Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

OA textbook statement

The MakeTextbooksAffordable campaign has released the Open Textbooks Statement to Make Textbooks Affordable.  From today's announcement:

One thousand professors from over 300 colleges in all 50 states released a statement today declaring their preference for high-quality, no-cost open textbooks over expensive, commercial textbooks. 

Open textbooks are complete, peer reviewed textbooks written by academics that can be used online at no cost and printed for a small cost.  What sets them apart from conventional textbooks is their open license , which allows users flexibility to use, customize and print the textbook.  Open textbooks are already used at some of the nation's most prestigious institutions --including Harvard, Caltech and Yale -- and the nation's largest institutions --including the California community colleges, Arizona State University system, and Ohio State University.

"Open textbooks are comparable, affordable and flexible competition for traditional expensive textbooks," said Talya Bauer, Professor of Management at Portland State University.  "Not only do they save students money, but they provide instructors with a high-quality textbook that they can customize to meet their needs."

Textbooks cost students an average of $900 per year , which is a quarter of tuition at an average four-year public university and nearly three-quarters of tuition at a community college, according to a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

"Textbooks can price students out of higher education.  With costs rising faster than inflation and tuition, some students are faced with the difficult choice to drop out, take on additional debt, or undercut their own learning by not purchasing textbooks," said Nicole Allen, Textbooks Advocate for The Student PIRGs.

Research conducted by The Student PIRGs identifies publisher tactics as the primary cause of escalating prices.  Bundling textbooks with unnecessary supplements forces students to purchase items they do not need; unnecessary new editions undermine the used book market; and withholding critical price information keeps faculty in the dark....

For more information, visit [the Open Textbooks Statement to Make Textbooks Affordable]....

PS:  It's not too late to sign on to the statement.