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Scholarly Communication: Can I find ‘open’ resources for my teaching?

The Scholarly Communications committee provides Bucknell’s faculty scholars with customized information, education, and guidance as well as the technical resources and support services needed throughout all steps of the scholarly communications process.


The short answer is “maybe.”


There is an ever-growing supply of Open Educational Resources (OER) available on the web. OER are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes (Creative Commons, 2020, licensed CC BY 4.0 International).

There are many repositories and “referatories” to OER, but unfortunately, there isn’t a single catalog of these materials. Additionally, although the kind of OER content that is available is growing, much of the content focuses on entry-level, high enrollment courses, where the most savings can be realized for students. That is, hopefully, changing, as the development of open content is increasingly acknowledged as scholarly for tenure and promotion at institutions around the world. 


There are various ways to search for open content:

  • In WorldCat, you can use the “Content Type” limiter to include in your results only those materials that are available as open access 
  • The Directory of Open Access Journals allows you to enter keyword/subject searches for open access journals and articles
  • George Mason University’s Metafinder searches across OER and open access repositories and in collections of open content from HathiTrust, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and more


Our guide on Using Alternate and Open Course Materials and Datasets has a great starter list of sources of OER, OA materials, and open data sets. We encourage you to reach out to your librarian if you need help finding open materials.