The term open, as part of Open Education, Open Educational resources, Open Access only makes sense if we look at it from the freedom movement and its base and derivatives. When the term appeared in the 80´s by Stallman, Free Software, during the founding of the GNU software (http://www.gnu.org/gnu/thegnuproject.html ) it was meant as in free for freedom, free to use, to run the program, to modify, redistribute and distribute modified versions.

 Later on, the term Free was connected to Free, in terms of price, changing the basic underlying philosophy and creating a separated approach.

Open Software appears in the 90´s, by Perens  as a broad general type of software license that makes source code available to the general public with relaxed or non-existent copyright restrictions…Open source licenses grant licensees the right to copy, modify and redistribute source code (or content). These licenses may also impose obligations (e.g., modifications to the code that are distributed must be made available in source code form, an author attribution must be placed in a program/ documentation using that open source)” (Wikipedia).

The Open Movement have been extended to other areas, including education.

In 2007, Creative Commons launch the Education Projects, where the Open Education and Open Educational Resources become part of the educational policies, with the possibility to license different types of contents, formats under the CC licensing and currently other types of licenses. The type of licensing is the only thing that distinguishes (or should distinguish) between a OER and other types of contents.

A lot has been written about developing OER´s, creating a duplicity/gap between OERs and copyrighted materials, removing the discussion from the type of licensing, which is the real difference, and focusing it on OER quality , creation of standards, evaluation. The real debate has been moved, therefore, from different types of licensing to the creation of duplicated content development structures…

 

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