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Open Educational Resources by Subject

Citing OpenStax Textbooks

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

Author. (Year). Title. Publication City, ST: Publisher. Retrieved from http://URL

Here's an example citation for the Biology textbook:

OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Oct 21, 2016

Here, OpenStax College is your group author. The copyright date (year) and the URL can be found on the copyright page of the PDF of the e-textbook. 


If you redistribute the textbook, part of the textbook, or images from the textbook in a print format, then you are required to include on every physical page the following attribution:

"Download 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]


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.