Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Open Educational Resources Committee @ GCC

What are Open Textbooks?

Open textbooks can be defined as "textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed." Typically open textbooks are available as a pdf, epub, or set of html pages that are available at no cost to students and instructors.

True open textbooks are licensed so that they can be freely printed, distributed, and even adapted with correct attribution. Vendors like Amazon and Lulu may be able to provide print copies of open texts, and they can be printed locally as well.

OpenStax Textbooks

If you're looking for OER that are packaged for use, OpenStax by Rice University is a good place to start. OpenStax specializes in creating materials for general education courses like Biology 101, Introduction to Sociology, and Calculus I-III. All textbooks have been peer-reviewed and vetted by the higher education community.

These books are openly licensed, meaning that you as an instructor can modify a book for your own course, if you so choose. Modifications, like added text, links, and videos, will show in a version that you create specifically for your class. OpenStax updates their textbooks over time and pairs each book with lists of added resources like slides and exercises that you can use in class. Some of these added resources are free while others are available for a fee.

Open Textbook Library

Open Textbook Library (OTL) is an initiative by the University of Minnesota intended to help faculty members quickly find and assess open textbooks in use at other institutions of higher education  The library has collected dozens of open textbooks that are currently in use at higher educational institutions or affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization. OTL also invites faculty reviews of the textbooks in the library.

Open SUNY Textbooks

 Screenshot shows a sampling of Open SUNY textbooks








The Open SUNY Textbooks project provides funding and support to faculty members in the State University of New York who wish to publish open textbooks. Over a dozen textbooks have been published to date with more forthcoming.

OER Commons Open Textbooks

 Screenshot shows OER Commons logo








OER Commons allows you to search for open educational resources in a variety of types, educational levels, and subject areas. Try the Advanced Search option to locate textbooks released for college-level courses--or look for other materials to supplement texts. While you're in OER Commons, you may also want to take a look at its partnership with OpenStax to curate materials around general education courses. Consider joining a group if you would like to be involved. 


OASIS is a tool that searches some 155,000 records for open material. It is being developed at SUNY Geneseo's Milne Library.

oasis logo
Advanced Search