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Open Access Resources: Open Access Resources

Free web collections, books, journals, teaching materials, and other resources. This guide concentrates on English language collections, though some collections mentioned do have resources in several languages.

*NEW* OA/OER Searches

George Mason University has launched the Mason OER Metafinder, designed by GMU Librarian Wally Grotophorst, Associate University Librarian for Digital Programs and Systems. It searches a broad range of Open Educational Resource Collections, such as as the Digital Public Library, the Library of Congress American Memory Collection, MERLOT, and College Open Textbooks. Read more about the Metafinder at Deep Web Tech Blog, or try it out below.

Search the Mason OER Metafinder

Need a particular article, but can't find the full text? Try the Open Access Button search to see if an OA version exists. (If not, try Interlibrary Loan!)
OA versions may include "pre-prints" which do not have final editing and formatting of the published versions. Use at your own discretion.

Search for open access versions of articles via Open Access Button. DOIs, publisher URLs, and PubMed IDs (PMIDs) work best.

Web Exhibit

What sorts of materials are available?

Many sources have more than one type of document, just as a print journal may also publish conference papers or technical papers. Be sure to check in other categories, especially the General/Mixed Media category.

What is Open Access?

What are Open Access resources?

  • Open Access refers to resources that are freely available for viewing and/or use. Open Access is not the same as Public Domain, and most Open Access creators do retain their copyrights.
  • Open Access is part of a continuum ranging from completely closed, subscription/purchase only access to completely open, no barrier publishing. Open Access is not related to the quality of materials or the peer-review/non-peer-review status of the publications.
  • Open Access differs from Open Source or Open Licensed in that the primary use of Open Access materials will be viewing or reading, while Open Source materials are available for modification of the underlying software or text. For instance, Linux is an open source operating system, while the The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education is an open access journal. An increasing number of Educational Resources are being published with Open Licenses, allowing for modification, re-editing, and other customization.

Why should the Distance Learning, and the general Higher Education, community care about Open Access materials?

  • Open Access materials can be excellent resources to supplement online library materials. Many scholarly and peer-review journals have opened their back issues as open access, and others have converted partially or totally to open access for all issues.
  • Open Access materials can often be used when copyright restrictions might prevent the use of "traditional" materials in an online setting. While Open Access materials are, for the most part, still under copyright by their creators, most academic and educational use is permitted without permission. Even if copying is not permitted, open materials can usually be linked from an online syllabus or reading list. Be sure to check the copyright or permissions statement before use.
  • By Educators, For Educators - Many of the Open Access materials highlighted in these pages have been created specifically for educational use.

Ask the Libraries about Open Access and Open Educational Resources


The System Libraries have put together a website with more information about OER, OpenCSCU at
Use the chat service on the OpenCSCU website or contact our OER Librarian, Rebecca Hedreen or your Subject Librarian here at Southern:

Further information on Open Access in general