Last Updated: Oct 03, 2023 Views: 448

Open Access (OA)

“Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA removes price barriers (subscriptions, licensing fees, pay-per-view fees) and permission barriers (most copyright and licensing restrictions).” From the book: Open Access, Perter Suber, MIT Press, 2015, This link opens in a new window.

Open Access (OA) publications are typically research results in the form of journal articles, books, book chapters, and data sets that are freely available online. These publications are not necessarily licensed under Creative Commons, but OA means that the rights holder, typically the publisher, has made the paper openly available. OA publication is a requirement of many grant funders.

OA publications fall into several color-coded categories such as green and gold that designate their reuse level. There is no standard agreement about the definitions of these terms, although publishers and industry associations do publish guidelines.

Open Educational Resource(s) (OER)

Open Educational Resource(s) (OER) The term open educational resource (OER) means a teaching, learning, or research resource that is offered freely to users in at least one format and that either resides in the public domain or has been released under an open copyright license that allows for its free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with attribution. This definition is used by federal and state governments, UNESCO, and major funding organizations.  

The following CC licenses are used with OER: CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-NC-SA. The public domain labels, "public domain" and CC-0 are not legal deeds but are applied to works that are produced by the federal government; are dedicated to the public domain by the person(s) who created them; are antiquities or are otherwise known to be old enough to be in the public domain.

Open Source

Open Source initially referred to computer code that could be modified and shared. However, the OSI licensing requirements can be extended to other areas such as Open Source movies and other media. These types of resources can also be available under a Free Culture License. For more information visit This link opens in a new window.

More Information

Want to know more? Check out our research guide on Open Educational Resources.

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