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Open Educational Resources (OER)

For faculty and student use to find open access materials and open educational resources.


Are open sources free?

They are free to use, but like traditional publishing models, they are not free to produce. Open companies have come up with various ways to generate revenue, including fundraising, advertisements, author fees, revenue from another product under the same company, and grants.


What about quality?

The most common question we get about open sources. Open source aggregators, especially textbook aggregators, vet their content to find credible and quality sources. They also encourage other educators to review open materials. Many open journals are peer-reviewed.


What about copyright?

True open access sources include some form of copyright notice. The content creator still retains the copyright, but they give up some (not all) of their exclusive rights to create more inclusive and accessible information. For example, in most Creative Commons licenses, content creators give up the exclusive right to create derivative works, meaning that other users can freely download and modify their work. However, creators do NOT give up their right to claim authorship of their work, and that right is not conferred to anyone else.


Can I use multiple open materials together?

Yes! Just like with traditional textbooks, educators may find that some chapters are more suited to their needs than others. Open resources make it easy to choose from several sources and mediums, and you may combine them with more traditional publishing models.


Creative Commons License (or just Creative Commons): A way to designate your material as open access and available for reuse and/or modification.

Open Access: Broad term that encompasses most forms of open content. Commonly thought of with open access journals. Content is usually digital. To be true open access, materials must be both freely available AND appropriately licensed for reuse. Content on the open web is not necessarily open access. 

Open Educational Resources: Specific open materials for teaching and learning. Usually includes textbooks, lesson plans, and instructional videos.

Open Source: Refers to open software that may be freely downloaded, used, and manipulated by individuals other than the creator.