Research Library Issues / No. 280 / Sept. 2012
- Marilyn S. Billings, Scholarly Communication and Special Initiatives Librarian, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Sarah C. Hutton, Head, Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Services, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Jay Schafer, Director of Libraries, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Charles M. Schweik, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Conservation and Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Matt Sheridan, Digital Repository Resident Librarian, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University Libraries, in collaboration with the campus academic administration (the Provost’s
Office), faculty support groups (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development), and academic programs (the Information Technology minor), have led the effort to incentivize faculty to modify the traditional
commercial textbook model with resources that are openly available or available to students at no additional charge. Among the alternatives now in place are:
- True open access textbooks available through the libraries’ institutional repository, ScholarWorks@ UMass Amherst, or other open textbook solutions
- Hybrid open educational resources that utilize the learning management system to provide accessto appropriate resources (articles, e-books, streaming media) already licensed by the libraries
- Reducing the number of “required textbooks” by supplementing one core commercial textbookwith either open access resources or resources already licensed by the libraries to reduce theoverall cost to students.
While assessment of student and faculty satisfaction is still under way, preliminary indications are that both groups are very satisfied with efforts to challenge the existing model of expensive commercial textbooks with a model using OERs. One-time savings to students of over $205,000 have resulted from an initial investment of $27,000—and these savings will multiply each time the course is taught. Working with faculty and commercial publishers to promote and facilitate the adoption of open educational resources and other hybrid models places the libraries in an excellent position to uphold their public land-grant mission and to gain support from campus administration, parents, and students.
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