How to use OERs: Attribution and licence restrictions

Providing attribution

In order to use a Creative Commons licensed open educational resource you must provide attribution to the creator.  Good attribution includes the following information:

Title: The title of the resource.

Creator: The name of the creator or copyright holder of the resource.

Licence: The licence of the resource.

Source: A link to the original source of the resource.

Additional information you may want to include are the date the resource was created, and a link to the Creative Commons licence.  Creative Commons provides information on Best Practices for Attribution.

Here is an example of good attribution:

Creative Commons 10th Birthday​ Celebration San Francisco" by tvol

CC heart cupcakes by David Kindler,

CC BY 2.0, on flickr

Creative Commons licence restrictions

Some restrictions to be aware of:

You must always Attribute the creator of a resource.

NonCommercial licences restrict the use of a work to non-commercial use only.  When using NC licensed content you should consider how the work will be used, not the nature of the organisation using it. For example, commercial organisations can legitimately use NC licensed content for not for profit purposes. Further information about using NonCommercial licensed content is available from Creative Commons here: NonCommercial Interpretation.

You must not make any changes to works licensed No Derivatives, this includes adding subtitles, making translations and cropping images.

You must share derivatives of ShareAlike licensed works under the same licence.

Combining Creative Commons licensed resources

Different licences dictate how you can use and combine resources.  If you plan to incorporate an existing Creative Commons licensed resource into a new resource you are creating, you must ensure that you observe the licence restrictions.  This chart illustrates which licences can be combined.  Further information is available from Creative Commons: CC Licence Compatibility.

CC Licence Compatibility, CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons,

Using Public Domain resources

If you are using a public domain resource, you do not need to provide attribution, however it is useful to mark it as a public domain resource and include a link to the original source so other users will know that they can also re-use it.

Digital Skills Support

The OER Service runs a range of digital skills sessions focused on understanding copyright and open licensing and finding and using open licensed content.  These include:

  • Copyright, Licensing, and Open Materials for Hybrid Teaching
  • Creative Commons Quick Start: A short introduction to using CC licences
  • OER and Open Education

For further information and to book a place, please visit the OER Service Events page.

Further Information

Creative Commons About the Licences

Creative Commons CC Licence Compatibility

Creative Commons NonCommercial Interpretation

Creative Commons Best Practices for Attribution

Creative Commons FAQ