Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.29
Liaison Ezra Small
Submission Date Feb. 17, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of Massachusetts Amherst
IN-41: Textbook Affordability

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Ezra Small
Sustainability Manager
Physical Plant
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution host a peer-to-peer textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project?:

A brief description of the textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project:

UMass Libraries Course Reserves: https://www.library.umass.edu/reserves/

The high cost of commercial print textbooks is a major concern for both students and their parents. Data shows that the cost of textbooks affects the academic choices and success of students. If textbooks are prohibitively expensive, students will resort to cost-saving measures such as: buying outdated editions, sharing a copy with classmates, obtaining illegal copies online, or not purchasing them at all. The cost of textbooks can sometimes result in students dropping a course or changing majors. This creates a potential barrier for student success.

Fortunately, there is an alternative: Library Course Reserves: https://www.library.umass.edu/reserves/. The libraries work with faculty to purchase textbooks or scan/link to existing library resources so students aren’t required to spend additional money on textbooks. These materials are often embedded into the learning management system (like Moodle or Canvas) and available to students on the first day of classes. While OER are often used as Course Reserves, this program will also include items licensed by the libraries and funded through a collections budget.

UMass Libraries Open Books: https://openbooks.library.umass.edu/

Both faculty and staff are engaged and creating Open Educational Resources (OER) in the form of open textbooks. These final works are hosted by the UMass Libraries and are freely available to users through our Repository, Open Books: https://openbooks.library.umass.edu/. These projects are often funded through the Open Education Initiative discussed in point 2.

Does the institution provide incentives for academic staff that explicitly encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks?:

A brief description of the incentives to encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks:

In collaboration with The Office of the Provost, the University Libraries are launching the 2022 Open Education Initiative (OEI) Grant Award Cycle. The grants provide funding for instructors to adopt, adapt, or create Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are teaching materials released with an open license, which allows for their free revision and redistribution with attribution to the creator of the original work.

The initiative aims to:
-Encourage the development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks by supporting the adoption, adaptation, or creation of OER.
-Provide support to faculty to implement these approaches.
-Lower the cost of college for students in order to contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation.
-Encourage faculty to engage in new pedagogical models for classroom instruction.

Link: https://guides.library.umass.edu/c.php?g=1216282&p=8904669

Website URL where information about the textbook affordability incentives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information in Part 1 of this credit was provided by Theresa Dooley, Open Education Librarian at the UMass Libraries: https://guides.library.umass.edu/prf.php?id=5c18e705-7cdb-11ed-9922-0ad758b798c3

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.