Skip to Main Content
FDLP Resource Guides
Beginning summer 2023, we are updating our guides. You may notice changes to the look and feel of our existing guides. If you have any questions or experience any issues, please contact askGPO.

Open Educational Resources


Open educational resources (OER) are freely available materials for anyone to view and use. This guide highlights OER examples from the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and some U.S. Government agencies. In particular, K-12 instructional materials for educators are a popular type of OER.

Introduction on OER

An OER is material that its creator has authorized permission for users to view, use, or modify the content for free. Several types of OERs exist, including textbooks, brochures, maps, and videos. Users of an OER material can do one or all of the following "Rs:" retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.

Overview of Open-Access Resources

OER materials are a type of open-access resource (OA). An OA resource will often have an accompanying icon, like below, to indicate the work requires no fees to access it.

Icon of an unlocked lock

Various types of OA, however, exist because of the different ways to publish the content for free access. The main types of OA are gold, green, hybrid, bronze, diamond or platinum, and black.

Critically Evaluate OER

The following are some general recommendations to consider when incorporating OER in the classroom or out in the field.

Advantages of OER Drawbacks of OER
  • Free resources from subject-matter experts
  • The materials may not always be available
  • Reusable materials
  • Quality assurance of materials
  • Democratizes access to materials for anyone