Recommendations and checklists for the production and publication of OER


The recommendations mainly refer to formal or technical aspects and are, among other things, oriented towards the 5 freedoms that OER (should) entail. The freedoms namely to reproduce, use, process, mix and distribute the material.
For information beyond these recommendations on how 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 with them and build your own materials on existing ones. You can find collections of sources, for example, 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 for 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,
  • (even better) prefer open standards such as the Open Document Formats (odt, ods, odp etc.) or Markdown and for which no expensive software is required for processing or use,
  • ideally combine all of the 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, it can make sense to divide the material into smaller units and make them available individually. For example, not (only) publishing the complete Moodle or Ilias course as a whole, but exporting and publishing individual elements, e.g. the questions of a test or the H5P activity.
It makes sense to 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 do something about the accessibility of your OER, an open learning offer from the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU) gives you tips on the accessible design of OER.
Tip: General tips on creating Open Educational Resources including didactic aspects can be found in the OERworkflow by Nele Hirsch (eBildungslabor).

Large files, complex material (videos, software and Co.)


  • 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 on the TIB Hannover AV portal and 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 makes subsequent use easier and promotes the correct declaration of your authorship. The reference can be made, for example, on the cover page, on the last slide or in the credits.

Example of correct indication:
 "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 often only individual parts of the material are 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, also in machine-readable form.
  • 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.

More 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 or technical requirements. In the description, in addition to content-related information, you can also provide those interested in OER with 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 fixed keywords offer protection against not being found due to spelling mistakes or different spellings.

Checklists and templates

OER usage

To be checked 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 where I 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 material:
There are some good checklists for aspects to check or consider before publishing your own materials:

Tip: To check your OER yourself, use the quick quality check from our OER partner portal "Twillo" from Lower Saxony.