"Watermelon" (for lack of better term) OERs?

My background is in environmental studies, and one of the terms frequently used (usually with regards to companies/products) is “watermelon”- green on the outside/superficially beneficial, but red on the inside. I’m naturally skeptical, and I’m wondering if there is a general list kept of known vendors/resources that are marketed as “open” or “low-cost” but actually reveal themselves to be more predatory?

That’s an interested and new to me metaphor!

I find it referred to as watermelon status or watermelon reporting

You might find more about this under the concept of openwashing – see https://openwashing.org/ which comes from the practice in environmental science you might know of as greenwashing One of the early posts on this was in 2009 by Michelle Thorne

No list found, but it looks like there was an attempt to collect tweets for offenders under a hashtag of OpenwashingNominee (but that’s empty) - there are more tweets under the general #openwashing hashtag

I am loving though the watermelon metaphor, that works so well.


Hello @peskorm and @cogdog,

I didn’t know the watermelon metaphor. Like cogdog, I am mostly aware of and use the term ‘open washing’.

I also believe this is an important question that requires a broader and deeper discussion within our community!

In order to state that a vendor is superficially marketing their resources as “open”, I think it will help if as community, we have very clear and widely supported practical guidelines on what needs to be present to conform to the UNESCO definition of ‘open’.

So according to UNESCO, the resources need to be accessible at no-cost and have a CC license. Are there other practical characteristics that need to be present as well?
How do you determine if the resource permits adaptation or redistribution?

I’ve written down my thoughts on open washing and which practical characteristics I think need to be present: Blogpost: Is This Open? | Grasple

( here a link to twitter for extra room for discussion )