“Teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. Open licensing is built within the existing framework of intellectual property rights as defined by relevant international conventions and respects the authorship of the work.” — Definition of OER by UNESCO, 2002
Free vs. Open
What’s the difference between “Free” and “Open” ? Free isn’t not necessarily open. What’s “Open”? Let us refer to the Open Content definition from David Wiley. Wiley refers to open content as meeting the “4R’s”:
Reuse – the right to reuse the content in its unaltered / verbatim form (e.g., make a backup copy of the content)
Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)
Many resources and software are “free” but not “open”.
About Open Licenses
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of Copyright Terms, Creative Commons, and Public Domain, read some of the content available in these links below.