[od-discuss] The Open Educational Resources Definitions

Timothy Vollmer tvol at creativecommons.org
Wed Mar 13 22:47:54 UTC 2013

Hi there Jonathan:

>From what I understand, there's been some rallying around those "4Rs" for
OER, meaning that open educational resources must be made available for
reuse, remix, repurposing, redistribution. So if you're talking about
licenses, this would remove any with a no-derivatives (ND) condition. Fine.

And the definition offered by the Hewlett Foundation has been the one most

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the
> public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license
> that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

This is seemingly consistent with the prohibition on no-derivatives via the
inclusion of "re-purposing."

Where OER have been less clear is on whether NonCommercial conditions will
be tolerated for OER. The historical answer has been yes--insofar as those
big projects that call themselves (or are called by others) OER such as MIT
Open Courseware have used NonCommercial licenses (CC BY-NC-SA) for years.

So, one reading of the Hewlett definition is that it would not be in
compliance with the Open Definition because their definition would consider
the use of open licenses containing the NC condition.

As a shorthand, here's what I typically have in my mind with regard to
Creative Commons licensing and OER. But don't take my word for it or view
this as a policy statement. Just as with most definitional matters, these
arguments have raged for years about what is or isn't OER...

OER (per the 4Rs and Hewlett def):


Not OER (per the 4Rs and Hewlett def):


On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Jonathan Gray <jonathan.gray at okfn.org>wrote:

> I'd be interested to see if people thought if this was broadly
> 'functionally equivalent' to OpenDefinition.org? Not clear to me which
> licenses are compliant:
> https://learn.canvas.net/courses/4/wiki/open-educational-resources-definitions
> --
> Jonathan Gray <http://jonathangray.org/> | @jwyg <http://twitter.com/jwyg>
> Director of Policy and Ideas
> The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org/> | @okfn<http://twitter.com/okfn>
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