Answered By: Kristin Whitman
Last Updated: Sep 21, 2020     Views: 12

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in th

OER graphic showing the letters O, E, and R in various colors.

public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and 

perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:¹


The 5 Rs:²The 5 R's of Open Education: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute.

  • RETAIN – make, own, and control a copy of the resource
  • REUSE – use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly
  • REVISE – edit, adapt, and modify your copy of the resource
  • REMIX – combine your original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
  • REDISTRIBUTE – share copies of your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with other

Navigate our library's online guide about OER and Creative Commons

Curious? Search or browse the Open Textbook Library to check out some examples of open textbooks. 

 

Quick Guide to Creative Commons Licenses for Open Educational Resources (OER)

Applying a Creative Commons (CC) license to your original work changes its copyright status from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved” (or no rights reserved in the case of CC0). The following chart illustrates the permissions, requirements, and restrictions of the six CC licenses, from the least restrictive to the most restrictive. The first five licenses identify a resource as an OER. If a work has one of the latter two licenses, it may still be used in the ways described in this chart but it is not considered an OER.

Link & Icon

Licenses 

Author allows users to 

Author requires users to 

Author restricts users from 

creativecommons.org/publicdomaPublic Domain symbolin/zero/1.0

CC0 or CC Zero

Copy, distribute, display, perform, revise, and remix the work. 

creativecommIcon showing CC BY Licensesons.org/licenses/by/4.0 

CC BY 

Copy, distribute, display, perform, revise, and remix the work. 

Attribute or credit the author as requested. 

  

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/Icon showing CC BY-SA Licenses4.0 

CC BY-SA (CC By Share Alike) 

Copy, distribute, display, perform, and remix the work. 

Attribute or credit the author. Apply the same CC license used by the author to the derivative work. 

  

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0 Icon showing CC BY-NC Licenses

CC BY-NC (CC By Non- Commercial) 

Copy, distribute, display, perform, revise, and remix the work. 

Attribute or credit the author. 

Copying, distributing, displaying, performing, or remixing the work for commercial purposes. 

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0 Icon showing CC BY-NC-SA Licenses

CC BY-NC-SA (CC By Non- Commercial, Share Alike) 

Copy, distribute, display, perform, revise, and remix the work for noncommercial purposes. 

Attribute or credit the author. Apply the same CC license used by the author to the derivative work. 

Copying, distributing, displaying, performing, and remixing the work for commercial purposes. 

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0 Icon showing CC BY-ND Licenses

CC BY-ND (CC By No Derivative Works) 

Copy, distribute, display, and perform unchanged copies of the work. 

Attribute or credit the author. 

Remixing or creating derivatives of the work. 

creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0 Icon showing CC BY-Nc-ND

CC BY-NC-ND (CC By Non- Commercial, No Derivative Works) 

Copy, distribute, display, and perform unchanged copies of the work for noncommercial purposes. 

Attribute or credit the author. 

Remixing or creating derivatives of the work. Copying, distributing, displaying, performing, and remixing the work for commercial purposes

 

OER Graphic Image source: Markus Büsges (leomaria design) für Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

¹The 5 Rs of OER was created by Ontario Tech University and is a derivative of the ²5 R Permissions of OER by Lumen Learning, licensed under CC BY 4.0

²This work by D’Arcy Hutchings is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Modified from a chart in “Open and Editable” (in Virginia Libraries, https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/VALib/v61_n1/walz.html) by Anita Walz, CC BY. Modifications were inspired by portions of Taking OER Mainstream, by Cable Green, CC-BY 4.0.Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License This FAQ page created by Kristin Whitman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Note that other pages may have different attributions.