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Open Source & OER

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OER Definition

What are OER (Open Educational Resources)?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others."  

From The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Types of Open Materials

How do OER differ from Open Access, Public Domain, Library-Licensed, Affordable/Low-Cost/No-Cost Course Materials?

Open Access materials are freely available, digital, online information and can include books/ebooks, open access journals, and government documents. While Open Access materials often possess less-restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, they typically cannot be revised, remixed, or redistributed. 

Library-Licensed materials include ebooks, electronic journals, streaming videos, images, data, and more. Library-Licensed materials may be freely used by all students, staff, and faculty and can be adopted/remixed/reused in courses.

Affordable/Low-Cost/No-Cost materials include any free, low-cost, or openly licensed educational resources that can serve as alternatives to traditional textbooks. Most affordable course content resources carry standard copyright restrictions which affects how they are used or shared. OER remains the exception as it is free of cost and most copyright restrictions, which allows them to be freely used, revised, saved, and distributed.

Public Domain materials include materials whose copyright protection has lapsed, materials that have been legally placed in the domain, and materials specifically marked as public domain by the content creator.   

Spectrum of Open

spectrum of open


"The open and affordable community of Florida, OPEN FL, has defined open in a spectrum.  As you begin around the O we start with public domain, the most open content we can use in an educational setting and where you should start your journey to find suitable, quality content.  When you work your way around the O, the openness of the content actually closes, but all efforts support an open and affordable learning environment for our students."


Image & text: OPEN FL LibGuide, Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative.