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Open educational resources (OER)

Find, create and evaluate OER materials, available to legally and freely copy, such as ebooks, images, audio, video and software. Understand copyright and Creative Commons (CC) licences.

Creative Commons explained

Creative Commons and how it helps us share digital content (YouTube, 5m30s) explains how to share downloaded digital content legally using Creative Commons licences.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons provides free copyright licences to offer a simple and standardised way to give permission to share and use creative works.

Creative Commons licenses - Most open to least open - CC0, BY, BY SA, BY ND, BY NC, BY NC SA, BY NC ND

The four different licence elements are:

 Attribution: You must always provide credit to the original author - BY

 Share-Alike: If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same licence as the original - SA

 Non-Commercial: You may not use the material for commercial purposes - NC

No-Derivatives: You may not distribute modified versions of the work - ND


For Open Educational Resources (OERs), try to use Creative Commons material with:

  • BY - This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work, even commercially, as long as they credit the creator of the original.
  • BY-NC - This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work, but not for commercial purposes. The creator of the original must be credited.
  • BY-SA  - This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon a work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the original creator and license their new creations under the identical terms.

If you are creating an open course or MOOC, that later is commercialised,  you can still use the resources if they have a BY or BY SA licence.

Image by [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Attributing resources

You must acknowledge the creator and include any copyright information when you use a resource.

The attribution should include the Title, Author, Source, and Licence.

The basic requirements are:

  • Title of the work - link to the original source
  • Author or creator - link to their page, if available
  • Type of licence it is available under - link to the licence
  • If it has been modified.

Note: If you use any materials licensed CC BY 2.0 be very careful to attribute exactly as set out in the licence as it has been superseded and has strict attribution requirements that can make it easy to make a mistake. Materials licensed CC BY 4.0 are preferred.

Example attribution

Example of how to attribute this guide:

"Open Educational Resources (OER)" by the University of Queensland Library is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0