Open Access

Open Access (OA) is a movement in the distribution of scholarly material that requires works to be shared freely.  “Free” means free of most copyright and licensing restriction, yet are fully compatible with peer-review, copyright, profit and preservation.  It is mandatory that users be able to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of OA material. OA literature can be accessed online, free of charge, by anyone.

OA journals make their articles available for free through charging for the publication services before publication, rather than after publication through subscriptions. The journal must exercise peer-review or editorial quality control.

There are a growing number of Open Access Journals, with a journal available in most disciplines. The Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) provides a list of the ones currently available.  Simply search the directory for journals and articles and you are free to share what you have accessed with your students. PubMed is another example of OA materials available for biomedical literature, life and behavioural science journals, and online books with the intent of advancing science and health.

Open Access Repositories

Open Access (OA) repositories can hold electronic duplicates of published articles and make them freely available. Authors can deposit copies of their finished articles in repositories alongside their publication in normal journals.

OA repositories work by having electronic versions of articles, or e-prints, deposited into a database, or repository. These repositories are mainly administered by research institutions. Such institutional repositories share records about their content with service providers, who then offer search services to users across every record that they hold. This means that a researcher using a search service is searching across all OA repositories, not just individual ones. Once the researcher finds a record, they can view the full-text direct from the institutional repository. As well as services, which are just search repositories, the full-text is also searched by Google, Yahoo and other search engines.  You can search open access repositories through the site OpenDOAR.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) licenses and tools provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators and a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that fosters sharing and use of creativity and knowledge by working with the rules of copyright in whichever terms best suit your needs. It gives creators a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work and they provide users with clear, understandable instructions on how materials can be used.  Even the most restrictive Creative Commons licenses allow for redistribution of the material, which means that you can copy and post the material online for your students.  All online material that carries a Creative Commons license will be clearly marked “Some Rights Reserved”.  Look for the license, and when sharing the material with your students, be sure to acknowledge the creator as specified in the license. No registration is required in order to use CC licenses; you may simply answer a few questions by clicking "yes" or "no" and enter your jurisdiction (which should be "Canada," as long as your teaching, studying, or researching activities take place in Canada) and the CC license tool will select the appropriate license that meets your criteria.

CC has also developed some sub-sites, such as flickr Creative Commons, open educational resources, and Science Commons. For more information on other CC projects, visit http://creativecommons.org/culture.


In order to foster an environment of collaborative learning, education, and knowledge sharing, you are encouraged both to use Open Access/Creative Commons works and to share your own works in the same manner.

The Copyright Office is available to help if you have questions about copyright or if you would like to schedule a presentation about copyright for you and your colleagues.


Note: The information obtained from or through this site does not constitute legal advice, but is provided as guidelines for using works for educational purposes.

Creative Commons License
All information found on the University of Saskatchewan Copyright website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License unless otherwise noted.