Open Educational Resources (OER) are "free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.” They are part of a wider movement to provide alternatives to the restrictions of traditional publishing models.
Many types of educational content fall can fall under this category, but the two key components are:
Free, meaning simply that materials that are free of charge. There are no associated costs with the item for the user, and institutions do not pay a subscriber's fee for access.
Open, as in "openly licensed." When something is openly licensed, it means that the creator allows others to use and share their work, and potentially modify the content. Under traditional copyright, this type of sharing would not be permitted. Creative Commons Licenses are a way to extend more rights to users, in a sense "opening" the resource to others. See more about this topic in the following tab.
OER is at a tipping point. Here's how to keep it moving in the right direction. - EdScoop, April 2018
When it comes to Free Textbooks, who Pays? - Forbes, July 2018
OER Gains Momentum on the Federal Level - InsideHigherEd, March 2018
A Guide to Good OER Stewardship - InsideHigherEd, March 2018
Open Educational Resources (OER) in HigherEd - EdSurge, January 2018
Use of Free Textbooks Is Rising, but Barriers Remain - Chronicle of Higher Education, December 2017
OER Mythbusting: The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provides context for some common myths surrounding OER.
Read the full text of SPARC's OER Mythbusting guide, here.