Highly porous 3d transition metal oxide nanostructures are opening up the exciting area of oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts in alkaline medium thanks to their good thermal and chemical stability, excellent physiochemical properties, high specific surface area and abundant nanopores. In this paper, highly porous Co-doped NiO nanorods were successfully synthesized by a simple hydrothermal method. The porous rod-like nanostructures were preserved with the added cobalt dopant ranging from 1 to 5 at% but were broken into aggregated nanoparticles at higher concentrations of additional cobalt. The catalytic activity of Co-doped NiO nanostructures for OER in an alkaline medium was assayed. The 5%Co-NiO sample showed a drastically enhanced activity. This result could originate from the combination of advantageous characteristics of highly porous NiO nanorods such as large surface area and high porosity as well as the important role of Co dopant that could provide more catalytic active sites, leading to an enhanced catalytic activity of the nanocatalyst.