An alliance of higher education institutions, systems and consortia moving open education forward

Our Story

Dave Ernst started the Open Textbook Library (OTL) in 2012 at the University of Minnesota to make finding open textbooks easier for faculty, and launched an accompanying workshop encouraging them to consider open textbooks for their courses. His interest and work in expanding the use of open textbooks was a direct response to escalating textbook costs in higher education and their negative impact on students’ academic success, especially on those who are most financially vulnerable.

In 2014, as more institutions became interested in the OTL and workshop, Dave announced the creation of the Open Textbook Network to provide a space for the institutions to talk with each other about open education. In 2020, the Open Textbook Network became the Open Education Network (OEN), a new name that better reflects the broad scope of the community. Today, the OEN is an open education community of both vision and practice, and the leadership, actions, and results of the community are transforming higher education.

Guiding principles

We, the members of the Open Education Network (OEN), commit to working together to make open the default in higher education. When we advance open education locally and collectively, we empower faculty, remove barriers to education, and enhance student success.

The OEN is a vibrant and supportive community that advances the use of open educational resources and practices. Members benefit from and contribute to the global open education ecosystem.

These are the guiding principles that inform OEN actions:

The Common Good: We are working for the common good of our communities. The results of our collective efforts belong to all of us. We have a mutual responsibility for stewardship of resources we create together in order to preserve and improve them for future generations. We welcome others who share our vision of the common good.

Equity: We have a collective responsibility to build systems that will foster a more equitable future.

Inclusivity: We believe that a diverse and inclusive community is the best way to ensure informed, just, and effective community decisions and actions.

Action: We are an action-oriented organization advancing and championing ideas that will have a lasting benefit for the students, faculty, and staff of academic institutions and the future of learning.

Humanity: We are not merely consumers—we are human beings. As colleagues, community members, citizens, and experts in our own lived experiences, we treat every individual with dignity and respect. We act honestly, truthfully, fairly, and with integrity in all our dealings.

Integrity: We are accountable, transparent, and ethical. Decisions that impact the OEN are made through OEN community engagement.

Shared Abundance: We believe that nothing should stand in the way of learning. Our collective knowledge exists in abundance. We are committed to using this abundance for the benefit of all.

Community Scan Report

Our goal as an organization is to continually adapt, improve and respond to community needs. With this in mind, we launched our third biennial Community Scan in early 2023.

Read our 2023 Community Scan Report for a compilation of member responses and next steps.


Join our community to develop your leadership potential, contribute your expertise, and share strategies for building open education programs.