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Scholarly Communications

In 2003, ACRL defined scholarly communication as "the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to to the scholarly community, and preserved."


Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. W&M Libraries are interested in helping the campus community to learn about and incorporate OER's into their courses. For more info, contact the Digital Scholarship Librarian or use the links below to find OER sources.

Faculty can also pursue integrating OpenStax textbooks and other OER resources through Barnes & Noble’s Faculty Enlight, which is its faculty textbook and course materials tool. Using this tool (which can be integrated with Blackboard), faculty can link to customized course materials such as OER’s and course packs. They can also get estimates on student textbook costs, see what has been adopted for the course in prior semesters and even see what other universities have adopted. Read more on their courseware information.


Links to OER sources

Mason OER Metafinder: Described as the "Google of OER's", this site allows you to simultaneously search across 15 OER platforms including  HathiTrust, MERLOT II,, OER Commons, OpenStax, DPLA, Project Gutenberg and more. 

Directory of Open Access Books: A service of OAPEN Foundation, an international initiative dedicated to Open Access monograph publishing, based at the National Library in The Hague. DOAB is being developed in close cooperation with Lars Bjørnshauge and Salam Baker Shanawa, who were also responsible for the development of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Discoverable through Mason OER Metafinder (linked above).

OER Commons: OER Commons, from the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), 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.

OpenStax: A non-profit organization within Rice University offering open access peer-reviewed online textbooks to improve student access to education. Included in the Open Textbook Library and discoverable through Mason OER Metafinder (linked above).

Open Textbook Library: A growing collection of free, peer-reviewed, and openly-licensed textbooks which may be adapted to suit faculty purposes. Includes the OpenStax textbooks and is discoverable through Mason OER Metafinder (linked above).

Teaching Commons: Showcases high-quality open educational resources from leading colleges and universities and makes them available to educators and students around the world. Curated by librarians and their institutions and hosted by bepress, the Teaching Commons includes open-access textbooks, course materials, lesson plans, multimedia, lectures, k-12 materials, and more. 

Affordable Course Materials (OER Alternatives)

OER Alternatives

Interested in decreasing textbook costs for W&M students, but haven't found an OER yet? You might consider the following alternatives:

Contact your liaison librarian or the digital scholarship librarian for more info.

Authoring OER's

Authoring OER's

Authoring Open TextbooksThis guide is for faculty authors, librarians, project managers and others who are involved in the production of open textbooks in higher education and K-12. Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools. 

Modifying an Open Textbook: From the Rebus Community, a concise guide on how you can adapt an open textbook already published for your course.

OER Commons: Run by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, this is a platform for publishing OER's. Per the site, "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."

OER Toolkit: Provided by the Ontario college libraries and learning centres and the Ontario Colleges Library Service (OCLS), this guide to open educational resources, provides faculty and library staff with tools and information to understand, engage with, create, and sustain OER in their work and practice. 

The Rebus Community offers a collaborative model for open textbook publishing. Faculty, staff and students are all eligible to participate in a variety of capacities, from publishing to proof reading, providing help in identifying images, assisting with promotions and more.

News on OER's

News on OER's

 New funding: VIVA Course Redesign Grants

Are you interested in textbook affordability for W&M students? If so, there is some new funding and resources available from Virginia’s academic library consortium, VIVA, to fund up to $30,000 per applicant or applicant team for adopting, adapting or creating openly-licensed textbooks and/or course materials. Funds can cover faculty and staff time and compensation, including course release time, overload pay, and replacement coverage, depending on institutional and departmental policies. The RFP, application,  evaluation criteria and more are all described on the VIVA Course Redesign Grants program page.

Legislation was adopted on April 4, 2018 at the Virginia legislature via HB 454: Higher educational institutions, public; governing boards, open educational resources to require the governing board of each public institution of higher education to implement policies, procedures, and guidelines that encourage the adoption and use of low-cost and no-cost open educational resources in courses offered at such institution. This includes posting a list of all textbook adoptions in a central place and that adoptions are given to the campus bookstores with sufficient lead time to ensure availability. Read the full text here.

On September 26, 2017, legislation for the Affordable College Textbook Act was introduced in Congress to expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students. According to the bill, the Secretary of Education would make grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to support projects that expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students while maintaining or improving instruction and student learning outcomes. Stay tuned to to learn more on this effort.

Articles on OER

Articles on OER

Ways students can get involved in OER advocacy

Ways students can get involved

There are several ways that student groups can get involved in advocating for adoption or OER's at their institutions: