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Open Educational Resources: Home

This is a guide to open educational resources. It is subject to change as new sources are identified.


Open Educational Resources (OER) "are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge." (Definition from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

"Open access" is the practice of providing unrestricted access to online, peer-reviewed, scholarly materials, including journal articles, books and monographs. Here is a brief introduction from one of the leaders in the field, Peter Suber:

  • Addressing the rising cost of textbooks
  • Increasing the impact of your scholarly research
  • Providing access to information to underserved populations
  • Improving the quality of information available online. 

Article of interest:  Student Group Releases New Report on Textbook Prices

Open Resources

With few exceptions, the text that follows the name of each resource is taken directly from its website.

Biodiversity Heritage Library ( is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).

Bloomsbury Academic ( is an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Selected research publications in the humanities and social sciences are published on open content licenses, meaning that the full text is available online for free in html format. These titles are also available to buy as p-books and e-books.

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative ( is an open educational resources (OER) project. We provide web-based courses based on a detailed, science-based understanding of how students learn.

Center for Open Education ( a source of openly-licensed textbooks available to download and use for free and is maintained by the University of Minnesota.  Their open textbook library is available at:

CK-12 Foundation ( ) is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. CK-12 is using an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the “FlexBook.” With these free, common core aligned and NSES aligned digital textbooks, CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational STEM content that will serve both as core text as well as provide an adaptive environment for learning through the FlexBook Platform.

College Open Textbooks ( This collection of sixteen educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. This includes providing training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, and mentoring online professional networks that support for authors opening their resources, and other services.

Connexions ( delivers content for free over the Internet for schools, educators, students, and parents to access 24/7/365. Materials are easily downloadable to almost any mobile device for use anywhere, anytime.  Schools can also order low cost hard copy sets of the materials (textbooks).

Curriki ( is the leading K-12 global community for teachers, students and parents to create, share, and find open learning resources that improve teacher effectiveness and student outcomes.

The Digital Public Library (http://dp.labrings together the riches of America's libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.

Directory of Open Access Journals ( is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

The Directory of Open Access Textbooks ( is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.

Flat World Knowledge ( was created to provide better textbook options to students and faculty, who are frustrated with the limitations and costs of traditional textbooks. We kept what works: expert authors, editorial development, peer review and teaching supplements. And changed everything else to give choices and control back to students and educators.

HathiTrust Digital Library ( a digital preservation repository and highly functional access platform. It provides long-term preservation and access services for public domain and in copyright content from a variety of sources, including Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house partner institution initiatives. 

Khan Academy ( materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge via YouTube or Khan website.

MERLOT ( is a free and open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy. MERLOT is a leading edge, user-centered, collection of peer reviewed higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services.

MIT OpenCourseWare ( is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

National Institutes of Health - National Institute of General Medical Sciences ( We offer free publications geared to high school and college students on topics including cell biology, genetics, chemistry, structural biology, computational biology and pharmacology.

OER Africa ( is an innovative initiative established by the South African Institute for Distance Education (Saide) to play a leading role in driving the development and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) across all education sectors on the African continent. 

OER Commons ( is a worldwide learning network of shared teaching and learning materials made freely available online.

The Open Access Digital Library ( offers free access to over 12,000 full-text, scholarly journals in a variety of subjects. 

Open Access Directory ( is a compendium of simple factual lists about open access to science and scholarship.

The Open Courseware Consortium ( is a worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing OpenCourseWare (OCW) and its impact on global education. OCW is a free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials for colleges and universities.

OpenStax College ( 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.

The Open Textbook Network ( promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open access textbooks.

The Open University ( As part of our mission we are making an increasing amount of Open University teaching and learning resources available free of charge to anyone with access to the internet.

Open Culture ( brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content. Free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free e-books and other enriching content; it’s all here.

The Peer 2 Peer University ( is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities.

Project Gutenberg ( is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books.

Project Kaleidoscope ( is implementing a set of fully open general education courses across eight colleges serving predominantly at-risk students. The project will dramatically reduce textbook costs and allow collaborative improvement of course design to improve student success.

Right to Research Coalition ( is a wiki that hosts factual lists about open access. 

The Saylor Foundation ( is a free and open collection of college level courses.

Many resources shared from the Nancy A. McDonough Geschke Library, Marygrove College

UNK Library Resources

Some resources available through the Library include:

Faculty Next Steps

  • Assign open access materials in your courses
  • Participate in the peer review of open access journals
  • Advocate that open access publications be recognized in promotion and tenure evaluations
  • Publish an open access article or book
  • Negotiate to retain your copyright with publishers that aren’t open access
  • Become familiar with what others are doing