Open Access and Creative Commons

USQ Library supports the use and creation of open access content. Open access allows others to revise, redistribute, repurpose and share material through open licences such as Creative Commons. The idea behind open access and open education is that educational content should be accessible to all. 

Beware: There are varying shades of "openness". Always check the licence or conditions of use statements to protect yourself and your work.

Creative Commons search lists a range of search tools for different Creative Commons and public domain media, including Google, YouTube and Soundcloud. 

Here are some great open access websites:

Images and graphics


Books and journals

Teaching resources

Software/3D printing


 Desktop publishing

Open Access and Open Education Resources often have licences attached to them, which outline what you can and cannot do with a resource without having to seek permission or clarification from the copyright owner. 

For Creative Commons (CC) licences, there are four conditions of use: 

  • Attribution (BY) – the creator must be attributed
  • Non-Commercial (NC) – use is restricted to non-commercial purposes
  • No Derivatives (ND) – modification of the resource is not allowed
  • Share Alike (SA) – modification is permitted, provided the new work us licenced under the same CC licence. 

These core elements are often combined to create different licences, all with varying conditions. For example, a CC-BY-ND licence means you can use the work provided you attribute the creator and do not modify it in anyway.  

Information on the types of Creative Commons licences can be found on their website. 

Whenever a work is used under a Creative Commons licence, the original creator must be appropriately attributed. The recommended approach to attributing a Creative Commons work is: 

Author, title of work, URL to work, used under Creative Commons Attribution [list licence number], URL to the Creative Commons Licence

If you are using multiple Creative Commons works (e.g. images in a PowerPoint), you can either: 

  • place the appropriate attribution directly under each image; or
  • create a list of attributions at the end of the presentation or document, which clearly indicate which attribution matches which image (e.g. Image on slide 3: [insert appropriate attribution]).

When creating open content such as open textbooks or open courseware, you may use:

  • content with open licensing, such as Creative Commons or Public Domain
  • content in which copyright has expired
  • external links to non-infringing content
  • content that you have written permission to use.

You may wish to use Creative Commons to share your work. Where USQ owns the copyright in the work, content will need to be licenced by the USQ Legal Office. You will then be able to share your open access resource on many different open access sharing platforms. 

When licensing your work under Creative Commons, you need to make sure the licence you choose is compatible with the licences of all the resources you have used. For example, if aspects of your work contain the “Share Alike” element, the final work must be distributed under a “Share Alike” licence. The 
Creative Commons Compatibility Wizard can help you choose an appropriate licence.

Open Access publishing

Open Access ensures that your work can be more easily found, downloaded and shared, increasing citation rates. Publishing in Open Access journals ensures optimal return on public investment.

Open Access approaches

Green Open Access

Green Open Access publishing allows authors to archive a version of their work in an institutional repository (USQ ePrints) or other repositories (such as ResearchGate or PubMed Central). 

Gold Open Access

Researchers may choose to publish in an Open Access journal, where the journal provides free online access to the content of the journal. Gold Open Access journals have a processing charge. It may be possible to include this processing charge in grant applications, should you decide to publish open access at the time of application. 

Open Access and monographs

The AOASG website provides a useful overview of Open Access options for publishing monographs. 

Open Access publishers often allow the distribution of versions of your publication into an institutional repository like ePrints. It is important to note which version you are able to share:

  • Pre-print (submitted version) – this is the version the author sends to the publisher for review.
  • Post-print (accepted version) - this version is still in manuscript form but includes corrections associated with the peer review process. This is the version that is most commonly included in institutional repositories.
  • Published version - this includes the publishers format (including logos, hyperlinked references, pagination and other formatting consistent with journal publications). Few publishers allow this version to be shared in repositories, even after an embargo period.

Many publishers impose an embargo period whereby work may be stored in a repository but not made available through Open Access. Some funding bodies, such as the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council, mandate that research should be made available via open access as soon as possible after the date of publication.