How do I cite and attribute OER?


“Citation” and “Attribution” are often used as synonyms, but they mean two different things. Citation is a scholarly practice for tracking the ideological underpinnings of a work, usually referencing sources like published books, articles, government documents, primary sources, etc. Attribution is about crediting a copyright holder according to the terms of a copyright licence, usually crediting artistic works like music, fiction, video, and photography.

Note that OER authors are not required to register to licence their work. All they need to do is select a Creative Commons licence and then display the licence information on their work.

The examples below provide some guidelines for both citations and attributions. Following these suggestions ensures you give due credit to OER creators and demonstrates to people who find your content that you truly are a part of a global learning and sharing community. No matter the content, you should:

  • make sure you credit the creator,
  • provide the URL where the work is hosted,
  • indicate if it is available under a particular licence,
  • provide a link to the licence (so others can find out the licence terms),
  • link to the original resource.

Regardless of the medium in which the material appears, the following licence information is required:

  • CC licence name with a link to the appropriate licence text.
  • CC logo.
  • The name of the copyright holder.
  • The name of the author (this may be different from the copyright holder), the year, and the title of the resource.

You may wish to add information on how you wish to be attributed.
For example:

Image from Al Jazeera, used under a CC BY licence.

Web pages/HTML/CD resources
At a minimum, the licence should appear on the main page. Preferably, it will appear on each page, such as in a footer. For example:

Documents (text documents, presentation slides, spreadsheets etc.)
The licence information should appear somewhere in the document, preferably on the first, final or imprint page (i.e. reverse side of a document’s title page that lists such information as the publisher’s imprint, publication date and history, licensing, ISBN etc.). Here is an example of a licence on a final page:

Here is an example of a licence on an imprint page:

If it is a large document, it is recommended that attribution information be placed on every page. This is because there is a chance that the document may be cut up into smaller segments as it is distributed in the form of sections or chapters.

An example of a header:

An example of a footer:

Include a ‘video bumper’ or a still picture with the licence information at the start or end of the video. For example:

Audio resources
When introducing the resource, read into the script the details of attribution and licensing. If the audio files are located on the internet include the attribution and licence details with a description/link to the resource.

For example:

CC Attribution Infographic:

Citation, attribution, OER, Creative Commons, CC, documents, web pages, audio

OER Africa Source - Cite and Attribute OER. Retrieved from