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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Before you start your search for an open textbook

  • Download this Western Open Books Initial Consultation Checklist (updated 13 Sep 2023). Use it to guide you through the publishing workflow for Western Open Books in consultation with the Library. Contact the Scholarly Publishing Consultant if you have any questions about the Checklist or the publishing process.
  • Use this OER Development Worksheet (Word download) to help determine the open textbook required for educational purposes.
  • Refer to the Subject Outlines for relevant keywords to search, e.g. in the name of the Subject and the Handbook Summary.
  • Get acquainted with licensing and attribution, so you know:
    • how OER content can be openly licensed, e.g. CC BY, for use. The six CC licences include:
      • CC BY - Attribution must be given to the creator.
      • CC BY-SA - Attribution required, and you agree to licence new derivative versions of the resource you create under CC BY-SA.
      • CC BY-NC - Attribution required; non-commercial use only; commercial use requires a separate, negotiated licence.
      • CC BY-NC-SA - Attribution required, non-commercial use only; commercial use requires a separate, negotiated licence; and you agree to licence new derivative versions of the resource you create under CC BY-NC-SA well.
      • CC BY-ND - Attribution required; no derivative works permitted; creation of derivative works requires a separate, negotiated licence.
      • CC BY-NC-ND - This licence is the most restrictive of our six main licences. It allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
    • How to attribute (openly CC license) the OER you create.
    • Document third-party copyright content permissions (Excel download).
How to search for an open textbook

Following is an example of how you can start your search for an open textbook:

  1. Search using keywords from the Subject title and course description (a.k.a About this Subject) e.g.

    200432.4 Commercial Law

    About this Subject

    In this subject, students learn about the concepts of law, its impact on businesses, and how to apply the law to solve practical legal problems that arise in business. The subject is designed to help you identify where potential legal issues or problems can arise in business. In addition, it deals with concepts of Australian law and commercial legal obligations that are important to professional practice and studies in later units. The subject topics are Australian Legal Institutions and Sources of Law, Case Law and Doctrine of Precedent, Legislation and Statutory Interpretation, The Australian Federation and Concepts of Constitutional Law, Principles of Tortious Liability, the formation, vitiation, performance and discharge of contracts, forms of business structure, consumer transactions, consumer protection and agency.

  2. Use the resources in this guide (refer to the Box below on Open Textbooks) to search several textbook repositories using the search query: “commercial law” (Australia OR Australian). You should locate these resources:
Where to find an open textbook

Whichever approaches you use to find an open textbook, check whether the content is openly licensed and a good fit for your purpose.

Try the following approaches:

  • Use Google to search for an "open textbook" on your chosen topic
  • Use the Library search box

There are over 22,000 resources that are licensed as open access in the Library search box. Sign in to the Library search box using your WesternAccount. When you perform a search on open textbooks, there will be fewer resources. You will also find textbooks with the subject term 'open textbook' listed in the subject terms section. To start:

  • use the Library Search box Advanced Search option. Make sure you:
    • enter your search terms.
    • Select Material Type: Books.
    • Refine your results by 'Full-Text Online' and 'Open Access' and APPLY FILTERS.
  • You can adapt and contextualise the open textbook for your local needs; reuse and embed your open textbook into the curriculum.

Not all open access resources are classified as open textbooks (you can only tell by the subject terms applied). You can also tell when an item is open by the icon displayed.

  • Browse the top major textbook platforms

By open textbook repository:

Find FREE Online Course Materials Related to a Book - Type in your commercial textbook ISBN to find open alternatives.

Pressbooks Directory

Mason OER Metafinder


OER Commons (includes Pressbooks open textbooks)

Logo Doab Directory of Open Access Books


Open Textbook Library

BC Open Textbook Project



Also see these open textbook repositories.


By course/discipline:

OpenOregon Educational Resources

BCcampus Adoption Finder BCcampus Adoption Finder

Browse external OER guides, e.g.,

How to attribute (openly licence) your open textbook

For guidance on how to attribute your open textbook, go to the section on Licensing and Attribution.

© Western Sydney University, unless otherwise attributed.
Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)