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Scholarly Communication: Open Educational Resources

An introductory guide to issues in scholarly communication, including scholarly publishing, copyright, author rights, open access, open educational resources, and institutional repositories.

What Are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.

- "Open Education Fact Sheet," SPARC

Defining "Open"

According to David Wiley, the terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  1. Retain - make, own, and control a copy of the resource (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
  2. Revise - edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource (e.g., translate into another language)
  3. Remix - combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new (e.g., make a mashup)
  4. Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
  5. Redistribute - share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)

Illustration the 5 permissions of open education

Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources was written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

How to Adopt and Adapt OER?

Adopting and adapting OER is not only about saving students' money on textbooks, it is about ensuring equitable access to learning materials for all students and embracing the philosophy of open pedagogy.

Another approach that is central to open pedagogy is the use of renewable assignments. The video below explains how faculty can leverage renewable assignments to create and adapt OER for their courses. 

How to Find OER?

Provides access to dozens of textbooks with an emphasis on large enrollment courses.

OER search tool to facilitate the discovery of open learning content in different media formats.

Thousands of academic, peer-reviewed books and book chapters.

Open textbooks form multiple disciplines with an emphasis on 1st and 2nd year courses. It offer WYSIWYG editing of all content and the ability to add/remove content.

Search engine that searches multiple OER sources with one interface.

This is a searchable file of all known open textbooks published on the Pressbooks platform.