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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

Looking for OER's to use in your courses at W&M? Here are a few reputable sources of content:

Cool4EdCOOL4ed is a service of the California State University-MERLOT program and which allows you to search for course materials which have been openly licensed or available through MERLOT. Search by keyword or ISBN of a book for which you'd like to find an openly licensed resource on the same topic. Also provides links to supplemental material like workbooks and quizzes.

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 below).

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. 

OASIS: Developed and maintained by SUNY, 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 64 different sources and contains 160,546 records.

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).

W&M School of Education OER's: Access this collection on W&M ScholarWorks, the university's institutional repository.


OER Alternatives

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

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. 

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."

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.

For book templates, consider Overleaf book templates, which are free to use.

News on OER's

Virginia HB 2380 was amended in February, 2019 to require that: The registrar or another appropriate employee of each public institution of higher education shall identify conspicuously in the online course catalogue or registration system, as soon as practicable after the necessary information becomes available, each course for which the instructor exclusively uses no-cost course materials or low-cost course materials.

On March 23, 2018, the US Congress approved $5 million for an open education resources pilot program in the FY18 Omnibus Appropriation Bill

Legislation was passed on March 20, 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.

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.

Ways students can get involved

Consult the following links to find several ways that student groups can get involved in advocating for affordable textbooks at their institutions:

Make Textbooks Affordable: From the Student Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), this site offers news on OER adoption efforts and ways to mobilize.

Making Textbooks Affordable: Student Government Toolkit : Offers background on the problem of textbook affordability and gives tips for raising awareness, building support and winning affordable textbook policy campaigns.

Pass a Student Government Resolution: From the Open Textbook Alliance, this website offers a sample resolution for adoption on campus.

Marian Taliaferro's picture
Marian Taliaferro
Swem Library
(757) 221-1893