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Textbook Citation

The open-copyright licence applied to an open textbook, or the book’s designation to the public domain, legally precludes the need to cite the book in a scholarly work or homework assignment, as long as an attribution statement is provided. (See Citation vs. Attribution.) Still, scholars and students may want to cite your work in an effort to recognize your effort and expertise, and in keeping with the practice of academic integrity [New Tab].

Though not legally required, it is the practice of BCcampus Open Education to credit authors of textbooks in the public domain as a gesture of academic courtesy.

Citing an open textbook is like citing any online textbook. Therefore, as the author and publisher of an open textbook, it is your job to provide the elements required for a complete reference, regardless of citation style, such as: textbook title, author(s) or editor(s), copyright year, and publisher name and place. It is also helpful for readers to see a citation example or two in different citation styles.


Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care cover

Here are some sample citations for a BCcampus open textbook:

APA: Doyle, G. R., & McCutcheon, J. A. (2015). Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology2ndedition/.

Chicago: Doyle, Glynda and Jodie McCutcheon. Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care. Victoria, BC: BCcampus, 2015. https://opentextbc.ca/introductiontosociology2ndedition/.

MLA: Doyle, Glynda Rees and Jodie Anita McCutcheon. Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care. BCcampus, 2015, https://opentextbc.ca/clinicalskills/. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.

Most university and college libraries provide examples of how to cite online books, such as the Citation Style Guides [New Tab] from Thompson Rivers University.


BCcampus Open Education website (screenshot) is used under a CC BY 4.0 International Licence.


Creative Commons License
Textbook Citation by Lauri Aesoph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.