An open textbook is a textbook licensed under an open copyright license, and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers and members of the public.  The UK Open Textbooks project (2017-2018) has explored the readiness of the UK open textbook market through a combination of survey research, interviews, and a series of case studies.  Key takeaways include:

  • 20% of students who start a UK degree course will not finish, with maintenance costs a significant factor
  • Current students will average £50,000 in fees and maintenance loans upon graduation
  • NUS data indicates an average spend of £1,000 per student year on books and materials
  • 88% of UK students claim to have skipped purchasing a textbook because of price
  • There is a significant body of research demonstrating the quality and efficaciousness of open textbooks and OER more generally
  • Open textbooks are funded by universities, foundations, governments and other institutions to disrupt the traditional model of textbook publishing
  • In the open model, authors are typically paid for their work, which is then released under an open licence (usually Creative Commons)
  • This allows content to be freely copied, shared, edited, remixed and used in new ways without further permissions
  • Using open textbooks can also lead to significant innovations in teaching and learning through open pedagogies and open educational practices
  • Many UK universities have begun to explore the possibilities!
  • The full report will be available in October 2018 from

Follow the UK open textbook movement via @UKOpenTextbooks