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Open Educational Resources Collective Publishing Workflow

Choose a Creative Commons Licence 

Considerations When Choosing a Creative Commons Licence

The Creative Commons licence you choose for your open textbook will depend on:

Before deciding on a Creative Commons licence, you’ll need to work through some important licensing considerations.

Granting and Retaining Rights

The graphic below gives a quick overview of how each Creative Commons licence – starting from the most open – affects what readers can and can’t do with your textbook.

Adapted from Creative Commons Permissions Infographic by Aaron McCollough (adapted from a table by Anita Walz), licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

This table steps you through some of the choices you’ll have to make when deciding how you want to share your open textbook.

Step Question Yes No
1 Do you want to allow anyone anywhere to use the work however they want without giving you credit? CC0/Public Domain Go to Step 2
2 Do you want to make sure that anyone who uses your work also shares their work in the same way? Go to Step 3 Go to Step 4
3 Do you want to prevent others from profiting from your work? CC BY-NC-SA CC BY-SA
4 Do you want to prevent people from changing your work? Go to Step 5 CC BY
5 Do you want to prevent others from profiting from your work? CC BY-NC-ND CC BY-ND

Adapted from ‘Workflow for Choosing a Licence’ by Royce Kimmons in The K-12 Educational Technology Handbook, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

Online tools like the Creative Commons Licence Chooser can help guide you through some of the decisions involved in selecting a Creative Commons licence for your textbook.

Mixing Creative Commons Licences

If you're planning to use content from different sources, with different Creative Commons licences in your textbook, you’ll need to ensure these licences are compatible with the overall licence of your textbook. The table below shows which licences can be used together.

Creative Commons License Compatibility Chart by Kennisland on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under a CC0 licence.

Creative Commons License Compatibility Chart by Kennisland on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under a CC0 licence.

If the licence of the content you want to use conflicts with the licence of your textbook, you may need to find alternatives or create new content.

Remember to properly attribute each work you use.

Getting Help with Choosing Creative Commons Licences

You can ask your institution’s copyright team for more specific advice about choosing Creative Commons licences.

Attributions

‘Mixing Creative Commons Licences’ was adapted from ‘Remixing Content’ in Open Textbook Publishing Orientation (PUB 101) by Open Education Network, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.