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Business Open Educational Resources and Fair Use

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that are in the public domain or that have been introduced with an open license. An open license means that anyone can use, copy and re-share the materials. OER materials can be found in the form

Using Database and Journal Content

Most databases and electronic journals are available at MSU under the terms of license agreements, which determine how each electronic journal or database can be used.

License terms generally override copyright law where they differ, which means you may not be able to rely on fair use if you want to use these materials.


  • Linking to a database or an e-journal from a course page is generally allowed, and is the recommended method for providing online information content.


  • to an open access environment: prohibited.
  • to an access-controlled environment: may or may not be allowed.

Citing your sources

Citing your source is critical to avoid plagiarism (using someone else’s work without giving them credit), which is a serious form of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is considered a serious offense and is handled by university processes. See more about citing here.

Citing your source, however, is not enough to protect you from the legal issue of copyright infringement.

How to Cite

Citations can be formatted according to the citation style you are using (e.g. MLA, APA, Chicago Manual of Style).

Include as much of the following in your citation as can be easily determined from the source:

  • creator’s name (e.g. the photographer)
  • title of the work
  • location of the work (museum, library or owning institution if known)
  • date work was created
  • copyright owner, if known (please note, this may not be the original creator)
  • source – where you found the image