Using open licenced sources in teaching material

Many authors who publish open access choose a Creative Commons (CC) licence that specifies the conditions under which their publication may be used by third parties. If an open licence does not apply, you must ask the author for permission to reuse the source in your teaching material. 

Creative Commons licences

Below is an explanation of the four building blocks of CC licencing. These building blocks can be combined into six different licences. The associated terms of use have consequences for the inclusion in teaching materials of sources licenced in this way.

BY (Attribution)

The CC-BY license offers the most extensive possibilities for reuse. When reusing a work with this licence you must, in addition to crediting the author, also state whether you have made any changes to the original work.

ND (No Derivatives)

You may only copy and distribute the original version of the work, no derivatives. For example, this licence prohibits you from translating the work and subsequently sharing it.

NC (Non-Commercial)

Works with an NC license may only be used for non-commercial purposes.

SA (Share Alike)

You may only distribute SA licenced works under the same conditions. They may not be included in works licenced under more restrictive terms.

CC-0 (public domain)

CC-0 (CC-zero) licenced works are dedicated to the public domain. You may copy, change, distribute and perform these works without permission, even for commercial purposes.

More information on CC licences 

More information can be found on the Creative Commons website.


Do you have any questions about reusing open licenced sources in teaching material, please contact us.