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Open Educational Resources (OER): OER & Copyright


OER & Copyright

A defining part of Open Educational Resources (OER) is that the materials either exist in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits reuse and adaptation. Not all free resources are actually OER and it is important to be aware of this distinction as you consider how you want to create, reuse, and adapt educational resources. It is up to you to determine whether the material 

Dr. David Wiley, of Lumen Learning, developed the 5Rs framework to explain and remember permissions granted by an open license. This framework is a good guideline and if we are unable to practice any of the 5Rs with a resource it may not be open. The 5Rs outline that users have the right, with openly licensed material, to do the following:

Retain - Make, own, and control copies of the content
(e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)

Reuse - Use the content in a wide range of ways
(e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)

Revise - Adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself
(e.g., translate the content into another language)

Remix - Combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new
(e.g., incorporate the content into a mash-up)

Redistribute - Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others
(e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)


Giving Attribution to other OER

So you've found an OER that you want to adopt or adapt. How do you give credit? You will need to give attribution to the work which is a little bit different than citing the work. For best practices on citing an OER with a Creative Commons License, check out the Creative Commons Wiki.

For more information on how to give correct attribution to OERs with Creative Commons licenses, read Abbey Elder's chapter on OER and Copyright in her OER Starter Kit.