Open Textbook Initiative



On September 27th 2016, Governor Gina Raimondo announced a statewide Open Textbook Initiative during a press conference at Rhode Island College (RIC).

The initiative challenged Rhode Island’s higher education institutions to reduce college costs by saving students $5 million over five years using open licensed textbooks. Seven higher education institutions have pledged to support the Governor’s challenge by working with faculty to identify open licensed textbooks that would fit their classes.

Open Texbook Partners

The Rhode Island Office of Innovation coordinates the Open Textbook Initiative in partnership with RIC’s Adams Library and Roger Williams University.  Additionally, librarians from all Rhode Island higher education institutions represent their school's commitment and spearhead efforts on their own campus. See below for a list of the full Steering Committee. 

Additional partners and their efforts include:

The Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner and the Office of Innovation

Providing micro-grants for faculty to support the review and transition to openly-licensed textbooks.

The Open Textbook Network 

Providing training and implementation support for higher education institutions participating in the RI Open Textbook Initiative.

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

Providing training to academic librarians to support faculty in identifying openly licensed educational resources.


Steering Committee

The Open Textbook Steering Committee plays a critical goal in guiding the ongoing work to make Rhode Island an Open Textbook state.

  • Dragan Gill (Co-Chair), Rhode Island College

  • Lindsey Gumb (Co-Chair), Roger Williams University

  • Sarah Evelyn, Brown University

  • Meagan Joseph, Bryant University

  • James Salisbury, Community College of Rhode Island

  • Kerry Caparco, Johnson & Wales University

  • Tom Thibodeault, New England Institute of Technology

  • Andria Tieman Michney, Providence College

  • Emily Coxe, Rhode Island School of Design

  • lisa richter, Salve Regina University

  • Peter Larsen, University of Rhode Island

Exorbitant textbook prices have become a barrier to student success. Over the last decade college textbook prices have increased by 88%. In addition, traditional textbooks carry restrictive licenses that prevent innovation by faculty and schools. That is why we need openly licensed textbooks, which can be freely distributed online and updated and improved by faculty. Hundreds of high-quality openly licensed textbooks are available, and greater use of these books could help Rhode Island students save money, learn more, and graduate faster.  Digital textbooks can also address accessibility requirements, such as text-to-speech and translation supports.

Rhode Island College kicked off the initiative by announcing their faculty’s transition to open licensed textbooks in all sections of Biology 108, the largest biology course at the college, saving students roughly $100,000 over the 2016-17 school year. 

Learn more with the following resources:


Media Coverage

What is Open?

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