Open Textbooks

Open Textbooks or Open Resources are free or nearly free resources. They are also known by the name Open Electronic Resources or OER.

Open Textbook Network

Open Content for Community Colleges

Searching for open content is an important function. You can use Google to search for Creative Commons content, look for pictures at Flickr, albums at Jamendo, and general media at spinxpress. The Wikimedia Commons, the multimedia repository of Wikipedia, is a core user of creative commons licenses as well.

Where can I find open textbooks?

What are Open Textbooks?

What are Open Textbooks?

Open textbooks are online texts released for greater levels of public use and reuse than conventional commercial textbooks. Most are either completely free and available to reuse and adaptation or for a minimal cost. They are a way to make higher education more affordable and support student achievement and student success. This guide provides information about options offered through open educational resources projects.

Open textbooks are part of a larger movement called "open educational resources" (OER). OERs are "digital learning objects 'offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and re-use for teaching, learning and research.'" (Goldberg 334)

Many use licenses as an alternative to copyright developed by Creative Commons, "... a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools."

See also the guide and overview of the larger Open Educational Resources (OER) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of open textbooks?

Advantages include: low cost, adaptability, availability in print or online, online use on many devices and platforms, availability of supplementary material like video and study material like flashcards.

Disadvantages include: selection process to locate appropriate material, need to provide authors with credit towards promotion and tenure, and lack of traditional publishing infrastructure.

Orange Grove Repository

The Orange Grove Digital Repository

What is The Orange Grove Digital Repository?

The Orange Grove Digital Repository (OGR) is an online, statewide initiative to store and manage Florida’s instructional, organizational, and professional development resources for discovery, use and remixing by approximately 230,000 faculty and administrators. A wide range of resources from multiple sources are available through The Orange Grove: flash animations, lessons, videos, open access textbooks, books, games, maps, pictures, graphs, lesson plans, professional development materials, courses, institutional research, planning documents, and more.

Open Stax

Using Rice’s Connexions platform,

OpenStax will offer free course materials for five common introductory classes. The textbooks are open to classes anywhere and organizers believe the programs could save students $90 million in the next five years if the books capture 10 percent of the national market. OpenStax is funded by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation and the Maxfi 


Open Textbooks.Org

College Open Textbooks .Org

Funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, College Open Textbooks is a collection of colleges, governmental agencies, education non-profits, and other ..The College Open Textbooks Collaborative, a collection of twenty-nine educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. This includes providing training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, and mentoring online professional networks that support for authors opening their resources, and other services. The formation of the College Open Textbooks coincides with the growing international interest in open educational resources and the need to move to open digital textbooks as a way to help financially distressed states such as California reduce the cost of public education.


Facts About Open Textbooks

  • Open means open to everyone.  A textbook becomes “open” when its copyright-holder grants usage rights to the public through an “open license,” which typically includes the right to access, reformat, and customize it at no additional cost. It’s important to note that the open textbook author retains the copyright to the content, not the publisher as is traditionally the case.

  • Open textbooks look much like any other textbook Hard copies of open textbooks look much like traditional texts. The primary difference is the price: open textbooks are also accessible online at no cost and the hard copies are optional and affordably priced.

  • There are lots of them Thousands of open textbooks already exist and more are on the way.

  • Author payment varies Open publishing models are still evolving, so author payment varies. Some are paid royalties on print sales, some receive grant support, and others choose to write on their own time.

  • The quality is comparable to any other textbook Many open textbooks are developed through traditional peer review, others are vetted by experts. As with any textbook, the instructor is the final judge of whether an open textbook meets the needs of the course.