In this article, authors Marilyn S. Billings, Sarah C. Hutton, Jay Schafer, Charles M. Schweik, and Matt Sheridan provide an overview of open educational resources (OERs), discuss faculty use of OERs as alternatives to traditional resources, and describe the new Open Education Initiative at University of Massachusetts Amherst including the challenges and opportunities it presents. The authors conclude:
While assessment of student and faculty satisfaction is still under way, preliminary indications are that both groups are very satisfied with efforts to challenge the existing model of expensive commercial textbooks with a model using OERs. One-time savings to students of over $205,000 have resulted from an initial investment of $27,000—and these savings will multiply each time the course is taught. Working with faculty and commercial publishers to promote and facilitate the adoption of open educational resources and other hybrid models places the libraries in an excellent position to uphold their public land-grant mission and to gain support from campus administration, parents, and students.