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Open Access and Open Educational Resources: Home

About This Guide

This guide provides summary information about Open Access publishing and Open Educational Resources. For detailed information about Open Educational Resources at the College of DuPage, please go to

What is Open Access?

According to SPARC, "Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment."¹

The Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), decreed that scholars can "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers."²

In stark contrast to the traditional journal publishing model, this means that research is accessible to all either through author-archived versions of articles that are placed in institutional repositories or other openly accessible websites, or directly through open access publications.


The self-archiving option in which the author makes research available through an institutional repository such as the College of DuPage Digital Commons, is known as Green OA. Making research available immediately through publication in an open access journal is known as Gold OA.

Why is Open Access Important?

For Faculty

  • Researchers retain most or all of their rights.
  • Scholars can safely share their work in our institutional repository
  • Aligns with openly accessible requirement of many grant funded projects

For Students

  • A broad range of scholarship is available to students beyond library subscription resources
  • Students retain access to educational materials after they leave the institution

For the Scholarly Community

  • There is no embargo on OA research (quicker publication)
  • Open licensing allows other researchers to use and build upon research
  • Publicly funded research is made freely available to the public

What are 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.3

Creative Commons licenses allow a range of options for using OER, including (at a minimum) making, distributing, and retaining copies, but also potentially modifying the original work, and/or combining the content with other openly licensed materials.

Most definitions of OER include the ability to participate in all of the activities that open licensing allows. Under such definitions, only those resources that permit editing and remixing in addition to using, retaining, and sharing, would qualify as OER. 

Apply "the 5R's" when reviewing materials for openness and categorizing them as OER.

Does the license on the material allow:

  • Reuse: Allows reuse in its current form
  • Remixing: Allows combining the content with other materials that have compatible licenses
  • Revising: Allows adaptations, adjustments, modifications, and/or alterations.
  • Retention (retain): Users can make copies and archive copies of the material.
  • Redistribution: Copies of the material can be shared with others in its original form, revised, or remixed form. 

Any resource used for teaching and learning may be licensed by the creator as an Open Educational Resource; a syllabus, an assignment, a video, a test, can all be licensed openly. OER can be combined/remixed to create open textbooks and open courses.

Review OER at COD infographic (PDF)

How are Open Access and OER Different?

Open access typically refers to scholarly/research literature that is published or archived under an open license so that it is freely available to anyone with access to the internet. Open licensing allows the work, minimally, to be freely accessed, shared, and distributed. Some open access material is licensed to allow derivatives, remixing, etc. 

Open educational resources can be any kind of teaching, learning, and research material that is openly licensed to give users permissions beyond access such as copying, sharing, retaining, modifying and remixing the work.

It is important to note that Open Educational Resources are considered Open Access materials because of their open licensing. However, not all Open Access materials are OER. The distinction is that many Open Access materials have the "Non-Derivative" clause included in their license. Materials that do not allow adaptation cannot be considered OER. 

Why are OER Important?

For Faculty

  • Increased ability to customize course materials to meet learning objectives
  • Ability to modify/update course materials when necessary
  • Students have access to content on the first day of class
  • Students can interact with OER materials in ways that are not possible with copyrighted content (Open Pedagogy)
  • OER work can be used in faculty evaluation and tenure portfolios

For Students

  • Free online access to course content (or low-cost printed version)
  • Students have access to content on first day of class
  • Students can use OER themselves to create new content.
  • Students can retain their course materials in perpetuity.


1 "Open Access to Scholarly and Scientific Research Articles" by SPARC is licensed CC BY 3.0.

2 "BOAI15" by Budapest Open Access Initiative is licensed CC BY 3.0.

3 "Open Education" by Creative Commons is licensed CC BY 4.0.

4 "Defining the "Open" in Open Content and Open Educational Resources" by David Wiley is licensed CC BY 4.0

"Open Access and Open Educational Resources" LibGuide by Denise Cote is a derivative of the April 2022 Creative Commons Certificate Course by Creative Commons, licensed CC BY 4.0.
This work is adapted from Jill Hallam-Miller and from the Creative Commons Certificate Course Unit 5: Creative Commons for Librarians.

[Note: This page was made as an assignment for a course. It will be unpublished on April 25, 2022.]

Open Access and Open Educational Resources by Denise Cote is licensed under CC BY 4.0