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Revised Organic Chemistry Text to Be Free Online via OpenStax

Cornell professor emeritus John McMurry’s 10th edition of his bestselling textbook Organic Chemistry will be published by Rice University’s OpenStax open educational resource program next year, according to information released by the university. The textbook, which could normally cost students hundreds of dollars, according to OpenStax, will be available to students for free online, thanks to its alliance with original publisher Cengage Learning.

McMurry’s son, Peter, died in 2019 after struggling for years with cystic fibrosis. “If Peter were still alive, I have no doubt that he would want me to work on this 10th edition with a publisher that made the book free to students,” McMurry said. “To make this possible, I am not receiving any payment for this book, and generous supporters have covered not only the production costs but have also made a donation of $500,000 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to help find a cure for this terrible disease.”

The textbook has been used by over a million students in its first nine editions, according to OpenStax. “It is widely recognized for its scholarship, precise explanations, innovative illustrations and applications for pre-med, allied health, biology, chemistry and related majors.” McMurry’s 10th revision will include “scientific updates, an enhanced visualization program, new problems and timely applications,” the press release said. OpenStax will publish the text in its newest digital platform, using Cengage WebAssign and Aktiv Chemistry courseware programs.

““Textbook prices represent a significant cost barrier to student participation in STEM education,” said David Powers, associate professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University. “The inclusion of the McMurry text in the OpenStax platform represents a high-quality option that will significantly benefit our organic chemistry students.”

Organic Chemistry will be available for Fall 2023 courses. This will be the 16th textbook Cengage has published among OpenStax’s library of 57 free, openly licensed titles. To learn more, visit the company’s education portal.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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