Are we there yet? A systematic literature review of Open Educational Resources in Africa: A combined content and bibliometric analysis

PLoS One. 2022 Jan 18;17(1):e0262615. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0262615. eCollection 2022.


Although several studies have been conducted to summarize the progress of open educational resources (OER) in specific regions, only a limited number of studies summarize OER in Africa. Therefore, this paper presents a systematic literature review to explore trends, themes, and patterns in this emerging area of study, using content and bibliometric analysis. Findings indicated three major strands of OER research in Africa: (1) OER adoption is only limited to specific African countries, calling for more research and collaboration between African countries in this field to ensure educational equity; (2) most of the OER initiatives in Africa have focused on the creation process and neglected other important perspectives, such as dissemination and open educational practices (OEP) using OER; and (3) on top of the typical challenges for OER adoption (e.g., infrastructure), other personal challenges were identified within the African context, including culture, language, and personality. The findings of this study suggest that more initiatives and cross-collaborations with African and non-African countries in the field of OER are needed to facilitate OER adoption in the region. Additionally, it is suggested that researchers and practitioners should consider individual differences, such as language, personality and culture, when promoting and designing OER for different African countries. Finally, the findings can promote social justice by providing insights and future research paths that different stakeholders (e.g., policy makers, educators, practitioners, etc.) should focus on to promote OER in Africa.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Bibliometrics
  • Biological Science Disciplines / education*
  • Computational Biology / standards*
  • Education, Distance / standards*
  • Humans
  • Research Personnel / education*
  • Research Personnel / statistics & numerical data

Grants and funding

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.