Skip to main content

Terms and Policies

Most Recent Revision: May 4, 2023

Open Syllabus supports research on trends in assigned classroom readings with the goal of improving teaching and learning. If you use the Open Syllabus Explorer, you–-the researcher–-are using these research services.

By using the Syllabus Explorer, every researcher–-whether in a private or institutional capacity–-is expected to read and understand the following terms of service and is deemed to have agreed to be bound by them.

Open Syllabus services are developed and offered in accordance with U.S. copyright law. Open Syllabus makes a diligent effort to respect the interests of rightsholders and the public, as well as the needs of educators and researchers.

Some syllabi are included in the Open Syllabus collection with permission from the rightsholder. Many are obtained by ‘scraping’ publicly-accessible university websites, and are included under the fair use provision in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act.

Much of the content of a syllabus is not protectable under copyright and is therefore in the public domain. Examples of materials that have no copyright protection include: basic descriptive elements pertaining to courses, facts and data such as citations to readings, mere listing of subjects for study, and dates of class meetings and course planning.

Open Syllabus services do not provide access to personal identifying information contained in the documents except where instructors or schools have authorized Open Syllabus to do so to support narrow use cases.

Content policy

Because the syllabi are very diverse, it is possible that some content of the Open Syllabus dataset, and therefore some search results, could be objectionable to some readers. Open Syllabus does not review content in advance and ordinarily will not remove content. It does not endorse or sponsor any of the content. Researchers may contact Open Syllabus to bring specific content to our attention.

Open Syllabus makes no warranty of any kind, either express or implied. Researchers understand and agree that: (a) Open Syllabus cannot guarantee or warrant that the content available in its dataset is accurate, complete, noninfringing, or free of any offensive or objectionable character; (b) Open Syllabus makes no warranty or representation regarding the accuracy, currency, completeness, reliability, or usefulness of the content, that the Open Syllabus collections or the website and related software will meet your requirements; and (c) access to Open Syllabus services and collections will be maintained, uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error free, or that defects, if any, will be corrected.

Because Open Syllabus cannot review or guarantee that the content is free of any objectionable material, each researcher is, by using this service, confirming that he or she is more than 13 years of age.

Data policy

Open Syllabus makes portions of its syllabus metadata available to researchers for purposes of benefit to the public, subject to limitations designed to protect faculty privacy, respect copyright and data protection laws, and enable the financial sustainability of the project. Such access is limited to portions of anonymized data from the corpus.

Please inquire with Open Syllabus at the contact information below about requests for specialized research needs. Keep in mind that access to certain information, and uses of some materials in the collection, may need to be carefully restricted by agreement and by use of appropriate technological controls.

Open Syllabus also licenses portions of anonymized metadata for commercial use. Please inquire at the contact information below. It does not license access to the original documents, or to data that would reasonably permit the identification of instructors.

Visitor data

Open Syllabus's public facing services do not have user accounts and so do not request log in or other personal information from users. Nor does Open Syllabus use cookies to track repeat visits.

Access to Open Syllabus Analytics requires an authenticated account and logs user activity as part of its standard security measures.

Open Syllabus also uses standard web analytics to track use of its websites. These tools may automatically recognize the domain name of each visitor, each visitor’s IP address, the web page that a visitor requests, and the time of the request, along with a variety of information supplied by the visitor’s browser. These are automated processes that will not ordinarily include or lead to disclosure of personally identifying information.

Researcher responsibilities

By using Open Syllabus, researchers who retrieve data and other content are responsible for using search results in a manner consistent with all applicable law and licenses, and researchers assume all related risks. Researchers agree to use Open Syllabus services, any metadata, and search results in a manner that does not: (a) violate any terms of use of Open Syllabus or any agreement with it; (b) violate any contractual, intellectual property, privacy, or other rights of Open Syllabus or any third party; or (c) create grounds for or give rise to civil or criminal liability.

Policy changes

Open Syllabus may make changes to these Terms of Use and related policies from time to time and will notify you of such changes by posting an updated date at the top of this page.


Please contact Open Syllabus with other questions at:

Please note that Open Syllabus staff cannot provide legal advice. Researchers with legal questions should inquire with their own independent legal counsel.