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Textbook Affordability, Open Textbooks, Digital Commons: OER Research

OER / Open Textbook - Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Research

Publications by the OpenEd Research Group (OEG) - An ongoing list of articles and book chapters published by OEG members relating to OER.

Clinton-Lisell, V., Legerski, E., Rhodes, B., & Gilpin, S. (2021). Open Educational Resources as tools to foster equity. In C. Ozaki & L. Parson (Eds.) Teaching & learning for social justice and equity in higher education, Volume 2 (pp. 317-337). Palgrave MacMillan. (GFU community access via the library login)

Hilton, J. Open educational resources, student efficacy, and user perceptions: a synthesis of research published between 2015 and 2018Education Tech Research Dev 68, 853–876 (2020).

Brandle, S., Katz, S., Hays, A., Beth, A., Cooney, C., DiSanto, J., Miles, L., & Morrison, A. (2019). But What Do The Students Think: Results of the CUNY Cross-Campus Zero-Textbook Cost Student SurveyOpen Praxis, 11(1), 85-101. doi:

Journal: Psychology Teaching & Learning – Special Issue: Volume 18 Issue 1, March 2019.

Editors, G., Jhangiani, R. S., Hardin, E. E., & Beers, M. J. (2019). PLAT 18(1) 2019: Open Educational Practices: Perceptions and Outcomes. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 18(1), 1–3.

Introduction to the Special Issue: The adoption of open educational resources (OER) is rapidly becoming a normative practice in higher education, in part due to the cost savings associated with the use of these free resources and in part due to the pedagogical flexibility afforded by open licensing...This special issue of Psychology Learning and Teaching features empirical investigations of the perceptions, use, and outcomes of OER as well as discussions of innovative applications of open pedagogy, in the context of learning and teaching psychology. (Library access available to George Fox U. community for articles not openly published.)

Jhangiani, R. S., Dastur, F. N., Le Grand, R., & Penner, K. (2018). As Good or Better than Commercial Textbooks: Students’ Perceptions and Outcomes from Using Open Digital and Open Print TextbooksThe Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9 (1).

This study investigates the perceptions, use, and course performance of Canadian post-secondary students assigned a commercial or open textbook in either print or digital format. Results show that students using the print format of the open textbook perceive its quality to be superior to the commercial textbook. Moreover, students assigned an open textbook in either format perform either no differently from or better than those assigned a commercial textbook. These results are consistent with the existing literature and support the conclusion that the cost savings to students associated with the adoption of open textbooks do not come at the expense of resource quality or student performance.

Colvard, Nicholas, and C. Edward Watson. "The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics." International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30.2 (2018): 262-275.

Investigated benefits for using OER beyond cost savings. Nearly 22,000 students were studied between 2010 and 2016, about half in non-OER classes and half in OER classes. In addition to cost savings of more than $3 million, study found that OER significantly improved outcomes in courses for underserved populations: students who received Pell Grants, non-White students and part-time students. 

Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-18.

Fischer, Lane. John Hilton III, T. Jared Robinson, and David Wiley. "A Multi-Institutional Study of the Impact of Open Textbook Adoption on the Learning Outcomes of Post-Secondary Students." Journal of Computing in Higher Education 27.3 (December 2015): 159-172. Web.

Research study across multiple institutions on the efficacy of OER materials in undergraduate classes. Students assigned to OER materials had more favorable outcomes in several areas including course completion rates, course grades, and enrollment in future courses.

Hilton, J., Robinson T. J., Wiley, D. A., & Ackerman, J. (2014). Cost-Savings Achieved in Two Semesters Through the Adoption of Open Educational Resources. International Review of Research on Distance and Open Learning.

            We report on the cost savings achieved by students at eight colleges when these colleges began utilizing OER in place of traditional commercial textbooks.


OER / Open Textbook News / Reports, Etc.


  • Student PIRGs Open Textbook Reports - The Student PIRGs has been a leader in research on textbooks for more than a decade, starting with the release of "Ripoff 101" in 2004. The link above is to a chronological list of the reports and research the Student PIRGs has published on textbooks.