What to consider when creating an OER

If you are creating open educational resources, or if you wish to apply a Creative Commons licence to existing resources, please consider the following points.

  1. Do you have permission to use and share any third party content included in the resource? This means any content you do not own the copyright of, e.g. an image or diagram created by someone else.
  2. Have you included attribution and license information for all third party content you include in the resource? If you include any Creative Commons licensed content created by a third party, you must include attribution to the creator and the licence information.  We also recommend that you provide attribution to any public domain content that you use.
  3. Are you able to provide alternative formats for those who need them? This might include people who find certain resources hard to access because of visual impairment, dyslexia, mental health conditions or other special requirements.
  4. If your resource includes images, have they been alt tagged with descriptions?  Alt tags help people who use screen readers to access online content.
  5. If you are creating video resources, have you included subtitles? Media Hopper Create provides automated subtitling.
  6. Have you added a Creative Commons licence?  Make sure you add a Creative Commons licence to your resource.  If your resource includes third party open licensed content, you must make sure that you use a compatible open licence.


If you want people to be able to re-purpose and re-use your open educational resources, please consider making them available in an easily customisable format so that users can adapt them to meet the needs of their own learners.

Open Education Resource Policy Guidance

Please familiarise yourself with the University’s OER Policy for further advice and guidance.

  1. It is the responsibility of staff and students to ensure that they have the necessary rights to publish an OER and that all resources published comply with all relevant legislation, policy and guidance (e.g. copyright, IPR, data protection, accessibility).
  2. Staff and students are advised to publish OERs using a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY). Other Creative Commons licences may be used if colleagues feel this is necessary or appropriate for their particular resource, or to comply with the licence of any third-party content used in the resource.
  3. When creating and publishing OERs, the copyright owner(s), author(s), date and Creative Commons licence must be visibly attributed. The copyright owner will normally be the University of Edinburgh for OERs created at the University. Author(s) and performer(s) should also be properly acknowledged, giving recognition for work undertaken, along with date and Creative Commons licence applied so that others can clearly understand what permissions for reuse are being granted. An example of good attribution would be: © [Author Name], The University of Edinburgh, CC BY, 2021
  4. Staff and students creating OERs must ensure any personally identifiable information (PII) within their resource is processed on an appropriate lawful basis, in accordance with data protection law and University policy. Creators should be aware that resources containing PII processed on the lawful basis of “consent” are at risk of that consent being withdrawn at any time, and that a person’s name, username, image, voice and personal opinions are all considered as PII.
  5. The University recommends that open educational resources should be published in an appropriate repository or public-access website in order to maximise their discovery and use by others. Where OERs have been created as part of an externally funded activity, any licensing regulations and repository locations mandated as a condition of the funding should be adhered to.
  6. The University recommends that audio and audio-visual OERs should be published in the University’s multimedia repository, Media Hopper Create.
  7. Where students are creating OERs as part of their programme of study or within a staff-directed project, these guidelines should be followed and OERs should be checked by a member of staff before publication.
  8. The University actively encourages staff and students to reuse and repurpose existing OERs created by colleagues within the University, and by other institutions and organisations. Examples might include MOOC videos, open textbooks, open data sets, simulations, 3D models, cultural heritage resources. The OER Service provides advice and guidance on finding, reusing and repurposing all kinds of open licensed content.

Further information

University of Edinburgh OER Policy

University of Edinburgh Accessibility Policies and Guidance

Adding a Creative Commons licences to your resources

Attributing resources

Understanding open licences and the public domain