Portland State University Library Engages Their Mission by Publishing Five New Open Textbooks in Digital Commons

“Library Open Textbooks Save Students $23,800” proclaims the Portland State University Library (PSU) press release—and that was only in their first term of use! Five new open textbooks were published in February in their IR, PDXScholar, authored by PSU faculty in order to better serve their student body, a goal in line with their academic mission. They found that Digital Commons could support their mission by making these online PSU-authored materials readily available to students.

Karen Bjork, Digital Initiatives Coordinator at Portland State University Library, emphasizes that “The rising cost of textbooks are a concern for Portland State University students, and open textbooks help decrease those costs. The PSU library is among the growing number of libraries supporting faculty in creating open textbooks and it’s exciting to see the impact of the pilot project.”

Their program “PDX Open: Reducing Student Textbook Costs” funded this project as part of the “ReTHINK PSU Provost’s Challenge.” The development of open education materials are of paramount importance to PSU’s mission of excellence in education.  “The five textbooks were created for courses in Special Education, Japanese, University Studies, Math, and Urban Studies and Planning. Each author or group of authors received $2,500 to create their textbook,” explained PSU.

They elaborated that “PDX Open created, through the Portland State University Library, an open textbook publishing initiative that provided technical and financial support for faculty members to create open textbooks, with the goal of reducing costs for students.” Their IR, PDXScholar, is the platform for this realization of their mission to support student educational opportunities.