The price of traditional publishing models, like print textbooks and journal package subscriptions, continues to skyrocket every year. This Research Guide is designed to help you locate quality open materials.
Open materials may not be right for every class, but there are tons of great options out there for most disciplines. The librarians are happy to help you discover, evaluate, and compare these resources.
Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium - digital or otherwise - that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation, and redistributions by others with no or limited restrictions. (From The Flora and William Hewlett Foundation, "Open Educational Resources")
Open Educational Resources are NOT the same as information found on the open web. In addition to being completely free for users, Open Educational Resources must be appropriately licensed for others to use them. Most OERs are licensed under a Creative Commons License, and most permit modification as well as reuse.
The terms "open content" and "open educational resources" describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like "open source") that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:
From David Wiley, "Defining the 'Open' in Open Content and Open Educational Resources"
Three pillars of Open Educational Resources are the legal provisions and provide the basis for using materials in the creation of open educational resources:
To find OER Resources in Google, use Advanced Search.
1. Go to this URL: https://www.google.com/advanced_search
2. Search Terms can be typed in the top boxes.
3. Go to narrow your results by area, then go to usage rights.
4. In the usage rights drop-down click on any of the following:
Always verify on the resource if it follows the usage rights noted. Look for Creative Commons information.
Portals and Hubs for Finding OER
A public digital library of open educational resources, including lesson plans, videos, activities, learning outcomes, and assessment ideas freely available for K-12 and post-secondary education.
The MERLOT system provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers.
The Digital Commons Network brings together free, full-text scholarly articles from hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide. Curated by university librarians and their supporting institutions, the Network includes a growing collection of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work.
Openly Available Sources Integrated Search (OASIS) is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier. OASIS currently searches open content from 73 different sources and contains 171,366 records.
A digital library of sharable undergraduate teaching materials for chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and computer science. It is designed to quickly and accurately connect users with the educational resources they need. These resources range in type from highly granular objects such as individual images and video clips to entire courses.
CCCOER is a growing consortium of community and technical colleges committed to expanding access to education and increasing student success through adoption of open educational policy, practices, and resources.
A search engine for OER content across multiple online resources.
Open Textbook Resources:
The Open Textbook Library, hosted by the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, indexes original open textbooks currently in use at colleges and universities. Faculty from Open Textbook Network (OTN) member institutions can post public reviews of textbooks in the Open Textbook Library.
OpenStax, a nonprofit educational initiative based at Rice University, publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, openly licensed college textbooks that are absolutely free online and low cost in print. More than 3 million college and high school students currently use OpenStax textbooks.
While the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative focuses on providing textbooks for two-year colleges, many of the resources linked here are peer-reviewed and suitable for lower-division undergraduate coursework.
The DPLA is an all-digital library that aggregates metadata for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums around the United States. Material which is out of copyright or openly-licensed is available in full.
The "largest multidisciplinary open access publisher of books covering the fields of Science, Technology and Medicine." As of Spring 2020, IntechOpen has published more than 4,700 open titles.
A free publication service by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) of peer-reviewed medical education materials licensed under Creative Commons open licenses.
Supported by the BC OpenTextbook initiative, these peer-reviewed books are sorted by discipline.
Collection of Open Textbooks from the Saylor Foundation.
Open Courseware from Academic Institutions:
Free and openly accessible introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University.
A web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
Noncredit courses taught by Harvard faculty and open to the public. Users do not need to register to view lecture videos.
A collection of Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) offered by the State University of New York through Coursera.org.
Open Michigan enables the University of Michigan community to make the products of its research, teaching, and creative work available to the world beyond campus.
A collection of the University of California, Irvine's open courses and course materials.
Evaluate OER materials by using the following resources:
How to adapt and create Open Educational Resources:
This guide, published by the Open Textbook Network, focuses on the technological aspects of editing open textbooks and assessing the effort, expertise, and technical tools needed to modify OER. This guide includes step-by-step instructions for importing and editing common open textbook file and platform types and provides a basic overview of accessibility considerations and general guidance on where to find additional help.
This guide, published by the Open Textbook Network, includes a checklist for getting started with the authoring process, publishing program case studies, writing resources, and an overview of useful tools.
This course, created by Open Washington OER Network, walk you through techniques to incorporate OER into your teaching practice.