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Copyright, Creative Commons, and OER: OER

OER, Open Access, and Library Materials

Open Educational Resources are educational materials that are made freely available to others to use, copy, share, and build upon. OER encompasses everything from open textbooks and text banks to lab assignments and class activities. OER can save faculty time, save students money, and can foster open pedagogy. True OER allows for the 5 Rs:

  1. Retain: Download and own copies
  2. Reuse: Use the content in a variety of ways
  3. Revise: Adapt and modify the content
  4. Remix: Combine the content with other OER to create new resources
  5. Redistribute: Share copies with students and others

Open Access (OA) content is freely available online and published under open copyright and licensing. While the most flexible Creative Commons license -- CC-BY --  is recommended, any of the CC licenses may be applied to open access works. OA content means more publishing control for faculty, more savings for colleges and in turn, students, and more access for everyone, with fewer articles stuck behind paywalls and passwords.

Library Materials are largely not free and are not published under open copyright; however, they are free to the student. Current articles and access to eBook chapters can supplement your course content, and in some cases can be used in place of traditional textbooks.

OER Repositories

How to Cite Open Materials

All of the six Creative Commons (CC) licenses require you to credit the author. Public domain materials do not require attribution.

While Creative Commons does not specify the exact citation style, a citation should include the following elements:

  • Title: If there is no title, you can omit it for CC 4.0 licenses
  • Author: The author or rightsholder
  • Source: Link to the work
  • License: List and link to the CC deed

Here is a sample citation for an image published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license:

"License Compatibility Chart" by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

For more details and examples of citing CC works, see Best Practices for Attribution.

License Compatibility

It is important to note that not all CC licenses are compatible with one another if you are mixing together resources published under difference licenses.

CC License Compatibility Chart

CC License Compatibility Chart by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

How can I find OER? Video by Council of Chief State School Officers, CC BY 4.0. Music by Lahaina by Blue Dot Sessions: CC BY NC 4.0

Open Images

Diversity and Inclusion Image Repositories

Library Materials: Free to the Student

The librarians are happy to purchase books and eBooks for your classes. Please contact us to gain access to the faculty account so you can shop for available eBooks yourself. We can also help you search for relevant content.