Open Educational Resources are "Teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions" (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation definition).

Open educational resources include:

  • full courses, course materials, modules,
  • textbooks, streaming videos, images,
  • tests,
  • software,
  • any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

Open educational resources are often built upon research findings. An Open Science practitioner will probably want his educational resources to maintain the level of openness as his research. Other teachers can use the open material to elaborate new resources or adapt existing ones.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are only OER, if they have an open license. There is no clear guideline for the choice of license for open educational resources. Open Creative Commons licenses are CC0 (Public Domain Dedication), CC BY (Attribution) and CC BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike), which can be used for most educational resources. For databases an especially suitable open license should be chosen, such as ODbl, ODC-BY or PDDL to be legally compliant.

OpenCourseWare (OCW) is one of the first open educational resource platforms and key initiators of the OER movement. Open Education Consortium, initiated at MIT in 2002 provides materials from all over the world as courses under free licenses. Other examples for OER platforms include Creative Commons Search for image, audio, and video files and OERCommons for educational resources.