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Copyright and Licensing for Instructors: Open Access

What is Open?

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Open Access (OA) refers to digital, freely accessible research or articles that are not restricted in their access or use by licenses.

OA is a label typically applied to journals, articles, and other research publications.

Publishing OA does not relinquish all rights but typically retain some rights through a Creative Commons License.


Creative Commons Logo

Creative Commons is a license applied to a work instead of copyright. There are four conditions: Attribution (by), Share Alike (sa), Non-commercial (nc), and No-derivatives (nd). These conditions can be combined by the creator or author of a work to license the work with some rights retained. Works licensed with a Creative Commons license can be linked to, and used in a course in a way that does not violate the license conditions.

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Public Domain Icon

Public Domain refers to works that are not licensed under copyright or Creative Commons. This is typically because:

  1. The author or creator has chosen to waive all rights
  2. The term of the copyright has expired
  3. The author failed to satisfy statutory formalities to perfect the copyright
  4. The work was published by the U.S Government


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Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely available educational materials, including media and textbooks, that are openly licensed, typically with a Creative Commons license or in the Public Domain. Check more for more OER information coming soon.