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Open Access / Open Educational Resources: Research Guide

start here icon  So...What are Open Access and Open Education?

Open access refers to content made publicly and legally accessible and freely usable and shareable. This designation takes many forms: research publications- like books, articles, and texts- software, data sets, and even media like video, music, lectures, or art. All of this has great value to education, professors and students alike! 

Open education then refers to those teaching, learning, and research resources created within the philosophy of open access. These materials, usually called open educational resources (OER), are aimed at reducing barriers to educational content and tools, and creating a wider and more robust pool of information available for all. 

To learn about open access more deeply, take a look at these sources:

What is Open Access? What is Open Education?
Peter Suber's Open Access Overview What is Open Education? (from The Open University)
"What is Open Access?" by Charles W. Bailey Jr. What is Open Education? (from
Budapest Open Access Initiative Why OER? (from Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources)
Open Access 101 (video by Karen Rustad) Open Education Intro (video by Robin DeRosa)
Open Access Explained! (video by PHD TV) Open Educational Resources: Digital Materials for Today's Knowledge Ecology (video by Carl Blyth)

What are the benefits of open access?

  • Faster transmission of ideas
  • Greater visibility for authors 
  • Larger pool of sources for students/researchers
  • Helps to reduce inequalities in information access
  • Professors have access to current information
  • Access to academic research beyond a degree
  • Increases sharing amongst researchers


The videos below will quickly introduce the concept of Open Educational Resources and their importance in higher education.



login icon  Open Access Research

Through the library, students and professors have access to numerous academic sources - books and periodicals in print and online through our research databases. But large numbers of these sources exist beyond the traditional publishing models and are freely available online through open source tools. 

One such tool is called OASIS, which searches over 150,000 different OER titles from 52 unique sources. You can search for materials using the search box below.



The majority of open access journal publishers are reputable organizations, often administered by universities and field experts, but be wary - there is a growing number of predatory publishers in this realm. The list below recommends legitimate sources of academic articles. 

For a more complete list of open access article sources, please visit this page


Most open access books are categorized as such because they've fallen into the public domain, but many publishers also make their content accessible online. 

  • Directory of Open Access Books - Nearly 200 publishers have offered 7,600+ peer-reviewed books for research purposes
  • epubBooks - Large collection of public domain books from the last 400 years of literature, all in epub format
  • Hathi Trust Digital Library - Partnering with over 120 research institutions and libraries, Hathi Trust provides a robust library of public domain (and legally available copyrighted) texts 
  • Internet Archive: ebooks and Texts - Collection of over 11 million ebooks, including contents of the Open Library project, that are able to be downloaded or read online
  • Project Gutenburg - Over 53,000 free ebooks in a variety of formats that are all copyright-free in the United States

For a more complete list of open access image sources, please visit this page.


Students and professors frequently need images to use in presentations, speeches, handouts, and other projects. While it is easy to find accessible media online, most images, audio, and video are subject to copyright rules and should not be used without permission from the content creator. There are, instead, numerous sources of copyright-free media items available! Many are published using Creative Commons licensing that allows for materials to be shared with appropriate attribution. 

For a more complete list of open access book/textbook sources, please visit this page

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articles icon  Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources exist in many different formats, but primarily they fall into two main categories: media (video, images, sound recordings, slides, etc) and learning objects (handouts, lectures, assessments, etc). 


The publishers listed below provide open access, academic-quality textbooks designed to provide no-cost options to students and professors. 

For a more complete list of open access book/textbook sources, please visit this page

Teaching Materials

Many educators have made materials like slides, tutorials, graphics, handouts, presentations, assessments, and many other tools available for others to use in their campus or virtual classrooms, and to help students master specific contents frequently found in your courses. 

How to Publish OERs

The open education community continues to grow larger due to the collective efforts of educators sharing resources and collaborating to create new works. If you'd like to share lessons, modules, or learning objects that you've developed the following sites will help you to publish your open educational resources: