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Open Educational Resources for Psychology: Why Use Open Access Materials

Links to OER and library resources to be used in Psychology courses.

What are Open Educational Resources?

"Open Educational Resources (OER) are high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge. They also demonstrate great potential as a mechanism for instructional innovation as networks of teachers and learners share best practices." - The Hewlett Foundation

According to the Open Education Handbook OER need to meet the "5Rs Framework." This framework outlines that resources are free, and that users have the legal right to: 

  • Retain- Make, own, and control copies of content
  • Reuse- Use unaltered content in a wide range of ways (posting to Blackboard, distributing in class, emailing to colleagues and students, etc.)
  • Revise- Adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself 
  • Remix- The original or revised content can be combined with other open content to create something new 
  • Redistribute- Original content, your revisions, or your remixes can be shared with others 

OERs are not just textbooks, other common resources include:

  • Learning modules
  • Syllabi
  • Learning objects
  • Course websites
  • Lectures and presentations
  • Course materials
  • Activities, labs, assignments
  • Software
  • Videos

Benefits of Open Access Course Materials

Open educational resources (OERs) are materials that are free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

“Many researchers release their previously unpublished work under a Creative Commons (CC) license, that allows you to authorize some uses of your work, while preventing others... For more information, please visit the websites for Creative Commons.” (Open Access, Montclair State University,

OERs can be used to customize course materials and are often used to save students the cost of buying an expensive textbook.

The following "Quick Guide to Open Educational Resources" is from Georgia State University Library at

Quick Guide to Open Educational Resources

UCNJ LibGuides at Union College