Rating the Quality of Open Textbooks: How Reviewer and Text Characteristics Predict Ratings


  • Lane Fischer Brigham Young Unversity
  • David Ernst University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Stacie L Mason Brigham Young University




open educational resources (OER), open textbooks


Using data collected from peer reviews for Open Textbook Library titles, this paper explores questions about rating the quality of open textbooks. The five research questions addressed the relationship between textbook and reviewer characteristics and ratings. Although reviewers gave textbooks high ratings generally, reviewers identified differences in quality according to criteria and discipline. Physics and chemistry textbooks earned significantly lower ratings than other textbook types. Ratings were not significantly associated with reviewers’ status and experience, but were associated with reviewers’ place of residence. We discuss the implications for OER efficacy studies and other research.

Author Biographies

Lane Fischer, Brigham Young Unversity

Counseling Psychology & Special Education, Department Chair

David Ernst, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Graduate faculty and the Chief Information Officer in the College of Education and Human Development; Director of the Center for Open Education and Executive Director of the Open Textbook Network (OTN)

Stacie L Mason, Brigham Young University

Instructional Psychology and Technology, Graduate Student



How to Cite

Fischer, L., Ernst, D., & Mason, S. L. (2017). Rating the Quality of Open Textbooks: How Reviewer and Text Characteristics Predict Ratings. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(4). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i4.2985