OPEN & AFFORDABLE
What are Open Educational Resources (OERs)?
OERs are free resources that teachers may use or modify in any way, for their own pedagogical purposes. OERs can be used "as is" or may be freely changed or adapted without having to get permission from a copyright holder, and typically without restrictions. Educators may use OERs in their courses as free materials for students to access, often as a replacement for costly textbooks. Educators may also use OERs simply for ideas on how to improve their own course materials.
What are Affordable Educational Resources (AERs)?
LOUIS Libraries has coined the term "Affordable Educational Resources", or AERs, to identify free or low-cost instructional resources that ensure "students have equitable access to course materials on the first day of class." AERs are often used in academic courses in Louisiana as textbook replacements. AERs include both library resources, open access resources, and other low-cost materials.
Types of AERs:
What is open access research ?
Open-access resources are scholarly Web-based research sources (journals, books, & data) that anyone -- including unaffiliated online researchers, not just enrolled students and library users -- can access and read for free. Open access resources can be used as AERs in courses. Open access resources may be free to read, but they cannot be used outside of "fair use" circumstances or modified without permission.
Terms to know
OER definition from
OEN = Open Education Network.
OEP = Open educational practices leverage open license permissions to engage students as creators, not just consumers, and to shift from disposable assignments to authentic, renewable assignments.
CRT = Culturally Responsive Teaching, which can be enhanced by using OERs in the classroom.
OTL = Open Textbook Library
AER = Affordable educational resource
ZTC = Zero Textbook Cost
|Needs and Benefits of OA|
SPARC makes the case for Open Access research.
The Need for Completely Open Resources*
Researchers need both open access research (cost-free to read and use within "fair use" limits), and permissions-free research they may use however they like. Both freedoms are needed for resources to be considered "completely open."
Peter Suber, a leading scholar and proponent of open access, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, and Director of the Harvard Open Access Project, argues that researchers (and in turn, society) would greatly benefit from a wider scope of permissions-free uses:
With completely open-licensed research (permission to use research in any way), scholars, scientists, and researchers would not have to worry about whether their use is legally "fair use" : rather, an open license permits them to modify, adapt, remix, translate, re-distribute, etc. in order to advance research and knowledge in their discipline.
Source: Suber, Peter. Open Access. M.I.T. Press, 2012.
Government Policy and Law
|Sims Library "Affordable Learning" Initiative|
Discover our latest "Affordable Learning" resources, programs, and presentations!
"Affordable Learning" presentation, April 2021
|Find Open Access Research to Read|
Open Access Discovery Aids
Open Access Resource Lists for Students
Multidisciplinary Web Resources
Although most government-produced information is free and open access to the public, some of it is fee-based or commercially provided. Below are government resources providing publicly available research and data.
|Open Access by Discipline|
Don't see your discipline? Check back later, this page is a work in progress.
Find discipline-specific open access resources in these lists of repositories, preprint servers, journals, and databases.
Medicine and Health
Social Sciences, Criminal Justice, and Law
Sciences and Engineering
History and Philosophy
Arts and Literature
|Teach with Open and Affordable Materials|
Find e-journals and e-books in Sims Library databases to provide free course materials to students.
Find OTL textbooks at Sims by browsing this list.
Or, use our library's Quick Search database and limit to eTextbooks:
Browse Open Textbook Library's website for more open textbooks!
|Find OERs for your Course|
OER Repositories and Platforms for Faculty
Find OERs you can use and adapt for your own courses.
|OERs by Course|
OERS for Equitable and Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT)
|Publish Open and Affordable Resources|
Public domain works are not protected by copyright or licenses, either because they were created or published before 1923, or because they've been donated to the public domain by their owners.
"Open licenses" are based on a "some-rights-reserved" or "zero-rights-reserved" copyright, rather than "all-rights-reserved" copyright.
The 5 "R" (rights) activities permitted (at least to some extent) by open licenses*:
1. Retain - make, own, and control your own copy (e.g., download and keep your own copy)
2. Reuse - use your original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource publicly (e.g., on a website, in a presentation, in a class)
3. Revise - adapt, edit, modify the content (e.g., translate into another language)
4. Remix - incorporate the content into a new OER creation or product (e.g., make a mashup)
5. Redistribute - share your copies, revisions, and remixes with others (e.g., post a copy online or give one to a friend)
* Source: adapted from David Wiley under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license and opencontent.org.
Creative Commons open licenses
Mouse-over each icon for a definition of that CC license.
All licenses except CC0 (Public Domain) require attribution to the original copyright holder.
|Open Access Publishing Tools and Licensing|
|Major OA Publishers|
|Open Access Publishing Mandates|
Funding agencies as well as universities may require researchers to deposit their work in an open-access repository. These mandates do not usually block an author's right to also publish in a conventional "toll-access" peer-reviewed journal.
University mandate types:
Some funders, such as Wellcome Trust and National Institutes of Health (NIH), have similar OA mandates as universities, but without offering "waivers."
Source: Suber, Peter. Open Access. M.I.T. Press, 2012.
Open Access journals = "Gold" OA
Open Access repositories = "Green" OA
Terms to know
APC = Article Processing Charge, levied on authors to publish an article in some OA journals.
Predatory Journals/Publishers = “Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship, and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.” (See Grudniewicz et al.)
|Peer Review and Open Access|
OA journals may accommodate either a traditional or innovative peer review model.
"Open review" is a process in which a submission becomes OA, contingent on a pre-publication review that receives community comments and input.