Recommendations and checklists for the production and publication of OER


The recommendations primarily refer to formal or technical aspects and are, among other things, oriented towards the 5 freedoms that OER (should) entail. These are the freedoms to reproduce, use, process, mix and distribute the material.
For information beyond these recommendations in order to create the best possible OER with regard to the 5 freedoms, we recommend a look at the Gold Standard for OER. For different types of material, there are practical tips in separate articles on how to produce an optimal OER.

Don't reinvent the wheel. #ReUseFirst

Take advantage of the 5 freedoms that OER bring and build your own materials from existing ones. For example you can find collections of sources in this simple link list from OERdigital@bw and in this collection of sources that can be filtered by subject area.
For the further search on OER, these video tutorials from the VCRP show you the filter options on YouTube and Co. and with Google.

Authoring tools and file formats

General information on authoring tools

An authoring tool well suited for OER, …

  • does not create an overly specific format that can only be opened/edited with this one tool, or at least allows export to common formats,
  • is easy to use or rather quick to learn,
  • is preferably open source.
Further information:
  • The so-called STARK reflection offers an orientation for the selection of the tools.
  • A first selection of tools can be found in this wiki.

General information on file/storage formats

Open Educational Resources can show their strengths particularly when they are easy to use and process. Therefore file/storage formats should be used that...

  • are widely used,
  • allow changes, e.g. Microsoft Office formats (docx, pptx, rtf) are more suitable than PDF,
  • (it is even better) to use open standards such as the Open Document Formats (odt, ods, odp etc.) or Markdown, which don't require expensive software is required for processing or use,
  • ideally use a combination of all characteristics mentioned.
Tip: If in doubt, publish your material in several formats at the same time.

Images and graphics

Similar criteria as described above apply to images and graphics. An example of a storage format that enables further processing and also allows scaling without loss of quality is svg for graphics. On the other hand, formats such as jpg and png allow simple reuse, e.g. in Power Point.

Structure and design of the material

Especially in the case of complex OER with a lot of different content, we recommend to separate the material into smaller units and make them available individually. For example, do not (only) publish the complete Moodle or ILIAS course as a whole, but export and publish individual elements, e.g. the questions of a test or the H5P activity.
Pay attention to a modular structure when designing the OER, which also enables individual elements to be reused.

Further information:
  • On the ZOERR you can save and publish related elements as a so-called series together with the main object.
  • If you would like to design a low-barrier OER, an open learning course from the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU) gives you tips on the accessible design of OER.
Tip: The OERworkflow by Nele Hirsch (eBildungslabor) provides general information on creating Open Educational Resources including didactic aspects.

Large files, complex material (videos, software, etc.)


  • Video files up to approx. 100 MB can be published directly on the ZOERR.
  • Larger videos from teaching and research can be published free of charge at the TIB Hannover AV portal and be referenced on ZOERR. You can find out more about the TIB-AV portal in this article on
  • If you want to publish videos on YouTube, make sure to select the Creative Commons licence. Currently, YouTube only offers the CC BY licence, other licence types such as CC BY–SA are not possible.
  • On Vimeo, you can choose between all CC licence types when publishing your video. However, the size/amount of the uploaded video files is limited in the free basic account.

Licensing and metadata

Licence selection

The standard Creative Commons licences are the most widely used licences for OER. The more openly you licence your OER, the easier it is for others to reuse it. Therefore, use CC BY or even CC 0 for your own works whenever possible. For software, the licences recognised by the Open Source Initiative, such as the GPL are more suitable.

Indicate the licence of your OER

State directly in the material how your work should be quoted or the licence reference should be formulated, including a link to the licence text and the appropriate icon (see also the TULLU rule).
This facilitates subsequent use easier and promotes the correct declaration of your authorship. The notice can be placed on the cover page, on the last slide or in the credits, for example.

Example of correct attribution:
 "My work" by Name/Organisation is licensed under a Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 Lizenz (

It can also be useful to repeat the information on authorship and licence in short form in the footer, especially if it can be assumed that only individual parts of the material are frequently reused.

Example of a short form for the footer:
 "My work" CC BY 4.0 Name/Organisation

  • The Licence Chooser from Creative Commons helps you to select the licence and to create the licence notice, in machine-readable form too.
  • The Open Attribution Builder, for example, offers help in creating the licence notice for reused material.
Further information:
  • Questions about the licensing of OER are answered in the ZOERR FAQ.

Further metadata about your OER

When specifying metadata, think about how you search yourself. Think about what additional information would be useful for finding and selecting your materials, which may not be given in the title or document itself or for which one would have to try the material first.
In ZOERR, for example, you can provide information on the subject area, the type of material, the intended audience, or technical requirements. In the description, in addition to content-related information, you can also provide information on didactic use, time requirements, etc. In addition, use keywords that characterise your material and make it easier for others to find it. Whether you use fixed or free keywords is not decisive, but with fixed keywords you can protect your OER against not being found due to spelling mistakes or different spellings.

Checklists and templates

OER usage

Check when reusing material:

  • An open licence is indicated on the material itself. And/or
  • In the terms of use, imprint or footer of the website/platform on which you found the material, it is stated that the content is under an open licence. Exceptions are clearly stated or marked.
  • A reverse search on Google (text excerpt in quotation marks or the reverse function of the image search (camera symbol) or on (images only) did not reveal any reference to an original source other than the one stated.
  • TULLU rule observed when citing sources. Changes are also indicated.

OER production and publication

Check before publishing materials:
There are some good checklists for aspects to check or consider before publishing your own materials:

Tip: Use the quick quality check from our OER partner portal "Twillo" from Lower Saxony to check your OER yourself.