Due to advanced technology and the spread of digital materials available online, a new model for publishing, teaching, and learning materials has been created. This new model is Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are teaching, learning, and research resources in Public Domain or with Creative Commons licenses that allows the user to work with the material, create new works, make changes, if needed while attributing the original materials (the 5 Rs: Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute). OER includes materials such as full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, tests, and any other materials related to teaching and learning.
Open Access (OA), on the other hand refers to scholarly publications in the Public Domain or released under Creative Commons licenses in open access journals. The advocates believe that the old model of publishing that was based on physical items such as print journals and books was too slow in communicating the results of research and was captive in the hands of publishers who wanted to profit from these research materials. They claim that most researchers are not looking for financial gain from their research rather they are looking for recognition in their academic field by their peers.
Sometimes, the existence of Predatory Publishers in online environment confuses researchers in whom they trust for publishing their research in Open Access publishing. You must be careful to evaluate these resources. Are the open access journals legitimate? You should investigate who are the creators? Are the websites containing these resources valid?
As for copyright law, the basic premise of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) materials is the consent of authors to make their works available for free online to be used by anyone. Creative Commons licenses help them to manage the usage of their works.
For more information about Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) materials please go to our OA LibGuide, OER LibGuide, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and OER Commons websites.