About Our Open Textbooks

Textbooks in the Open Textbook Library are considered open because they are free to use and distribute, and are licensed to be freely adapted or changed with proper attribution. Many have been reviewed by faculty from Open Textbook Network member institutions.

The criteria for including new textbooks in the Open Textbook Library are:

  1. All content must be openly licensed. We accept textbooks licensed with GNU and Creative Commons (CC) licenses, with the exception of the CC ND (No Derivatives) component. CC BY is recommended. Go to Creative Commons for more information about selecting a license for your work.
  2. Must be a complete textbook available as a complete portable file (e.g. PDF, ePub).
  3. Must be in use at multiple higher education institutions, or affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization.
  4. Must be an original textbook (not a derivative of another textbook). Possible exceptions to this criteria are modifications that reflect the needs or context of an entirely new audience. For example, the textbook has been changed in such a significant way that it is now relevant to a new country, profession, or has been translated into a new language. Authors or publishers will be asked to demonstrate significant changes to the original text.

More about Open Licenses

Many in the open education community, including the Open Textbook Network, believe that the most appropriate license for open textbooks is the Creative Commons Attribution International (CC BY) license. The CC BY license means anyone can retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute open textbooks. This is commonly referred to as the 5Rs.

As part of our commitment to the 5Rs, a textbook with a No Derivatives component to the license (CC BY SA ND or CC BY ND) is not considered an open textbook. This is because ND licenses do not allow for revising and remixing. Although you may find some textbooks in our library with ND licenses, as of November, 2016 we are no longer accepting textbooks with that license.

For further reading about defining open:

Submit an Open Textbook

Is there an open textbook you'd like to see included in the Open Textbook Library? Please ensure it meets our criteria above, and then use our form to submit it for consideration.