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Open Educational & Open Access Resources: OER & OA Overview

What is Open Access?

  • As defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative, Open Access (OA) research means free “availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of [research] articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution and the only role for copyright in this domain should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."
  • There are 2 major types of OA:
    • Green OA: When the author makes their article openly available via an institutional archive, repository, or personal website.
    • Gold OA: 1) When the publisher makes an article openly available from the publisher's website, 2) articles are licensed for sharing and reuse via Creative Commons licenses or similar, and 3) authors typically pay a fee if they wish to publish an article online allowing for free public access and retain the copyright.
  • Components of OA:
    • Authors keep their copyright. (we can talk about and reference author addenda).
    • Zero embargo period.
    • Share the research data with the article.
    • Add a Creative Commons license to the research article that enables text and data mining (any of the non ND licenses work, but CC BY is preferred).

What are Open Educational Resources?

  • Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.
  • Open educational materials are licensed in a manner that provide the public with permission to engage in the 5R activities which are:
    • Retain – permission to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
    • Reuse – permission to 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 – permission to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
    • Remix – permission to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
    • Redistribute – permission to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of to a friend)

This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at

Relationship Between OA & OER

Both OA and OER are inspired by the open movement. They both aim to remove knowledge from behind paywalls, but they differ in their purpose. OA focuses more on research whereas OER focuses more on teaching and learning. This following document compares and contrasts OA and OER: