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Faculty Resources: Open Access Textbooks

Resources for Faculty members at the University of Saint Mary

Open Access

An open textbook is a textbook licensed under an open copyright license and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public. They are available for free as online versions, and as low-cost printed versions, should students or faculty opt for these. Open textbooks are a way to significantly reduce student textbook costs while giving instructors the flexibility to reformat and customize their course material. They are an affordable, flexible alternative to traditionally-published textbooks.

Faculty may learn more about evaluating open access textbooks from these resources:

Adopting Open Access Textbooks

A self-paced course for faculty on open education and open textbooks, creative commons licenses, institutional readiness for open access resources, and how to find, evaluate, and modify open textbooks.

Open Alternative Resources Initiative of Kansas State University

The initiative’s goal is to encourage the adoption and/or development of cost saving texts for students while improving the quality of the learning process.

Open Educational Resources at the University of Kansas

In 2015 KU joined the Open Textbook Network, an alliance of higher education institutions committed to improving access, affordability, and academic success through the use of open textbooks. OER is an approach to overcoming cost and reuse barriers to the benefit of students and instructors.

Open Educational Resources at the University of Missouri 

This guide covers ways to find, create, and use Open Textbooks & Open Educational Resources


Open Access Textbook and Open Educational Resources

American Institute of Mathematics Open Textbook Initiative

The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) seeks to encourage the adoption of open source and open access mathematics textbooks. The AIM Editorial Board has developed evaluation criteria to identify the books that are suitable for use in traditional university courses.

Operated by Cornell University, provides open access to over one million e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance, Statistics, Electrical Engineering and Systems Science, and Economics.

B.C. Open Textbooks

An initiative from the B.C. Campus for open access textbooks for the university campus.
E-book publisher providing online textbooks for free download.

College Open Textbooks
Collaboration of multiple organizations and colleges promoting awareness and adoption of open access textbooks. Includes a list of open access and low cost textbooks for university classes.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

The directory is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.

INTECH: World's Larges Science, Technology & Medicine Open Access book publisher

Open access publisher of science, technology & medicine.

MERLOT II: Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching

The Multimedia Educational Resource for Online Teaching (MERLOT), developed by the California State University Center for Distributed Learning offers access to thousands of open educational materials.


Some of these online textbooks are open-licensed electronic versions of print books. Others are self-published online books, or course notes which are so thorough that they serve as an alternative to a conventional textbook.

OAPEN Foundation

The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences. OAPEN works with publishers to build a quality controlled collection of open access books, and provides services for publishers, libraries and research funders in the areas of deposit, quality assurance, dissemination, and digital preservation.

OER Consortium
Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources

Open Access Textbooks
FIPSE Grant Project with links to other initiatives and a number of other resources.

OpenBook Publishers

OpenBook Publishers is run by scholars who are committed to making high-quality research available to readers around the world. It publishes monographs and textbooks in all areas, and offer the academic excellence of a traditional press, with the speed, convenience and accessibility of digital publishing. All books are available to read for free online.

OpenStax College
Rice University's open access initiative, with books organized by subject. OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. OpenStax's open textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet standard scope and sequence requirements.

Open Educational Resources

OER Commons offers a comprehensive infrastructure for curriculum experts and instructors at all levels to identify high-quality OER and collaborate around their adaptation, evaluation, and use to address the needs of teachers and learners.

Open Textbook Library

The Open Textbook Library provides a growing catalog of free, peer-reviewed, and openly-licensed textbooks housed at the University of Minnesota and sponsored by the Open Textbook Network.

Saylor Academy
List of open access books maintain by Saylor Academy, an online open course institution.

Textbook Revolution
Student-run site with links to free textbooks and educational resources.


The open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit.

Want to know more about Open Access Textbooks?

"How can an amazing introductory chemistry textbook be free?"
Webinar featuring David Ball, Professor of Chemistry at Cleveland State University, and Sharon Koch, of Flat World Knowledge, a leading publisher of open textbooks.

"Why College Textbooks are so Expensive"
A student's frank perspective on college textbooks

Free Downloads

Provides access to poems, short stories, fiction and non-fiction texts.

Google Books
Use the Advanced Search to limit results to "Full View Only."

Online Books Page
Index of free books available online.

Open Culture
Collection of free e-books, audiobooks, textbooks, films, and language lessons.

Oxford Text Archive
Provides access to electronic resources for use in higher education.

Project Gutenberg
Provides access to public domain texts in downloadable form.

Open access textbook collection editable by anyone, much like Wikipedia.