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What is OA/Open Access?

As defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative

Open Access (OA) to research means free “availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of [research] articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution and the only role for copyright in this domain should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

As defined by UNESCO

Open access (OA) means free access to information and unrestricted use of electronic resources for everyone. Any kind of digital content can be OA, from texts and data to software, audio, video, and multi-media. While most of these are related to text only, a growing number are integrating text with images, data, and executable code. OA can also apply to non-scholarly content, like music, movies, and novels.

Open Access Explained

Open Society Foundations

Open Education and Open Education Resources

Creative Commons: Open Education

Open education is an idea, a set of content, practices, policy, and community which, properly leveraged, can help everyone in the world access free, effective, open learning materials for the marginal cost of zero.

Creative Commons Wiki: Open Education Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities.

What is OER?

Additional OER Videos provided by:The Council of Chief State School Officers

Relationship Between OA and OER

OA and OER relay on free and open information, "Both OER and OA materials take different forms including text, images of various types, video, and audio."

Generally OER is viewed as being "intended for teachers and learners, and they include the wide range of textbooks and related course resources." OA on the other hand focuses on "learning environments and the movement aims to capture a global student-teacher audience in distance-learning and open-learning environments."

There may be slight varition for target audiences, but since OA and OER are by definition open, the information may be available for all audiences. Sharing information intended to be open should be able to be accessed by all.

Additionally, OER is likely to be create through the use of Open Access resources. OA Publishing London states the following:

"Open access" is a significant multinational movement that aims to provide free and open internet access to academic content, such as articles and data. Undoubtedly, one of the most significant benefits of open access publishing is that it promotes the visibility and repurposing of academic research findings. So the importance of open access for academia is undeniable.

Benefits for Students

OA Publishing London lists several reasons how OA benefits students.

Scholarly research will be more easily accessible and searchable as a result of open access, and this will have a significant favourable influence on students from every field of academics.

It doesn't matter if you're on campus or your library has a subscription. You can access anything online from any place.

Subscriptions to journals prevent even the wealthiest colleges from providing their students with the whole scientific record. Smaller or less well-funded schools and institutions must make do with whatever library access they can get.

Additionally, they point out that once a student graduates they often lose access to the resources available as a student. Open Access resources remove that barrier.

OER Resources can have an immediate postive effect on students.

OER remove price barriers, saving students money and making it possible for everyone to have their own copy of required course materials from the first day of class. No more waiting for delayed orders to arrive at the campus bookstore

A survey released in 2014 by Maryland PIRG and the Student Government Association at the University of Maryland showed that 65% of students had opted out of buying a required college textbook due to its high price. Nearly half of the survey respondents also said the cost of textbooks impacted how many and which classes they took each semester.

Importance for Faculty

Faculty, Instructors, and really anyone who teaches should be made aware of how OA is important to them. Advantages for teachers include:

Open Access boosts research and increases the number of people who read research articles. Open access is a public service that also protects a professors' rights. It gives academics, their colleagues, and students access to research that goes beyond the scope of the library and personal subscriptions. Lastly, open access journals allow the results of academic research to be distributed more quickly and broadly.

OER for Faculty includes:

OER allow revising and remixing of content so that faculty can teach exactly what they want to teach and how they want to teach it. Through the use of OER teachers can lessen the financial burden on their students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that from 2006 to 2016, the cost of textbooks increased 88%. Towson University estimated that full-time undergraduates would spend $1060 on textbooks during the 2017-2018 school year.

Resource Links: Calvin T. Ryan Library


What is OA/Open Access
Commons, C. (n.d.). 5.1 open access to scholarship. 5.1 Open Access to Scholarship | Creative Commons Certificate for Educators, Academic Librarians and GLAM. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from
UNESCO. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

Open Education and Open Education Resources Defined
Commons, C. (n.d.). 5.2 OER, open textbooks, and open courses. 5.2 OER, Open Textbooks, and Open Courses | Creative Commons Certificate for Educators, Academic Librarians and GLAM. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

What is OER? What is OER? - Creative Commons. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

Relationship Between OA and OER
Aubron, X. (n.d.). Link between OER and open access. GT. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

Importance of open access for Academia. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

Benefits for Students
Importance of open access for Academia. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from
Open Educational Resources (OER): Why should I use OER? Research Guides. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

Importance for Faculty
Importance of open access for Academia. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from
Open Educational Resources (OER): Why should I use OER? Research Guides. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2022, from

cc license

"What is OA & OER" by Todd Jensen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.