An open textbook is an openly-licensed textbook offered online by its author(s). The open license sets open textbooks apart from traditional textbooks by allowing users to read online, download, or print the book at no additional cost.
For a textbook to be considered open, it must be licensed in a way that grants a baseline set of rights to users that are less restrictive than its standard copyright. A license or list of permissions must be clearly stated by the author.
Generally, the minimum baseline rights allow users at least the following:
to use the textbook without compensating theauthor
to copy the textbook, with appropriate credit to theauthor
to distribute the textbook non-commercially eg. for teaching purposes via the Learning Management System
to shift the textbook into another format (such asdigital or print)
Many open access authors also grant rights such as:
to add, remove or alter content in the textbook,often on the condition that derivative works musthave the same license
to copy and distribute the textbook without givingcredit to the author