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What is the difference between OER and open access publishing?

Open access publishing is an important concept, which is clearly related to - but distinct from - that of OER.

Wikipedia notes that the term 'open access' is applied to many concepts, but usually refers either to:
  • 'open access (publishing)'; or
  • 'access to material (mainly scholarly publications) via the Internet in such a way that the material is free for all to read, and to use (or reuse) to various extents'; or
  • 'open access journal, journals that give open access to all or a sizable part of their articles'1.
Open access publishing is typically referring to research publications of some kind released under an open licence. OER refers to teaching and learning materials released under such a licence. Clearly, especially in higher education, there is an overlap, as research publications typically form an important part of the overall set of materials that students need to access to complete their studies successfully, particularly at postgraduate level.

Taken from A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)


Tracey Woodburn
Joined August 17, 2018
Research Assistant, Athabasca University
Records manager for the OER Knowledge

Rory McGreal
Joined August 17, 2018
UNESCO/CoL Chairholder in OER, Athabasca University
Professor Rory McGreal is the UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning Chairholder in Open Educational Resources. He is a professor in the Centre

Dan Wilton
Joined August 17, 2018
Developer, Athabasca University