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Open Chemistry Education Resources : Advantages and Disadvantages

This guide contains information about open educational resources for chemistry.

Advantages of OER

Aside from cost savings for students, benefits of using OER include:

  • Expanded access to learning—OER can be accessed anywhere at any time.
  • Ability to modify course materials—OERs can be modified to provide coverage only of topics relevant to a course.
  • Enhancement of course material—text can be supplemented by multimedia content (e.g., videos, simulations) to support multiple learning styles.
  • Rapid dissemination of information—OER textbooks can be updated more quickly than new editions of textbooks can be published.
  • Continual improvement of materials—instructors can adapt existing OER materials for a class and make the modified version available for others.
  • Draw attention to university faculty—releasing OER is publicity for faculty.


Disadvantages of OER include:

  • Quality concerns—Some OER materials can be edited by any user, which could results in irrelevant or inaccurate information being included.
  • Loss of copyright/intellectual property protection—OER creators do not have copyright or intellectual property protection and must be careful about what materials they make available.
  • Technology issues—Some students may have trouble accessing online materials due to slow internet connection or may not have access to software required to use the materials.
  • Sustainability issues—There is a lack of financial incentive for OER creators to maintain their materials.