If you choose to adapt an OER, check to see what its licensing allows. Many OERs are registered with Creative Commons and display their permissions. If you adapt or create an OER, you will likely want to register it with Creative Commons as well.
Open textbooks are typically copyrighted as one of these:
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.
CC-BY-SA Attribution Share Alike
Lets others remix, tweak, & build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you & license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.
CC-BY-ND Attribution No Derivatives
Allows for redistribution, commercial & non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
CC-BY-NC Attribution Non-Commercial
Lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you & be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
CC-BY-NC-SA Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
Lets others remix, tweak, & build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you & license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download & redistribute your work just like the cc-by-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.
This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works & share them with others as long as they mention you & link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
Learn more about Creative Commons permissions:
1. Find the right textbook
Search the repositories listed on this guide. Use advanced search options when available to narrow your results. (If you don't easily find something you need, contact an SCC Librarian for help.)
2. Review and evaluate it
See if the textbook or resource matches your criteria based on content, presentation, online accessibility, production options, platform compatibility, delivery options, interactivity, consistency between online and printed versions, and supplementary material (test banks, PowerPoints, etc.)
3. Decide to use it as is, or edit it
One of the benefits of an open textbook is flexibility to modify and customize it, as much or as little as you desire, to suit your course. If you want to make edits or append content, make sure the licensing allows. Different repositories have different options for editing and publishing revised copies.
4. Distribute it to your students
Select the best format to use in distributing the resource to your class (online, downloadable PDF, Print-on-Demand via the SCC bookstore or from the online repository.)
Erik Christensen, South Florida Community College Physics instructor, discusses adopting open textbooks.