Creative Commons is an alternative licensing copyright scheme. While traditional copyright, broadly speaking, bars any substantial reproduction unless permission is obtained, Creative Commons licensing offers a “sliding scale” of permissions, which you, as a copyright holder, can adapt to your needs. Documents licensed under Creative Commons offer a wide range of materials which professors can use in their courses, and students can use in their assignments – articles, charts, images, etc. – all without having to request permission.
The easiest way to find documents licensed under Creative Commons is to do a web search which includes the words “creative commons” (include the quotation marks). Creative Commons also provides a more targeted search tool on their site.
Open access is a growing movement in the scholarly publishing world, where authors and publishers make their works openly available to others, without a subscription fee. These works may be freely shared, increasing their visibility. For more on open access and initiatives at the University of Ottawa, please consult our Scholarly Communication page.
The fastest way to determine if a particular academic journal offers an open access option is to search the Directory of Open Access Journals, which lists over 9,000 peer-reviewed open access journals. Another useful tool is SHERPA/RoMEO, which summarizes the copyright transfer agreements and self-archiving provisions for many academic journals.