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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Open Educational Resources Promotions Guide: OER Repositories

OER Promotions Guide by Janet Swatscheno as part of the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program

Getting an OER indexed in common OER repositories and referitories is an essential way for faculty and students to find your work. Referitories like the Open Textbook Library are often the first place faculty, librarians, and learners look when trying to find open content. Anyone can submit content to OER Commons, while the Open Textbook Library and MERLOT require that OER meet certain criteria to be indexed. All of these services are free to use and submit material.

Open Textbook Library

The Open Textbook Library is a referitory that indexes open textbooks and accepts reviews from faculty. In order to be included in the library the textbook must have an open license that allows for derivatives and be a complete book (not individual chapters) available as a portable file. The textbook should also be used at multiple higher educational institutions or be affiliated with a higher education institution, scholarly society, or professional organization, and be an original textbook (not a derivative of another textbook) or is for an entirely new audience.

OER Commons

OER Commons is a freely accessible online library that allows teachers and others to search and discover open educational resources. OER Commons is free to join. Instructors can author directly in OER Commons or point to an external resource. Users can also create community groups to connect multiple people


MERLOT is a repository of learning materials and exercises contributed by MERLOT community members. All the materials in MERLOT are reviewed for suitability for retention in the collection and many undergo the more extensive "peer review". It is free to become a member and submit material.

Directory of Open Access Books

The Directory of Open Access Books is an index of open access academic books and is an appropriate place to submit open textbooks. The DOAB has two requirements: academic books must be available under an open access license and they must be subjected to independent and external peer review prior to publication.

Expert Opinions

Anita Walz said that when they published their first open textbook, Fundamentals of Business, she made sure to have it indexed in places where faculty, librarians, and students search for open resources:

I identified the major OER repositories, referitories… I submitted it as a book that meets the qualifications of the Open Textbook Library... It’s listed in MERLOT and OER Commons and it’s not that hard to list something in these different places. You pretty much do it yourself and then you wait a little bit. They don’t always tell you ‘yes it’s in, no it’s not’, but it’s very easy. Really, you need a good description, a picture of the cover, and obviously an open license to do that.

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