The term ‘open educational resource’ is defined by US Congress to mean, "(6) a teaching, learning, or research resource that is offered freely to users in at least one form and that resides in the public domain or has been released under an open copyright license that allows for its free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with attribution."
Affordable resources can be defined as teaching, learning, or research resources available and low cost to students, such as library materials or low-cost textbooks. True OERs are considered open and available at no cost to all users, following the 5Rs of openness.
The “5 Rs” is a framework that encourages educators to capitalize on the unique rights associated with open content. These rights include the ability to:
Open Access (OA) content is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Open Educational Resources (OER) are materials of any medium that are used for the purpose of teaching and learning. OER are either from the public domain or have an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistribution by others with no or limited resources.
The philosophy of Open Access and Open Educational Resources are similar in their goal of promoting free access to information, but they address different parts of the information lifecycle.
|Describes published scholarly articles and data||Describes materials created for teaching and learning|
|Materials exist in a digital, online format and are copyrightable||Materials can be in any format (digital or physical) and can be modified|
|Accessible through a publisher (Gold OA) or a digital repository (Green OA)||Can include OA if the license permits customization|
|Addresses affordability concerns of publishing and access to research||Addresses affordability concerns of textbooks or other course content|
Visit our guide on Finding Open Access Content for links to large repositories and other resources for free, openly available research.