Project case study – this either reports on the findings of a particular case study, or announces the implementation of a project. This type of publication was more predominant in the early OER period, as it was the main focus for activity
Technical – these papers focus on the technical specification of a particular project such as an OER repository, or the required technical specification for an ecosystem or framework project. The emphasis is on technical details of the ecosystem infrastructure and description of resources.
OER as subject – this category is focused on the OER field itself, the nature of openness, the direction for OER, suggestions for adoption, the role of OER in distance education.
Research with impact data – this type of paper undertakes evaluation of the impact of OER implementation, using educational research methodology that would be recognized from more mainstream studies, such as control groups, pre and post test, etc.
Policy – these articles report on actual OER policies, the need for policy or standardized approaches, national frameworks and comparison of policies.
Practitioner – the focus of these articles is the use of OER by practitioners in a particular context, for example teachers or librarians.
OER in developing nations – the use of OER in the context of developing nations has received some attention which have been separated out as a category because the issues and community involved in such projects is often distinct from the North American or European emphasis of OER.
MOOCs – massive open online courses have been an area of considerable growth since 2009. This group could be categorized as an emerging field of its own, or MOOCs could be interpreted as OER and reclassified under the other categories.
Pedagogy – several articles focus specifically on the possible impact of OER on pedagogy, or as a vehicle for change in teaching practice. Although there is intersection with other categories, the highlighting of pedagogy in these papers has suggested a specific category of research.
Open data/practice/access –This category then represents an intersection with other aspects of open practice that have varying degrees of relevance to the OER community.
The implications of these different groups within the field are discussed.