Open Source

last updated 2022-06-16
What is Open Source Why Support/Use Open Source Open Source Software I use Open Source Textbooks

What is Open Source?

Open source is a term that originally referred to open source software (OSS). Open source software is software that is developed collaboratively with code that is designed to be publicly accessible—anyone can see, modify, and distribute the code as they see fit. Open source software is developed in a decentralized and collaborative way, relying on peer review and community production. (See RedHat, 2019 overview of open source).

Why Support/Use Open Source

Open source software is often cheaper (often times FREE), more flexible, and has more longevity than its proprietary peers because it is developed by communities rather than a single author or company (Redhat, 2019). Open source software also has an advantage because it is developed by communities of users, new advances, features, and functions, are often incorporated into the software more quickly (this is especially so for stats software such as R - see Resources section below).

Open source has become a movement and a way of working that reaches beyond software production. The open source movement uses the values and decentralized production model of open source software to find new ways to solve problems in their communities and industries. (RedHat, 2019).

Supporting open source builds community, rather than building monopolies of technology. Supporting open source benefits everyone, rather than lining the pockets of a few organizations.

Open source includes high quality, functional, free (no license fees, continual free upgrades):

  • operating systems (instead of Windows or Mac,
  • office suite (instead of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.),
  • graphic programs (instead of Adobe),
  • statistical software (instead of SPSS),
  • and even textbooks!

Use of open source software and textbooks saves (or would save) students, faculty, departments, universities, organizations, and governments, hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollar per year in licensing fees. There is simply no need to pay access fees and licenses when free, open source programs are available that do just as good a job and are easily integrated within current practices.

Open Source Software I Use (and have used for years)

I have used open source software for almost 20 years. ... Without a problem sharing, opening, editing files from others created in Microsoft Office software. ... Without paying a single penny for license fees. ... And having infintely fewer tech glitches and crashes compared to before.

Here is the open source software I use, and recommend.

  • Linux Operating System: for my operating system rather than Windows
  • LibreOffice Office Suite: text editor, spreadsheet, slides [Available for Linux, Windows, Mac]
    I strongly encourage you to try LibreOffice.
  • GIMP Image Editor and Inkskape Vector Graphics Editor: for graphic work [Available for Linux, Windows, Mac]
  • R, JAMOVI, & JASP: stats software [Available for Linux, Windows, Mac]
    I strongly encourage students and facutly to try JAMOVI and JASP in particular. Both these free, open source stats programs have a similar interface to SPSS (no coding), so it's easy to adapt. AND they are built on an R platform so can export the R code; it's a great way to transition to using R if you are looking to do so. You can open (and save to) .sav (SPSS) files. Of course these programs do all the regular analyses. There are also numerous extra modules you can add for analyses such as: mediation, moderation, meta-analysis, non-inferiority or equivalence testing, to name just a few.
  • PDFsam: merge and split pdf files [Available for Linux, Windows, Mac]
    This is a great little program.

More Open Source Resources

Check out these resources for further information!

~ Open Source Initiative: overview and standards

~ 6 Linux word processors to try

Open Source Textbooks

There are numerous sources of high quality, free, open source textbooks. I strongly encourage faculty to check out an open source alternative for courses. This saves students hundreds of dollars. Many open source textbooks are modulized so you can mix-and-match as best serves your pedagogical and course needs. Additionally, some open source textbooks include test banks and even slides.

~ Open Educational Resources: directory of other links to open source textbooks

~ Open Textbook Library: a large collection of open source textbooks

~ BC Campus OpenEd: Search for quality open textbooks offered in a variety of digital formats; the first step in adopting open educational resources. Search by subject and download them to your computer.

~ Noba Project: Expertly compiled from Noba modules to fit the scope and sequence of common courses. Use them as-is or customize them to fit your needs. Instructor manual, PowerPoint presentations, and test bank available for many modules. Use Noba books as a starting point; add additional modules from our catalog or remove any that don't fit your course. You can even start from scratch and build a textbook that's all your own.

~ Introduction to Psychology: The full Noba collection: This textbook represents the entire catalog of Noba topics. It contains 101 learning modules covering every area of psychology commonly taught in introductory courses. This book can be modified: feel free to rearrange or remove modules to better suit your specific needs.

~ Discover Psychology 2.0 - A Brief Introductory Text (Noba textbook): This textbook presents core concepts common to introductory courses. The 15 units cover the traditional areas of intro-to-psychology; ranging from biological aspects of psychology to psychological disorders to social psychology. This book can be modified: feel free to add or remove modules to better suit your specific needs.

~ Together The science of social psychology (Noba textbook): This textbook presents core concepts common to introductory social psychology courses. The 8 units include 27 modules covering key social psych topics such as research methods, group processes, social influence, and relationships. This book can be modified: feel free to add or remove modules to better suit your specific needs.

~ Handbook of Well-Being (Noba textbook)

~ OpenStax: Textbooks - Peer-reviewed. Openly licensed. 100% free. Variety of topics. Includes LMS integration, test banks, answer guides, slides

~ OpenStax - Psychology (2nd edition): designed to meet scope and sequence requirements for the single-semester introduction to psychology course. The book offers a comprehensive treatment of core concepts, grounded in both classic studies and current and emerging research. The text also includes coverage of the DSM-5 in examinations of psychological disorders. Psychology incorporates discussions that reflect the diversity within the discipline, as well as the diversity of cultures and communities across the globe.

~ OER Commons: Open Education Resources: Open Textbooks. Free, adaptable, openly licensed textbooks and supplemental resources.

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