As there is already a large number of open textbooks that have been published, it is not difficult to find one that can be repurposed to fit your course. Sources of OER are listed in this guide.
Benefits of adapting OERs:
For more information, see BCcampus's OER Adaptation Guide.
Once an OER has been selected, the next step is to determine how it is licensed and what permissions you have. Please note that open licenses do not replace copyright. Instead, they change the default of "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved", the terms of which can vary:
Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) is the most common open license. It grants the rights to use, adapt, and distribute the material as long as the author is attributed.
Creative Commons Attribute ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) grants the rights to use, adapt, and distribute the material as long as the author is attributed and derivative versions use the same license.
Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) grants the right to use, adapt, and distribute non-commercially as long as the author is attributed and any derivative versions use the same license.
Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs (CC BY-ND) allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged, with credit to the author.
A full list of the types of open licenses is on the Creative Commons webpage.
Note that public domain dedications are not Creative Commons licenses; instead, these licenses wave all rights reserved by copyright to place the work in the public domain. Attribution is often appreciated but not necessary.
For faculty who wish to create their own OER, a decision on development software and open licensing terms should be made early on. A common editing tool for OERs is PressBooks, which is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to author and produce eBooks and other content.
For more information, see BCcampus's Self-Publishing Guide.
Please see the University of Toronto's Open Textbook Toolkit for information on OER publishing tools. For publishing information specific to PressBooks, see their useful guide.
Although OERs are born digital, meaning they are digital files first, it is possible to have students request print copies via print-on-demand services when they are available. Print-on-demand copies are a low-cost alternative to traditional textbooks.
Republishing under an open license
Have you written a book that is still under copyright with a publisher but is out of print? Are you interested in getting permission to republish that work under an open license? See the Authors Alliance guide for information on rights reversion.
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