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Open Educational Resources: How to Author

This guide introduces and explains open educational resources and provides help for faculty on finding, evaluating and creating OERs.

Author an Open Educational Resource

Check out these websites and tools to help you create your own open educational resource, whether from scratch or by adapting and combining materials from other OERs.

Copyright and Creative Commons

While many people equate open educational resources with "free to use," there's a second component that's just as important: licensed for reuse. Most OERs enjoy automatic copyright protection, meaning their creators have sole authority to make copies, distribute and adapt their work. 

By adding a reuse license to OERs, authors can ensure other teachers can easily use their OERs and adapt them for their own needs. One of the easiest ways to do this is through a Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons is a not-for-profit group that created a series of six licenses that allow copyright owners to pick and choose which rights they want to grant to the public in their works. Creative Commons licenses work with copyright law and actually give copyright owners certain protections - the right to attribution - that copyright law generally does not.

Although each Creative Commons license includes legal language behind it, they're also represented by easy-to-read icons that include a mix of these symbols:

Creative Commons Attribution icon  BY - Anyone who uses your work must give you attribution in the way you request but not in such a way to suggest endorsement.

Creative Commons Non-Commercial icon  NC - People are allowed to copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work in any way except for commercial profit.

Creative Commons Share Alike icon  SA - People are allowed to copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work so long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms you've licensed your work under.

Creative Commons No Derivatives icon  ND - People are allowed to copy, distribute, display, and perform your work but are not allowed to modify it.

Create your own Creative Commons license using a mix of these icons. Although you can use any of the six possible Creative Commons licenses that include a mix of these elements, understand that using the no derivatives requirement will block other teachers from adapting your material to their own needs.

Information adapted from Creative Commons.

Guide Licensing

Creative Commons License
University of Nevada, Reno Scholarly Communication and Open Access Guide by Teresa Auch Schultz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.