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Answered By Library Staff
Last Updated: Aug 27, 2020     Views: 0

Open access, or OA, is an umbrella term that can mean different things in different contexts. It usually means the material is free and open (not behind a paywall) online. However, this does not mean there are no copyright restrictions or that the content is licensed for copying or remixing like Creative Commons or OER material. You are free to link to the material, but making copies for others outside of fair use might get you into trouble. Linking to a blog post essay by an expert, an OA journal article, or even a YouTube video can all be ways of using OA material. But, just because it is free to access online does NOT mean you can make copies. Examples of making copies of OA material would be: downloading the article as a PDF and uploading to your Blackboard course instead of just linking to the free content or using software to illegally download YouTube videos and upload to your own educational channel instead of just linking to the content.