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Open Educational Resources (OER) and Creative Commons

A guide for faculty interested in incorporating open access materials into their curriculum.

Why OER?

Why OER?

  • Open Access materials can be excellent resources to supplement online library materials! 
  • Open Access materials can often be used when copyright restrictions might prevent the use of "traditional" materials in an online setting. While Open Access materials are, for the most part, still under copyright by their creators, most academic and educational use is permitted without permission. Even if copying is not permitted, open materials can usually be linked from an online syllabus or reading list. Be sure to check the copyright or permissions statement before use.
  • By Educators, For Educators - Many of the Open Access materials highlighted in these pages have been created specifically for educational use.

What is OER?

'OER' stands for 'open educational resources'.  Also referred to as 'open access resources'.  Open Access refers to resources that are freely available for viewing and/or use. Open Access is not the same as Public Domain, and most Open Access creators do retain their copyrights.

Open Access is part of a continuum ranging from completely closed, subscription/purchase only access to completely open, no barrier publishing. Open Access is not related to the quality of materials or the peer-review/non-peer-review status of the publications.

Open Access differs from Open Source or Open Licensed in that the primary use of Open Access materials will be viewing or reading, while Open Source materials are available for modification of the underlying software or text. An increasing number of Educational Resources are being published with Open Licenses, allowing for modification, re-editing, and other customization.