Specific Use Case - Revision of OER

@feb21-cohort - Hello! Based on some of our previous conversations, I pulled a specific example of a question I had about adapting previously existing OER. In my own book, I’d like to use portions of an existing OER located here: 11.4 Concept 3: Make Your Publication More Inviting Using Basic Principles of Readability: CRAP – Technical Writing
I mapped out in a Google Doc how I’d like to revise it to tailor it for my book:
Is this ok?? I feel like I’m plagiarizing, even though it’s openly licensed. And what’s the best way for me to attribute the original authors? (I left a comment to that effect in the Google Doc.) Thank you!!

Hi Jenna,

Creative Commons has an example for how to attribute the original - How to give attribution - Creative Commons I also like the Open Washington Attribution Builder Open Attribution Builder – Open Washington: Open Educational Resources Network It’s very thorough

The chapter information is at the bottom of that page - This chapter was written by Jodi Naas, Portland Community College, and is licensed CC-BY 4.0. So you can do any of the 5Rs under this license, including revise and remix.

You could write the attribution as:
This work, “Your Title”, is a derivative of “11.4 Concept 3: Make Your Publication More Inviting Using Basic Principles of Readability: CRAP – Technical Writing” by Jodi Naas used under CC BY 4.0 “Your Title” is licensed under [choose license] by Jenna Sheffield.

One of the business law faculty I work with has said she feels like that too - that she’s doing something wrong by revising it (though she likes that feeling). It’s really the point of the openly licensed work - and the folks who wrote it originally may be really excited to see how you revise it.

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Thanks so much, @stacy.katz!! I appreciate it. I like the idea that the faculty member you work with likes feeling that’s it’s a little wrong to be revising in this way!! :slight_smile:

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Thanks for sharing, Jenna, and for your suggestions, Stacy! I’ve left a few comments in-line, and will echo what Stacy has said, especially:

The main things to note are that:

  • You are crediting the original authors for their work, and are operating within the permissions of the license they selected to remix this content for your text. The fact that you are attributing and citing them, with a link back to the original work already moves this very far down the ladder from plagiarism! Remember the TASL key — attribution is sharing and is also the legal requirement to reuse someone else’s openly licensed work.
  • This is the beauty of openly licensing work: we can build on the fantastic contributions from others to make content more apt for our courses/contexts, rather than duplicating this work. The original creators of the works you are remixing will likely feel very excited to see their texts incorporated in your resource and continuing to have an impact!
  • You are growing the commons and returning the favour by licensing your own materials openly (and following the legal requirements to license your derivatives/remixes as outlined by the original works). You are giving others permission to grow your OER in ways that they see useful for their students/learners.

I pointed to a few resources in the document Jenna linked to, and will also add this short but useful chapter from the BCcampus Self-publishing Guide on “Concerns about Plagiarism.” As you’re seeing, this is a common worry to have as you start to enter the open education/publishing field, so you’re not alone. Hope this helps!

I really like the resource @apurva shared about plagiarism concerns. One thing it made me think about is that no one accidentally openly licenses their work. It’s not like a CC license ended up on that open textbook without the creators intentionally putting it there. The acknowledgements section of that work are pretty extensive and show how much thought went into the creation.

Also, I think we are so used to being individual contributors and responsible for everything that we create that it takes some adjusting to feel like it’s okay to use someone else’s words, even when we are providing attribution.

That’s very true! It’s worth noting that in the duration that your work is protected under copyright, you can always make your work more open and permissive, but you can’t make it more ‘closed’ — so you can’t revoke a Creative Commons license or condition applied on the resource, but you can always add conditions to make the resource more accessible/usable. It’s important to learn about what the different conditions mean when you are selecting your license.

There’s a mindset shift, for sure, as we think about authoring and publishing as a collaborative experience. It’s hard to create in a vacuum and we’ve talked a lot about why this isn’t a great idea for creating relevant resources. I hope you are all gradually feeling more comfortable about these ideas as we’re having these conversations. It’s a slow process, and we are around to support you for the duration!