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Open Educational Resources (OER) by Subject: Citing Textbooks and Images

Citing OpenStax Textbooks

To create a bibliographic reference for an OpenStax textbook, follow this pattern:

Author(s). (Year). Title. Publisher. URL or DOI


Here's a sample Reference Citation for the OpenStax Biology 2e textbook:


Clark, M. A., Douglas, M., & Choi, J. (2018, March 28). Biology. OpenStax.

Here, the authors' last name, first & (if included) middle initials are included. The copyright date (year) and the URL can be found on the copyright statement page of the PDF of the e-textbook.


If you redistribute this textbook, part of this textbook, or images from this textbook in a print format, these authors request you include on every physical page using content from this source the following attribution:

  • "Access for free at"

If you have a link to the e-textbook in your class, and it opens in your browser (and not in a PDF), then the copyright date may be different. To find the correct copyright date for the web-based version of the textbook, go to the Table of Contents area, select "Preface" and then look for the "Attribution" section (it may be all the way at the bottom of the page). The copyright date should be located there.

Under the Attribution tab, find the area called "How to Reuse & Attribute this content." This will contain the publication date that you can use in your citation.

Citing Images

All Creative Commons (CC) attributions should have the same basic information:

  • Title of image
  • Creator name Source of the image (usually in the form of a URL to image source page)
  • Any copyright information included with image (such as a watermark)
  • CC license information (including link back to CC documentation page if possible)

In the shortest caption allowed by the above, you would put:

caption: Title [hyperlinked to source] (c)Creator, License information [hyperlinked] 

example: Unless otherwise indicated, Biology by Openstax fro Openstax is licensed CC BY.

For works in the public domain, the authors should be cited. Additionally, if a public domain work has been curated or made available by a person other than the author, that provider should also be appropriately credited.


Content included in the OER by Subject Research Guide by Skyline Library is licensed CC BY 4.0 unless otherwise indicated.