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Open Educational Resources (OER) for Educators

Adopt and adapt resources published with an open licence to enhance your teaching and increase student access to materials

What is an Open Licence?

When a work such as an image, video or written text is created, it is automatically protected by copyright. A licence specifies what you can and can’t do with a copyrighted work. Licences are usually very restrictive, prohibiting copying or redistribution except in a few special circumstances.

Open licences support creators that want to share their works freely and grant others the rights to access, re-use and redistribute their work with few or no restrictions. There are many forms of open licences, one of the most common of which is a Creative Commons licence.

Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons is a set of standardised licence features used to license copyrighted works (including music, artistic, literary and video works) for public use. Creative Commons works are free to use and share, provided the licence terms are followed.

Here are the 6 licences from least to most restrictive. 

License name Abbreviation Icon Allows sharing Requires attribution Allows adaptation Allows commercial use

Adaptions must use the same license

No Rights Reserved

CC CC0 Yes No Yes Yes No
Attribution CC BY Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC Yes Yes Yes No No
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike   CC BY-NC-SA Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND Yes Yes No Yes Not applicable 
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs  CC BY-NC-ND Yes Yes No No Not applicable

Academics can contact the Library at with any questions regarding Creative Commons and open licensing.

Watch this video explaining how Creative Commons licences work.



 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.