New U.S. bill proposes OER mandate

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) last week introduced the Open College Textbook Act (S. 1714). (Thanks to TechLaw.) The bill has two main parts:

  • Authorizes $15 million for grants to develop open textbooks for college courses. The grants would be managed by the Department of Education, with a peer review process involving the National Science Foundation. Funding would be available to create new open textbooks, update existing open textbooks, or adapt traditional textbooks. The resulting works would have to be available OA: free online and under an open license.
  • Requires that “educational materials such as curricula and textbooks created through grants distributed by Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, for use in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary courses shall be licensed under an open license” and “made available free of charge”.

Also see Durbin’s press release on the bill.

Comment. Is this the first federal legislation to define “open license”?

See also our past posts on Sen. Durbin, or our past post on a similar piece of legislation in the House, the LOW COST Act.