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Open Source/Open Access

What is OA Anyway?

Open Access, commonly referred to as OA content, may refer to different types of content—scholarly articles or monographs, data sets, educational resources—that are available online, and that are available for users to read, copy, distribute, print, share, or use for other lawful purposes. Open Access resources are free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

  • One excellent overview of Open Access is offered by Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.
  • Another OA introduction is offered by PLOS, a nonprofit Open Access publisher and advocacy organization whose mission is to advance progress in science and medicine by transforming research communication.
  • A third take on OA is provided by SPARC, an international coalition dedicated to making Open resources the default for research and education through initiatives for Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education.

OA and Education: Open Educational Resources (OER)

As applied to teaching and learning, Open Access content is commonly referred to as Open Educational Resources, or OER for short. Educators interested in using OER materials in their teaching will find a growing collection of resources available online, including College Open Textbooks, OER Commons, HathiTrust Digital Library, MIT Open Courseware, and Creative Commons. These OER repositories as well as other sites for finding and sharing open content are evolving rapidly. Legislative initiatives in many states has shown a significant return on investment in both dollar terms (student savings) and student achievement, and there is a rise in support and adoption of OER materials in institutions across the United States.


While UNM strongly supports academic freedom and believes that it is the faculty’s right and responsibility to select appropriate learning materials for a class, there are also many high quality OER materials available that faculty could select if they were aware of them and it met their needs. With adequate support, some faculty may also have an interest in developing their own OER content. A coalition of departments across UNM is working to align efforts for further support of open educational resources (OER), and to foster additional initiatives in support of open access content development.  These include:

  • Academic Affairs / Provost Office
  • College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences
  • UNM Information Technologies
  • Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Extended Learning
  • UNM Bookstores
  • Accessibility Resource Center

Developments will be shared via this and partner UNM websites.