"Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others." (UNESCO)
Are OER always textbooks? No! OER can include textbooks, books, scholarly journals and articles, datasets, research guides, videos, images, presentations, tutorials, activities, assignments, modules, courses, and more!
All materials, even free resources published on the web, are automatically protected by copyright. Typically, re-use of a copyrighted work would require obtaining permission from the copyright owner – usually the creator of the work, whether an individual, a group, or a company/organization.
Open Licenses are a set of conditions applied to an original work that grant permission for anyone to make use of that work. The copyright owner can choose to openly license their work if they want others to be able to use it freely, build on it, customize it or improve it. Open licenses therefore give permission to anyone to use the work at no cost, and generally allow anyone to modify the work with no or minimal restriction (such as acknowledging the original author’s work).
There are different open licenses available, but Creative Commons licenses are among the most widely used.
Adapted from www.yearofopen.org under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The "5R" Framework, proposed by David Wiley, outlines five essential practices associated with OER and permitted by open licenses:
Adapted from The Access Compromise and the 5th R by David Wiley under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Briefly, open licenses are what set OER apart from other free, zero-cost, and affordable educational resources.