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Open Access through Creative Commons

A chart describing what each license can do

Creative Commons Licenses. JoKalliauer, 2015. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Creative Commons is both a non-profit organization and movement within scholarship, education, and the arts to simplify the use and reuse of original work protected by copyright law. Traditional ("All Rights Reserved") copyright creates restrictive terms under which a work may be used, shared, and adapted. Creative Commons provides authors with open licenses that they can use to waive some of the rights they would normally control under copyright.

According to the organization's website, "Creative Commons licenses give everyone from individual creators to large institutions a standardized way to grant the public permission to use their creative work under copyright law. From the reuser’s perspective, the presence of a Creative Commons license on a copyrighted work answers the question, 'What can I do with this work?'"

Increasingly, academic publishers are allowing authors to affix a Creative Commons license to their work, in order to make scholarly books, articles, and data more openly available. Sometimes publishers require authors to pay for this open access to their work, and unfortunately, these article processing fees (APCs) can be prohibitively expensive. Some scholars use grant or department funds to cover this fee. UI Libraries also has cost-free options for making you work open access. The graphic above displays the different licenses and explains what they can and can't do. For the same information in text form, click on the CC links below. 

Using Creative Commons Licenses