Faculty Guide to OERs

The resources on this page have been compiled by NCSU librarians to assist faculty members in locating high-quality Open Educational Resources for Alt-Textbook Project grant proposals and general use in the classroom. 

Highlighted Resources

OpenStax College Logo OpenStax College

  • OpenStax College offers free, peer-reviewed textbooks in a select number of disciplines. These texts have been designed to meet course standards in scope and sequence. 
  • All OpenStax textbook content is under a Creative Commons attribution license, allowing for the editing and customization of content to suit specific course needs.  

Open Textbook Library Logo Open Textbook Library

  • A searchable catalog of free open textbooks developed by the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development. Textbooks are reviewed by contributing faculty to ensure quality. 
  • All textbooks are available under various Creative Commons open-content licenses. 

Textbook Collections

BCCampus OpenEd Resouces

  • Funded by British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, BCCampus OpenEd has published over 40 open textbooks designed for use in first and second year undergraduate courses. Digital versions of the texts are freely downloadable.
  • Open textbooks are available under a series of Creative Commons and Creative Commons Canada licenses.

College Open Textbooks

  • College Open Textbooks is a large collaborative of non-profit and for-profit organizations designed to promote the use of open textbooks. The site has a collection more than 100 peer reviewed open texts available for classroom use.
  • All open textbooks are freely available for use without restriction. 


  • A large open access publisher of books and journals in the fields of Science, Technology, and Medicine. The publisher currently has over 2000 books and 6 journals available for download. 
  • All resources are freely available in PDF format and have unrestricted free use. 

OAPEN Library

  • OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the open access of academic books in a wide range of languages. The library is fully searchable and is mainly focused on collecting in the Humanities and Social Sciences. 
  • Books from major academic publishers are available for download in PDF format. Licensing will vary based on the publisher. 

Open SUNY Textbooks

  • An initiative of the State University of New York libraries, Open SUNY Textbooks publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks for use in higher education. 
  • All Open SUNY Textbooks are available for use under a Creative Commons non-commercial license. 

The Global Text Project (GTP)

  • Currently managed by the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, the Global Text Project provides a fully searchable textbook library focused on first year undergraduate curriculum. 
  • Books are freely downloadable in an open document format, allowing for the easy modification of materials to suit specific course needs. 

OER Repositories

Merlot II

  • An initiative of the California State University system, Merlot is free peer reviewed collection of educational materials meant for use in higher education. 
  • The collection consists of tens of thousands of discipline-specific resources, course assignments, and contributor comments to guide instruction. 

OER Commons

  • Developed by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, OER Commons is a freely accessible online collection of open educational resources. This fully searchable catalog includes hundreds of open textbooks for use in higher education. 
  • Unless noted otherwise, all site content is freely available under a Creative Commons non-commercial license. 

Open Course Library

  • The Open Course Library is a collection of sharable educational materials that have been designed by college faculty, librarians, or other experts. Sponsored by the Washington State Board of Education, these resource have undergone assessment to ensure quality. 
  • All materials are free, digital, and downloadable under a Creative Commons attribution license. 

OpenStax CNX

  • OpenStax CNX, an initiative of Rice University, is a repository of free educational materials. The content is modular, allowing users to easily remix and customize the site’s educational resources.  
  • All hosted materials are available for download under a Creative Commons open-content license. 

Subject Specific Collections

SmartHistory  (Art History)

  • A free multimedia web-book, SmartHistory is one of the leading open education resources for art history. 
  • A platform where art historians contribute educational materials in their areas of expertise -- this includes videos, images, annotated slide shows, and essays on a wide range of art history topics

Green Tea Press (Computer Science)

  • A collection of free textbooks written by Allen B. Downey, a professor of computer science at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. These texts, many of which became O’Reilly publications, are freely downloadable in PDF format. 
  • All resources are available under the GNU Free Documentation License. 

MedEdPORTAL (Medicine)

  • MedEdPORTAL is a free peer-reviewed publication outlet provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The site can be used to access various educational materials like tutorials, virtual patients, simulation cases, videos, and assessment tools.
  • The site’s content is under various creative commons copyright usage licenses, each of which are clearly stated next to the resource.

Digital Public Library of America (History)

  • Provides access to a wide range of content from the nation’s museums, libraries, and archives.This includes links to millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, and videos. 
  • The copyright status of DPLA content varies. Individual rights information is displayed next to each resource. 

Harvard University Library Open Collections (History)

  • Harvard’s Open Collections provides access to historical resources from the University’s libraries, archives, and museums.
  • Harvard has provided their own rights statement that allows for teaching or research use of all the site’s resources. 

Digital History (US History)

  • Developed at the University of Houston, Digital History is interactive website meant to support the teaching of American History at the high school and collegiate level. The sites various resources are searchable by topic and historical era. 
  • The website offers a clear statement on the use of its resources. 

American Institute of Mathematics (Mathematics)

  • The American Institute of Mathematics has provided a list of open-access textbooks that have been judged to meet the standards of the organization’s editorial board. 
  • The copyright status of these resources varies; a clear licensing statement is offered after opening each link. 

ChemCollective (Chemistry)

  • A project developed by Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Chemistry, ChemCollective contains a multitude of resources to teach and learn chemistry at the undergraduate level. This includes virtual labs, tutorials, simulations, and concept tests. Users can search the collection by resource type or topic.

iLumina (Science & Mathematics)

Perseus Digital Library (History & Classics)

NanoHUB (NanoTech)

Open Educational Resource Community Websites


Open Educational Resources Toolkit

Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN)