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Vol. 1 No. 1 (2022): Journal of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education

Doctoral Students’ Perspectives on Textbooks and Open Educational Resources: Needs, Impact, and Future Directions

June 15, 2022


While discussions of textbook needs have typically focused on undergraduate students, doctoral students face some unique challenges related to course materials. Their positionality as students and also potentially future faculty, researchers, or instructors can provide useful insight as academic libraries seek opportunities to promote open textbooks. This article reports on the results of semi-structured in-depth interviews with 12 doctoral students in the College of Education at the Pennsylvania State University. Findings suggest that they obtain access to required textbooks in different ways and tend to purchase a personal copy of a textbook if they expected to use it in the future for their research. Their course selection was not impacted by the cost of the required textbook, although textbook requirements influenced their perception of the teaching faculty. Some already had experience publishing OER. Some others expressed interest in promoting OER or open access materials, while others expressed skepticism of these initiatives. Many articulated the importance of accessibility. Materials related to older seminal texts, ethnographical works, and methods textbooks were suggested as potential open textbook targets. Implications for academic libraries are discussed.


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