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What are Open Educational Resources?

According to the Hewlett Foundation, Open Educational Resources (OER) are "high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose." Common examples of OER include textbooks, online courses, lesson plans, software, text, audio, and video. With OER, you are free to download, print, share, and adapt without restrictions.

College textbooks are expensive. A typical student may spend upwards of $1,000 per year on textbooks. While tuition and fees are often non-negotiable, textbook costs vary student by student. Studies have shown that textbook affordability can hinder a student's learning experience. Results from national surveys have estimated that 65% of students have decided against buying a textbook because of the cost. For undergraduate courses, Open Educational Resources, such as Open Textbooks, have been developed and adopted to address this problem.

(Information taken from "Why? Adopt an Open Textbook" from Northwestern University Libraries.)

OER Commons

OER Commons: OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources. Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials freely available for everyone to use, whether you are a teacher or a learner. This includes full courses, modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world. OER Commons Trinity International University Page


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 114 different sources and contains 440,452 records. OASIS is being developed at SUNY Geneseo's Milne Library.

Open Access Resources

This list will continually be updated as additional resources are produced/located.

Textbooks & Academic Texts

  • Open Textbook Library: “Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.”

  • OpenStax: Open textbooks in a variety of subjects that can be purchased as a print volume or accessed electronically for free.

  • MERLOT: Searchable collection of OERs, including textbooks.

  • BC Campus: Searchable and browsable collection of open textbooks.

  • Mason OER Metafinder: Metafinder created by George Mason University to search multiple open textbook repositories

  • OER Commons: Searchable collection of OERs, including textbooks.

  • Books @atla Open Press: Open access book publishing program from Atla (the American Theological Library Association) which includes Scholarly Edition of peer-reviewed books "on topics that impact what theological and religious studies librarians do and how they do it."

  • Open Access Books on JSTOR: "7,000+ Open Access ebooks from 90 publishers, including Brill, Cornell University Press, De Gruyter, and University of California Press, are now available at no cost to libraries or users."

  • Bloomsbury Open Access Collection: Academic titles and textbooks made openly available by Bloomsbury Publishing. 


Open Access Journals

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): "DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. All DOAJ services are free of charge including being indexed. All data is freely available."

  • Elsevier Open Access Journals: Access thousands of peer-reviewed articles from hundreds of open-access journals.


If you need help with finding or using OER resources, contact:

  • Chris Chang, Electronic Resources Librarian:, 847-317-4006

  • Matt Boutilier, Associate Dean of Online Education:, 847-317-7177