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Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources are course materials that anyone can freely retain, revise, remix, reuse and redistribute.

Attributing OERs

Authors have the right to attribution whenever their work is used under moral rights provisions in the Copyright Act.

You may need to include an attribution if you:
  • Want to reuse or adapt a copyrighted or openly licenced (e.g. Creative Commons) source from another work (e.g. an image, table, figure, long quote, etc) into an OER you are authoring.
  • Want to include or adapt an openly licenced source from a OER in your work, e.g. a publication, thesis, or blog post.

There is no prescribed format for attribution in the Act so long as authors are appropriately identified.  Moral rights remain with the author even if they assign copyright to another party, such as to a publisher or heir.

In addition, licence terms may also mandate attribution and even prescribe a specific format. When re-using Creative Commons material, for instance, the attribution (BY) licence component requires:

  • Creator names
  • Link to the source material
  • Licence name
  • Link to the licence
  • Indication if the material has been modified, such as “adapted from” or similar.

If the conditions are not met, then the licence won’t apply and the use might be considered infringing.

Academic referencing styles will typically satisfy the right to attribution under copyright, but may require some flexibility in their application to meet more specific attribution requirements under the applicable licence.

For more information on how to attribute openly licenced materials, see the following link:


Here is an example of an attribution for an openly licenced photograph found via Wikimedia Commons:

Figure 1: "Domestic Guinea Pig (Cavia Porcellus)" by Kacper Aleksander, 2021. Licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Here is an example of an attribution for a figure reprinted from an openly licensed textbook:

Figure 2: "Five example phenotypes of the anatomical variation of the coronary arterial circulation. A: Right dominant. B: Left dominant. C: Codominant. D: Absent left coronary artery. E: Single coronary artery." From Anatomical Variation: An Australian and New Zealand Context by Laura S. Gregory, Annabelle L. Kimmorley and Mikaela S. Reynolds, 2023, Queensland University of Technology. Licensed under CC-BY-NC 4.0.