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Open Access and Open Educational Resources

Information resources, tools, and links to learn about, access, and utilize Open Resources

What is "Open"?

The "Open" movement includes but is not limited to Open Access (OA), Open Educational Resources (OER), and Open Data.  The goal is for everyone to be able to access research and education resources and contribute their knowledge to these resources.

Oxy library is a member of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design.

SPARC logo

Open Access (OA)

What is Open Access (OA)? 

OA is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.  The video What is Open Access? gives a good overview.

Open Science is a subset of Open Access.  In August 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a guidance (the Nelson Memo) with the goal to ensure free, immediate, equitable access to federally funded research.  This memorandum calls on federal agencies to eliminate the current 12 month wait period for access to federally funded research (articles and data).  The policies in this memo will take effect on January 1, 2026.

Learn more about OA here:


Open Educational Resources (OER)

What are OER?

OER are educational materials that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. Generally, this permission is granted by the use of an open license which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere. OER include full courses, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, test banks, software, and any other materials used in education.  

What does this mean?

  • Openly-licensed: A method to grant the public permission to use a creative work such as a Creative Commons license (see more below).
  • Freely Available: The resources must be freely available online with no fee to access. A true OER is free to access at all times, unless the resource is printed and must be bought for the price of materials (nominal cost).
  • Modifiable: The resource must be editable. This means that it must be licensed under an open license that allows for repurposing and remixing. 

Open licenses like Creative Commons licenses are used to communicate what a user can do with a resource, and what rights its author would like to retain. These licenses give others a variety of permissions, making their use or reuse of your resource a faster and more transparent process. For example, some creators may wish to share their work, but not to allow users to sell adaptations of their work. 

The most common CC license is the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY). This license allows users to adapt and reuse content with limited restrictions. The only requirement for reusing a CC BY-licensed work is that any new work created must provide attribution to the original creator and a link to the original work. 

The content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License