Mapping the open education landscape: citation network analysis of historical open and distance education research

Martin Weller, Katy Jordan, Irwin DeVries, Viv Rolfe


The term open education has recently been used to refer to topics such as Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Historically its roots lie in civil approaches to education and open universities, but this research is rarely referenced or acknowledged in current interpretations. In this article the antecedents of the modern open educational movement are examined, as the basis for connecting the various strands of research. Using a citation analysis method the key references are extracted and their relationships mapped. This work reveals eight distinct sub-topics within the broad open education area, with relatively little overlap. The implications for this are discussed and methods of improving inter-topic research are proposed.


Open education, distance education, citation network analysis, social network analysis

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