Open Access, OER and MOOCs

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

The open access model exists within the constraints of normal copyright law, meaning authors still retain their right to be properly attributed, and for their work to be reproduced faithfully.

If you want to share your work using the Open Access model refer to the guide on Open Access for more information.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.

More information about OER is on the Creative Commons website.

Where to find OER

List adapted from Mark Lieberman’s article The Truth (About OER) Is Out There.


A massive open online course (MOOC) delivers learning materials for free via the internet. Because the course is available openly on the web, the usual licences and copyright exceptions that we rely on for teaching do not apply in the MOOC environment.  

How can you put content that has been created and published by a third party in your MOOC?

  • Get permission from the copyright owner.
    In most instances this will be the publisher.
  • Look for content that is available online for free through an open link. Students may link to the article.
  • Give students the citation details with the expectation that they will acquire it for themselves (buy, borrow, interloan it from a library, or find it online).
  • Negotiate with a textbook publisher to make it available for the course.
    Some publishers may agree to offer a full-text version of the book in a static read-only format, with the option for students to buy a downloadable, searchable version or a print edition at a discounted price.