It’s a good idea to conduct one last copyright check of your open textbook before publication. This includes making sure you’ve:
Before you apply a Creative Commons licence to your textbook, you’ll need to make sure the licences on the content you’re reusing are compatible with the overall licence you’ve chosen.
While most Creative Commons licences are compatible when combining work under different licences, not all licences work together. The compatibility chart below shows which licences can and can’t be combined:
The column on the left represents the licence of the original work. The top row represents the licence you want to combine it with.
As you can see, CC BY (Attribution) is compatible with most other licences and is therefore the most suitable licence for open textbooks. However it can’t be applied to open textbooks containing content licensed under ND (NoDerivatives). ND licences are the most restrictive since they don’t allow adaptations.
Online tools like OER Africa’s Creative Commons Licenses Compatibility Wizard can help you check licence compatibility.
If the licence of the Creative Commons content you want to use isn’t compatible with the overall licence of your textbook, you may be able to:
When combining chapters from different open textbooks, you may be able to assign them their own licences, separate from the overall licence on the textbook.
For example: If most of the content in your textbook is CC BY, but you want to include a small number of CC BY-SA chapters, you may still be able to licence the textbook as CC BY, provided the CC BY-SA chapters remain under a CC BY-SA licence.
Licensing is a complex issue and can be hard to get right, so it’s best to ask your university’s copyright team for help with checking and fixing licence compatibility.