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Open Educational Resources: Start Here

Guide provides an overview to OERs and Open Access and highlights available resources

What are...

Open Educational Resources (OER): "teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use." (SPARC)

Further reading: Hood, C. (2016). Open educational resources. In S. Danver (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of online education (pp. 878-879). Thousand Oaks,, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781483318332.n277

Open Access (OA): "the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment." (SPARC)

Using OER and OA for teaching and research

You're probably engaging with OER and OA regularly! Publishers such as Taylor & Francis, SAGE, Springer, and Elsevier all publish some open access journals and/or OA content. You can search Cabell's Directory for additional open access information. Most publishers will have webpages for their open access content. See links for additional information.


  • Open Review of Educational Research
  • AERA Open
  • Journal of Education and Research


Textbook Costs

We often hear about OERs in reference to rising textbook costs. The University of Alabama's Student Financial Aid Office estimates a full-time, dependent undergraduate student will spend approximately $1,200 annually for textbooks.

Graduate student textbook estimates are not as easily discoverable. A recent Google search found book estimates ranging from $650  to $1300. 


Recent OER and Open Access Research

Use Scout or one of the recommended databases to stay abreast of OERs in development, practice, and/or research. Remember that search results will depend on terms, limiters, and selected databases.

Recommended search terms: OER, open educational resources, MOOCs, textbook cost, open education, open access

Recommended databases and selected articles are linked below. 

Recommended Databases

Selected Articles

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