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Copyright and Fair Use: OER Resources

This guide will help students and faculty understand copyright, fair use, and plagiarism better.

OER Open Educational Resources

OER Resource Repositories

  • American Institute of Mathematics Approved Textbooks - The list groups open textbooks by course title. All the books have been judged to meet the evaluation criteria set by the AIM editorial board
  • BBCCampus - This repository pulls from other repositories, but adds value by only listing textbooks that have been reviewed by faculty, meet our accessibility requirements, and/or include ancillary materials
  • BookBoon - Free textbooks written by professors from the world’s top universities, all on one easy-to-use online ebook platform.
  • CC Search - All content here is marked as being available for reuse under a Creative Commons legal tool. 
  • Cornell Open - Includes books social science, humanities, and environmental science.
  • EdTech Books - This is a great place for online learning, instructional design, and education fields
  • Illinois Open Educational Resources - A set of collected materials from across the internet for all education levels. 
  • National Science Digital Library - serving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, with content licensed under Creative Commons.
  • OER Commons - This digital library is hosted by the non-profit that registers CC licenses. You can find a wide variety of things here. 
  • Open Library - The repository of Open Educational Resources (OER) in Ontario has a wide variety of topics in its collection. 
  • Open Stax - Is easy to search by subject is really great for General Education classes 
  • Open SUNY - This is the State University of New York systems repository and it includes a wide variety of resources. 
  • Open Textbook Library - This repository pulls from other repositories, but adds value by listing books that have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality
  • PDXOPEN - The repository of Portland State University and has a wide variety of topics in its collection. 
  • Scottsdale Community College - provides a quick link to pdf’s of current Math OER materials.
  • Skills Commons - Free and open digital library of Workforce Training Materials
  • Teaching Commons - The Teaching Commons showcases high-quality open educational resources from leading colleges and universities and includes open-access textbooks, course materials, lesson plans, multimedia, lectures, k-12 materials, and more.
  • Temoa - find Educational resources, courses, and communities from the Tecnológico de Monterrey System in México (website in english materials in Spanish)
  • Wiki Books - the open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit.

Open Courses

  • MIT Open Courseware - is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
  • Open Yale Courses - provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.

Inclusive Access Courses

  • Lumen Learning - Integrates OER textbooks with online learning platforms. Normally costs, but at the moment they are offering to move current classes to Lumen courseware at no cost.
  • Open Learning Initiative -  a mixture of free and low cost OER courses by Carnegie Mellon University
  • Saylor Academy  - have almost 100 free, full-length certificate courses ready for you to take right now.

Library, Archives & Museum Digital Collections*


  • Digital Public Library of America - A metasearch of most digital collections in the US. Discover 36,868,852 images, texts, videos, and sounds from across the United States, including a variety of primary sources, context, lesson plans, discussion questions and student activities.
  • Library of Congress - is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections.


* Not all materials in digital collections are known to be free of copyright. Please check each item.

Public Domain (Old) book repositories 

  • Hathi Trust - preserves and provides lawful access to the 17 million digitized items.
  • Internet Archive - is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

OER Metafinders

  • MOM - Mason OER Metafinder - This is a great tool for searching across multiple repositories at once. Keep in mind that it pulls from places like Hathi Trust that hosts public domain items. Use limiters and filters to get the best search results.
  • Merlot - Another tool for searching multiple repositories at once. This one can be overwhelming with the sheer number of ancillary materials. Use limiters and filters to get the best search results.

Open Access Journals

  • Bentham Open - publishes a number of peer-reviewed, open access journals. These free-to-view online journals cover all major disciplines of science, medicine, technology and social sciences.
  • BioMed Central - has an evolving portfolio of high quality peer-reviewed journals including broad interest titles such as BMC Biology and BMC Medicine, specialist journals such as Malaria Journal and Microbiome, and the BMC Series.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) is a quality-assured global directory of academic open access repositories.
  • Elsevier Open - All articles in open access journals which are published by Elsevier have undergone peer review and upon acceptance are immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download.
  • Hindawi - A collection of extensive medical and science open access journals
  • Open Library of Humanities - A collection of humanities journals brought together by a European consortium. 
  • Public Library of Science (PLOS) -  Science and medicine journals leading a transformation in research communication.
  • PubMed - comprises more than 30 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. 
  • SpringerOpen -  open access in journals and booksin all areas of science, technology, medicine, the humanities and social sciences.
  • Wiley Open Access - publishes authoritative peer reviewed open access journals across many research disciplines.

Image Repositories

Sound and Podcasts

  • ‎Apple Podcasts App - Discover free audio stories that entertain, inform, and inspire. Explore shows you'll love from entertainment and comedy to news and sports.
  • Google Podcasts App - Discover and listen to the world’s podcasts. You can subscribe to any podcast for free and download episodes for offline playback.
  • Library of Congress Audio Recording - over 22,000 sound recordings spanning centuries. Note not all items are free of copyright, but can be linked to.

 OER How-To Strategies

  • Community College OER Search strategies to find OER by using search engines or by searching or browsing the OER repositories in their lists
  • Using the Canvas Commons Tutorials - Canvas Commons is a Learning Object Repository (LOR) that makes it easy to share and find Open Educational Resources (OER). The Commons is available in the global menu on the Dashboard when you first login to Canvas. Below is brief overview of what you can do with Commons.