Congress proposes $5 million for open textbooks

[UPDATE, 3/23]: This bill has officially been signed into law.

As part of the FY18 Omnibus funding bill announced by Congress late Wednesday night, legislators have proposed $5 million to launch a federal open textbook grant program. The funds, which will be offered to institutions of higher education on a competitive basis, will be used to “create new open textbooks or expand their use in order to achieve savings for students while maintaining or improving instruction and student learning outcomes.”

This represents a first-of-its-kind investment in open education – the culmination of years of work by OER advocates and champions of open education in Congress. The bill also includes a strong open licensing requirement:

“The Secretary shall require that any open textbook created with program funds be licensed under a nonexclusive, irrevocable license to the public to exercise any of the rights under copyright conditioned only on the requirement that attribution be given as directed by the copyright owner.”

The bill is expected to move quickly through votes in the House and Senate, and will likely be signed by the end of this week.

See more from our coalition partners, SPARC and U.S. PIRG, who organized extensive campaigns in support of the proposal.

https://uspirg.org/blogs/blog/usp/fy18-open-textbooks-program-appropriation-next-step-toward-textbook-affordability

https://sparcopen.org/news/2018/open-textbooks-fy18/

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