Open Access and Creative Commons

Open Access and Copyright 

Open access resources are free for everyone to access and read. Even though a resource is open access it is not always copyright free. Whilst anyone can access an open access resource, what you can do with it is determined by its copyright status.

  • If a resource is in the public domain (copyright has expired) you can use the content freely.  To determine the Public domain status of works in Australia, visit the Duration of Copyright page.
  • If it has been made available under a Creative Commons or similar open licence, it can be re-used under the conditions defined on the licence. 

Finding Open access resources

There are free browser extensions that can help find open access content:

You may come across open access journals and articles within CQUniversity databases. These are often identified by the open access icon, an orange and white open padlock. Please ensure that if you use open access content from these databases, the link is to the site from which the article is freely available.

The library also has filters available in both Library Search and our database list to find Open Access Material, please read the help guide for more information. 

Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is an international non-profit organisation that provides free licences and tools that allow for resources to be re-used by other creators. 

  • Creative Commons supports copyright and the right of creators to control the use of their work.
  • CC licenses allow users to: copy the work, distribute it, display or perform it in public, and make digital public performances of it.
  • There are a number of CC licences which allow commercial use of a work.
  • If the conditions of the CC licence are  ignored by using the material in a way not permitted, it is a breach of copyright and standard copyright laws apply.

Finding Creative Commons Material

The Creative Common search page allows you to find useful search engines for a variety of Creative Commons resources.

Using Creative Commons Material

CC licences all include an attribution (BY) component. They can also include a combination of 3 other components: No Derivatives (ND), Non-commercial (NC) and Share Alike(SA). There are 6 licence combinations as well as CC0 (Public Domain licensing). Full details of these different licences are available from the Creative Commons website. To see how these licences work in context watch the Creative Commons kiwi video.

Attribution and quotation

For the inclusion of quotations from Creative Commons works, you will only need to reference or cite the work in accordance with the specific style guidelines you are using. Referencing guides can be found on MyCQU. 

If you use the entirety of Creative Commons works, such as images, in your assignments, research, or lecture materials, you will need to attribute the work to the author. To attribute a CC work, include the following details:

  • Title of the work
  • Author / Creator of the work
  • The URL of the original work.
  • The specific CC license abbreviation, e.g. CC BY NC 4.0. This should be a link to the license page on the Creative Commons website where possible.

For more information see the Best practices for attribution by Creative Commons.

Any adapted/derivative works you create will need the citation of the new work and the full attribution to the adapted work.