California Bill would create open access textbook digital library

California Senate Bills 1052 and 1053 would create the California Open Source Digital Library to house open source materials while providing a web-based way for students, faculty, and staff to easily find, adopt, utilize and/or modify course materials for little or no cost.

The bills were first introduced in February 2012, and despite strong opposition from the Association of American Publishers have passed in the Senate with strong bipartisan support. The bills, which are now headed to the California State Assembly would:

  • Establish the “California Open Education Resources Council”, comprised of faculty from the UC, CSU, and Community Colleges for Development of a list of the 50 most widely taken lower-division courses.

  • Develop a standardized, rigorous review and approval process for developed open source materials.

  • Promote strategies for production, access, and use of open source materials.

  • Require publishers, as a condition of a campus bookstore’s purchase of specified books, to provide at least 3 free copies of the book to be placed on reserve at the campus library.

  • Set up a competitive “Request for Proposals” (RFP) process inviting faculty, publishers, and other interested parties to, in 2013, produce the 50 high quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials.

  • Require that materials produced be placed under a Creative Commons attribution license that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material while still allowing the authors or creators to receive credit for their efforts

  • Require that materials produced be modular to allow easy customization and encoded in an XML format or other appropriate future format so that they can be made available on the widest possible range of platforms (web, tablet, smartphone, print, etc.) and so that they are accessible by persons with disabilities.

  • Encourage UC, CSU, and the community colleges to assist and support faculty in choosing lower cost alternatives such as open source books and related teaching tools

[see reports in the Daily Bruin and the Daily Californian]