One of reasons faculty cite for their reluctance to adopt an open textbook is the impression they have that many open textbooks are of substandard quality. Or else they feel the quality of an open textbook is uncertain since many don’t go through the traditional vetting and review process used by commercial publishers. Enter OpenStax College. OpenStax is an initiative of Rice University, funded by a number of philanthropic foundations, including The Hewlett Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Twenty Million Minds Foundation, to develop open textbooks that are rigorously peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of the course. From eCampus News:
OpenStax College, a start-up online textbook publisher launched early this year, announced Aug. 14 that its first two book titles, College Physics and Introduction to Sociology, have “sold” more than 13,000 free copies – enough to save students $1 million during the upcoming fall semester.
Richard Baraniuk, OpenStax College’s founder and an engineering professor at Rice, said students would save more money this fall than it cost to create the sociology and physics textbooks, as educators at 55 colleges and universities have committed to using the textbooks this fall.
One of the 55 professors to adopt an OpenStax textbook is Virginia Highlands Community College professor, David Smith, who is using the Physics textbook in a course this fall.