Open or free statement

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Revision as of 00:15, 15 March 2008 by CCID-jane (talk | contribs) (What is an "Open or free statement"?)
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What is an "Open or free statement"?

Certain sites call themselves open, free, or libre (or variations thereof). These sites claim that, in some capacity, some or all of their resources are open or free to the public.

It is a different issue of whether they actually are open, or how open, since there are various ways the term is used. The actual level of openness (whether the resource is free for the user to reproduce, change, build upon, or distribute) is dependent on how the material is licensed.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how many organizations and sites identify themselves as open educational resources, and of these organizations, how many license their material in a way that reflects their statement.

What does "yes", "no", and "fair use" mean?

  • "yes" means we have marked these sites as having an "open or free statement". These include government web sites that declare most of their material is in the public domain.
  • "no" means we could not find an open or free statement.
  • "fair use" is reserved for those governmental sites that do not declare their material to be in the public domain, but stress open use for non-commercial or educational purposes. Since fair use is being made explicit in these cases, we have marked them as such.


The "open or free statement" does not necessarily correspond with the actual openness of the resource. The question we are asking here is: does the site (or organization) identify itself as an open resource? There are varying degrees of openness, and many organizations regard themselves as "open" even if their material is fully restricted under copyright law. In the same vein, some organizations encourage more than fair use of their material under licenses such as the Creative Commons Attribution License---which allows you to copy, distribute, transmit and even adapt the work, as long as you give proper attribution to the author.