Most Recent Revision: June 26, 2019

The OSP 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.

Copyright policy

OSP services are developed and offered in accordance with U.S. copyright law.  The OSP 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 OSP 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: facts and data such as citations to readings, mere listing of subjects for study, and dates of class meetings and course planning.  All of the metadata made available through the Explorer fall into this category. 

The Explorer does not provide access to the syllabi themselves or to any personal identifying information contained in the documents. 

Content policy

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

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

Because the OSP 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

The OSP is committed to making its growing collection of syllabus metadata freely 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.

The OSP makes most of its metadata freely available under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license (CC BY-NC 4.0) on a 2-3 year rolling delay.  The CC license offered by the OSP does not permit commercial use of the data, and it requires that the OSP be credited the data is used for research that results in an article, a book, or other publication.  This version of the dataset is available through the Syllabus Explorer and for download.

The recommended form of attribution for fulfillment of the CC license requirements should be substantially as follows: “The data have been obtained and are used here with permission from the Open Syllabus Project (https://blog.opensyllabus.org/) consistent with a Creative Commons license.”

The OSP also makes more complete metadata and—in some cases—the underlying documents available for academic research under certain conditions.  Please inquire with the OSP 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.

The OSP also licenses portions of the metadata for commercial use.  Please inquire at the contact information below.  It does not commercially license access to the underlying documents or to data that would reasonably permit the identification of instructors.

Visitor data

The OSP does not have user accounts and so does not request log in or other personal information from users.  Nor does the OSP use cookies to track repeat visits. 

The OSP does use standard web analytics to track use of the OSP website.  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 the OSP, researchers who retrieve data and other content from using the OSP 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 the OSP, any metadata, and search results in a manner that does not: (a) violate any terms of use of the OSP or any agreement with the OSP; (b) violate any contractual, intellectual property, privacy, or other rights of the OSP or any third party; or (c) create grounds for or give rise to civil or criminal liability.

Policy changes

The OSP 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 the OSP with other questions at:


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