Coming soon to UW Tacoma: Unlocked scholarship and low-cost textbooks

Four book covers in a row, each with a letter on the cover spelling the word, "Open."
“Brigham Young University faculty survey seeks to advance open education through academic libraries” by Jessica Duensing (CC-BY-SA 2.0).

If equitable access to knowledge makes the world a better place (spoiler: it does), life at UW Tacoma is looking up. The Library recently won two out of ten UW Tacoma Strategic Initiative Fund grants, providing funding to help openly share research by UW Tacoma faculty and lower textbook costs for students. Check out the details below to learn how these efforts will expand access to information from and for our campus community.

Unlocking UW Tacoma Scholarly Work

The research produced by UW Tacoma faculty is hugely valuable to our local community and to researchers around the world … but often it ends up locked in expensive databases that limit access to those at affiliated institutions. This grant will assist UW Tacoma faculty with efforts to increase public access to knowledge via Open Access (OA) publishing.

OA publishing makes scholarly work freely available in digital forms with the consent of the author or copyright holder, but the process to make this happen isn’t always straightforward. It requires knowledge of publishing contracts and copyright issues, awareness of appropriate venues to share research, and time to learn a new approach to publishing work.

Justin Wadland, the Library’s Associate Director and Head of the Digital Scholarship Program, will lead efforts to increase faculty sharing in UW Tacoma’s Digital Commons and other OA repositories by developing procedures and offering trainings to facilitate open publishing by campus faculty. We’ll also highlight these “unlocked” works  with special events and share the impact of these efforts with campus.

This work will be done in collaboration with campus partners at the UW Tacoma Office of Research, Faculty Assembly, and UW Libraries Scholarly Publishing and Communications Department.

Building Infrastructure for Open Educational Resources

College tuition isn’t exactly affordable to begin with, and the stream of associated costs make completing a college education that much harder. A major contributor to this problem is the continually rising price of textbooks, which increased by 88 percent between 2006 and 2016. This grant will help reduce these barriers for our students by training faculty to adopt, adapt, and create Open Educational Resources (OER).

OER are openly licensed learning materials, including textbooks, that are available at no cost to students. Not only are they free to use, the license terms often allow educators to adapt or “remix” content in order to personalize it to their course or update information. While the potential benefits of these resources are huge, using them requires time, knowledge, and institutional support that can be hard to come by.

Library Collections and Budget Coordinator Serin Anderson and I will build on previous Library efforts to decrease campus textbook costs by providing a summer workshop series to encourage UW Tacoma faculty to adopt free or low-cost resources for their classes. Faculty will receive a stipend to learn how to find OER in their disciplines, navigate the terms of different open licenses, and supplement, adapt, or create materials as-needed. They will also be introduced to people and services supporting OER in the University of Washington system. Those who choose will receive an additional stipend to develop a plan to implement OER in a UW Tacoma course.

Our partners in this work include members of UW Tacoma’s chemistry faculty, Director of e-Learning Darcy Janzen, and UW Libraries Open Education Librarian Lauren Ray.


We are beyond excited to talk about this work, so don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details. Here’s how to reach us:

  • Justin Wadland, “Unlocking UW Tacoma Scholarly Work:”
  • Marisa Petrich, “Building Infrastructure for Open Educational Resources:”


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