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Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Open Education & Access @ Guilford


Hege Library & Learning Technologies is committed to supporting both low-and no-cost options for students’ learning resources and advancing openness and inclusiveness. We assist faculty in finding and using open educational resources. 

Please contact Discovery, Systems, and Digital Strategies Librarian, Liz Wade for more information and consultation.

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) is free, immediate, online access to publications which have few (if any) licensing and/or copyright restrictions. 

  • Open materials are designed to be accessed and used by anyone.

  • There are no paywalls, limits to the number of concurrent users, or embargoes.

  • Creators retain their copyrights using Creative Commons Licenses or other permission statements.

  • Full articles including data and supplementary materials are included. 

  • Publishing process is parallel to that of traditional publishers but shifts the payment responsibility from the reader to the creator and/or publisher, depending on the model.

    • Green OA

    • Gold OA

      • Author releases the final version of their work to be freely and immediately available upon publication by an OA publisher with an open license. 

      • Author usually is charged an Article Processing Charge (APC) to publish. 

      • Example: check out the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

What is OER?

OER are freely available teaching and learning materials that are in the public domain or are openly licensed to allow everyone access to:

  • Retain- ability to own, keep, and make copies of the item

  • Revise- ability to edit or modify the content

  • Reuse- ability to use the content in different ways

  • Remix- ability to combine content with other material 

  • Redistribute- ability to share content with others

OER can be textbooks, videos, online courses, or any other format. 

Note: the easiest way to identify OER is to look for a Creative Commons License or a Public Domain mark

What is the relationship between OA & OER?

All OER is considered open access but not all open access materials are OER. 

Items that are licensed with a Creative Commons No Derivatives (ND) license are not OER as they do not permit folks to edit or make other significant changes and share that content with others, which is a fundamental purpose of OER. 

This figure illustrates the range of Creative Commons licenses for open works from least to most restrictive: 

Adapted from: Creative Commons, Open Licensing & Open Education, by Cable Green, CC-BY

Why is Open Access important for faculty and students?

  • Open access allows both faculty and students to have full access to publications and does not limit them to what they can afford personally or what is available to them through their institution’s subscriptions. 
  • Open access allows for timely access to current research and ideas and does not expire when students graduate or when faculty move to a different institution. 

  • Open access promotes equality for all learners regardless of background or size of institution. 

Why is OER important for students and faculty?

  • OER saves students money and provides equal opportunities for learning
  • OER gives faculty the opportunity to remix content to make better course resources (and even collaborate with students in order to achieve this!) 

  • Students can access materials right away and retain them as long as they like; they don’t have to sell back costly textbooks, wait for an access code, or lose access to online resources at the end of the course