Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Communication: Finding Open Educational Resources

What are OER?

Open educational resources (OER) are "teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge." (SPARC's Open Education Fact Sheet)

How Can I Use OER?

When looking for OER, you may come across references to the following 5R activities described by David Wiley of Lumen Learning:

The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at

Creative Commons Licenses

It's likely the OER you decide to use will be made available under a Creative Commons license. A global nonprofit, Creative Commons offers a series of free copyright licenses that creators can apply to their works to specify what rights they retain and what use permissions they grant the public. To view licenses in their entirety, visit Creative Commons' About the Licenses page and click on the View Legal Code links for each license.

Where Can I Find OER?

oasis logo


Developed by The State University of New York and The City University of New York, OASIS allows you to search for open content from over 100 different OER sources, including BCcampus OpenEdOpen Textbook LibraryOpenStax, OpenSUNY Textbooks, and Teaching Commons.