OpenStax: “Open” is better than “Free,” and What the Resource Offers

OpenStax2Yesterday, David Harris, Editor in Chief of OpenStax, came to speak about the organization’s project and development. OpenStax is a free, open textbook resource, meaning that not only are their texts available for use at no cost to staff or students, but they can also be cut, modified, and customized endlessly with no copyright issues. More about them from their website:

OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course. Through our partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax College is working to improve access to higher education for all.

For those interested in browsing their content, we have made their textbooks available for download here. To be clear, OpenStax is working to create texts that are not only free but infinitely adaptable without the instructor themselves having to author the work. OpenStax very much aligns with the goals of Creative Commons — the intent to make information and resources available for use without concern of copyright issues. While copyright itself may not seem of imminent concern to all, especially students, another viewpoint to be held is that copyright equals cost. Hence, “open” resources of any time translate into reduced costs for students. Were a university to entirely adopt this system and eliminate textbook costs altogether for undergraduates, that would mean a student who had needed student loans to get their college education would graduate with thousands of dollars less in student loan debt.

If you have questions, Ashley Miller would also be happy to talk in more detail about OpenStax to any interested parties. She can also arrange a phone call or WebEx with the OpenStax team, particularly if anyone would like to see a demonstration of the web editor interface. You can email her at