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Boatwright Memorial Library

Scholarly Communications: Open Educational Resources

A guide to issues in scholarly communications, including publishing, open access, copyright, author rights, and digital archiving

Open and Affordable Educational Resources

The University of Richmond is committed to access and affordability for all students.  Faculty can contribute to this goal by reducing the costs of textbooks and other educational materials. The UR Libraries offer support for making library-licensed e-resource available to your students and with helping you discover, use and even develop your own open educational resources.

There are several ways to make educational resources affordable for your students:

  • Work with your liaison librarian to purchase multi-use e-books for your class readings (free access to students).
  • Provide permalinks to journal articles and other resources on your Blackboard site or Library E-Reserves (free access to students).
  • Choose a standard textbook and place it on reserve in the library. Then let your students know how to access it.
  • Choose an existing Open Educational Resource.
  • Work with us to develop and publish an OER for your course(s).


Places to search for Open Textbooks & Open Educational Resources

Questions to Consider When Choosing A Textbook

The cost of college textbooks continues to increase and the economic burden is of great concern to students. The College Board estimates that the average student in this country spends around $1,200 a year on books and supplies. A single book can cost as much as $200. Between 2002 and 2013, the price of college textbooks rose 82% — nearly three times the rate of inflation, according to a recent study by the Government Accountability Office.

What can faculty do about the high cost of textbooks?  Here are some questions and suggestions to consider:

  • Move away from assigning over-priced textbooks, especially those that are frequently and needlessly updated.  Can you use a previous edition?
  • Incorporate as classroom texts e-books and online journals that are already available at no cost to students via the campus library.
  • Publish open-access scholarly articles that can be freely used as course texts.
  • Fully exercise the right of fair use to make as much course material as possible digitally available to students via course-management or library systems.
  • Make use of the growing corpus of open-access, peer-reviewed course materials available through repositories, such as those listed below.
  • Encourage colleagues to invest time, intellect, and effort into writing, editing, and peer reviewing open-access textbooks rather than writing textbooks on behalf of for-profit publishers. *

*Acknowledgements to Donald A. Barclay for the above questions and suggestions.

Barclay, Donald A. "No Reservations: Why the Time Has Come to Kill Print Textbook Reserves." College and Research Libraries News 76, no. 6 (June 2015): 332-35.


Social Sciences Librarian

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Samantha Guss
Office: 182 Boatwright Library,
Research & Collaborative Area
Phone: 804-289-8851
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