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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Open Educational Resources

Licensing OER

OER Licenses

Open educational resources (OER) are not just openly available and free to download, but are also licensed in a way that allows for their reuse. This reuse option is a very important part of the usefulness of OERs and is frequently referred to as the 5Rs:

  • Retain - the right to maintain your own copies of a work
  • Reuse - the right to use a work in multiple different ways (in a class, on a website, in a paper)
  • Revise - the right to modify the work to suit your needs
  • Remix - the right to combine the work with other content
  • Redistribute - the right to share copies of the work (including any revisions or remixing you may have done)

Creative Commons Licenses

Most OERs have a Creative Commons license on them. Creative Commons (CC) licenses allow the creator of a work to change the copyright from "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved". There are a variety of CC licenses authors can choose from and they can be mixed and matched as needed. Many of the licenses allow users to edit the materials and customize them for a different use. Most of the licenses require users to provide credit to the original creator. Some licenses specify that you can remix and reuse, but not for commercial purposes. And there is also an option for limiting the creation of derivative works (although that wouldn't be considered OER anymore). The main CC licenses are listed below, but the Creative Commons website has more useful information about license specifics, and their License Chooser tool is especially helpful for navigating the decisions to make and generating a license for your work.

How can the Libraries help?

Librarians can help instructors by reviewing any relevant content licenses to ensure that what you're adopting is truly OER, or that changes you wish to make are allowed and that appropriate open licenses are applied to resulting products. If you're creating new OER, we can consult to help you choose the right license to make your work open and accessible. 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Generic License.