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Teacher's guide: Open course books

What are open books and open educational resources?

Open Science is A Big UmbrellaOpen Educational Resources (OER) are learning, teaching and research materials that reside in the public domain or are under copyright. They can be in any format or medium, and they have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others. (UNESCO)

The whole book or a book chapter can be published immediately open access.
Open access books are freely available online and can be reused in different ways depending on
how they are licensed under a Creative Commons licence. Many commercial and non-profit
publishers, such as university presses, publish scholarly books in the open access model, and
these publications are usually subject to the same quality assurance, peer review and editorial processes as commercial books.

Picture: Open Science is a Big Umbrella, Robin Champieux, CC BY 4.0

Why to choose an open book as course book?

  • The availability of books is improving:
    • There are no restrictions on simultaneous use, so open books are also suitable for courses with a large number of students.
    • Books are available for immediate use: no long reservation queues or need to wait for your turn to read the e-book.
    • Tuni login for remote use is not required because the books have a permanent identifier e.g. DOI, URN, Handle. With a permanent identifier, you can access the publication directly, and easily link the open book as course material to different learning platforms such as Moodle.
    • Availability is more secure than in commercial e-books which publishers may withdraw from e-book collections or whose loans may run out in the middle of the academic year.
  • The usability of books is better because there are no DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions:
    • The contents of books can usually be printed and copied without restriction.
    • You don't need a reading program to read books, Adobe Reader is enough.
    • Often the book can be saved permanently on your own device.
  • Books can be reused and adapted for your course in many different ways, depending on how they are licensed:
    • Some openly available books may have a CC BY-ND license (No Derivatives), which does not allow editing or derivative works.
    • Check the type of Creative Commons license the book/work you have chosen for your course has.
  • Open educational resources provide a relevant example of how pedagogy can point toward a richer way to integrate technology into courses, shifting to a student-centered approach to learning:
    • Open educational resources promote lifelong and continuous learning.
    • They are available to students throughout the learning process (before, during and after the course) and supports students in adopting a deep approach to learning.
    • Open educational resources democratize education, and provide equal opportunities for learners worldwide. 
  • Authors of educational resources have the opportunity to gain visibility and merit by opening their materials.

Please remember open articles in scientific journals as course material.


How to evaluate the reliability of an open book?

More information on Federation of Finnish Learned Societies' peer-reviewed label.

Where to find open books?

You can find open books in the high-quality and multidisciplinary search services and databases below.

In Andor search service, you can find a comprehensive selection of open books from different disciplines. The Library adds open resources to Andor search service, such as DOAB, OAPEN and Knowledge Unlatched collections.

You can narrow your search with the tools on the left side:

Availability - Open Access and Resource type - Books

DOAB is a multidisciplinary database containing peer-reviewed and high-quality open books. You can search within a certain discipline (browse by subject) and by different publishers.




Knowledge Unlatched is an international organisation that enables libraries and publishers to work together to promote open publishing. Open Research Library offers open books in different disciplines.

Open Textbook Library contains open course books from different disciplines. Open books are licensed by authors and publishers for unlimited use and editing.

Couldn't find the open book for your course? Please check out our Alternative access guide.

In the Library of Open Educational Resources, you can search for and share open educational resources (OER) from all levels of education. 

Library of Open Educational Resources



Find out more with the library's guide to Open education and open educational resources.

Do you want an open course book added to Andor?

if you have chosen an open book as course material, the Library can add the open book’s information (ie. metadata) to Andor. You can send the request to


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