There are a number of common mistakes to avoid. This list does not include every possible mistake, but highlights the most common errors made by educators as they develop their skills in publishing OER.

Mistakes with text formatting

  1. Using too many fonts in the same document. We recommend not using more than two different fonts (an absolute maximum of three) in a single document.
  2. Not using formatting to distinguish between hierarchical elements of the text. Try to use Styles for headings and subheadings, rather than changing the font size manually for each heading. This makes it easier to change formats, for example converting a text document to HTML for web publishing.
  3. Underlining headings: multiple formatting edits should be avoided. Headings are usually in a larger font, which can be combined with bold depending on your style settings. Underlining headings makes the text less readable.
  4. Using ‘full justification’: Full justified text means that words align with both left and right margins with uneven spaces between the words. The brain uses the shapes of words and spaces to decipher meaning quickly. Uneven spaces between words, and/or using too many hyphens, makes a text less readable.
  5. Using text format elements inconsistently. It’s important to be consistent with formatting, for example, by using bold for emphasis and italics for titles of publications or foreign language words. Don’t mix the usage within a single document.
  6. Using incorrect and/or incomplete licence attributions for Creative Commons resources included in your work. Attribution is a legal requirement for all Creative Commons licences, and we recommend that you use the TASL TASL (Title, Author, Source and License) format for attributions, providing hyperlinks where possible, for the relevant elements.
  7. Not including a licence for the derivative work. Remember to apply an open licence to your work, ensuring that the licences used in your re-mix are compatible and that you apply a permissible licence. For example, if one of the resources contains a ShareAlike (SA) restriction, the derivative work must be released under the identical licence.

Mistakes with images

  1. Re-sizing images larger than the original image size. Note that the image below is not clear – it is ‘pixelated’ because the original image is 120px wide and has been enlarged to 350px width (with height enlarged in proportion). Rule of thumb: It is generally not possible to increase the size of an image beyond the original size without noticeably reducing its quality. Reducing size, however, is fine.
  2. Distorting images when resizing. This happens when you don’t keep the same width to height ratio when reducing or enlarging the display size. (You can check the original image aspect ratio on the Wikimedia Commons)
    Distorted-Statue of Heinrich Zille.png


  3. Cropping or altering images with a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives (CC BY-ND) or Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licences. Remember that, even though these images are free to use, if they have a NoDerivatives (ND) restriction they must not be altered in any way.