term.

Cirrus. Figure AF1 emphasizes the dominance of the terms oers, open, work, creative, commons, technology and licence within the policy document. Only the ‘open’ term from the keyword list (Appendix D) is present in the word cloud.

Contexts. The output focused on the five most frequent words in the corpus summary.

Corpus Collocates. According to Sinclair and Rockwell (2016d), the default output of the most frequent collocates is from the 10 most frequent keywords in the corpus, which produced 501 collocates with a default context of five words per side. However, for consistency across the tools, each of the five most frequent corpus terms from the summary were queried separately.

Corpus Terms.




Corpus Stopwords User-defined

The previous text-analysis revealed a __ frequency in the terms ‘creative commons’ and ‘creative commons 4.0.’ Hence, these terms were added to the default stopword list to generate a new output to filter out the licensing terms.




Corpus Collocates.

Corpus Terms.




Chapter 5. Discussion and Implications

Policy Results

Policy reflects a range

0 no attention, no change

1 voluntary attention, possible some change

2 voluntary compliance – more change likely but not mandated – institutional managed

3 compliance – mandated, complete change

Research question and results intersection

Relationship with contemporary studies

OER policy extension and implications

According to Green et al. (2018) institutional open education policies provide direction, scaling, and pedagogical value by identifying open licensing, technologies, and accessibility. The gap in clearly identifying open e-textbook publishing systems in current OER policy could be overcome by a dedicated policy for open e-textbook publishing systems. The discordance between institutions engaged in open e-textbook publishing systems and absence in identifiable open e-textbook publishing technology and practices within OER policy

• implications of extending and/or encompassing Open e-Textbook Publishing System Policy

• discordance between practice and policy

• complexity of actors, institutional divisions, educational paradigm (including commercial publishing paradigm.

• strong / weak policy based on level of required commitment (suggested vs legislated)

• inclusive versus exclusive (all vs certain stakeholders)

• active versus passive (i.e., Skidmore p.24 Enviro scan)

Enslaved in a print and commercial paradigm, open e-textbook publishing systems liberate data, information, and knowledge in an OER paradigm, sharing resources with the least barriers possible on the Internet.

Alignment of critical theory.

• emancipation of digital data, information, and knowledge from a contemporary educational (state sponsored) paradigm favouring commercial publishers.

Dangers of policy as promotional tool

Grandiloquence full of eloquent speech, rhetoric, and sophisticated phrases that signify nothing (

• Open, Open learning, open-access

• strategy, practice, process without dedicated policy

UNESCOs’ Ljubljana OER Action 2017 asserted “the development of policy initiatives at governmental and institutional levels will facilitate OER mainstreaming” (2nd World OER Congress, 2017).

Future research and questions

A future longitudinal study could examine the evolution of the same policy over time for each institution

text-analysis of intellectual property rights for OER authors in academic institutions, freedoms of learner generated OER versus employees.

  • Can the research methods provide a model for future inquiry?

  • What would an online open e-textbook publishing system look like?

  • Why the avoidance by institutions to create a policy for OER and subsets?

  • Study the evolution of student association engagement into open e-textbooks.


This inquiry is an electronic document centric research approach for the search, retrieval and analysis of relevant policies from the Internet. A strength of this approach is that anyone who has access to the Internet can investigate the information in the study and replicate the text-analysis with the identical software. Following upon Rockwell and Sinclair’s agile hermeneutics practices (2016, p. 229), this study recognizes the tension and balance in both interpreting through software tools and discourse.

• Systemic change – exploration of e-textbook publishing system policy connects to OER policy, connects to open access connects to freedom of data, information, and knowledge to everyone.



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