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Yes, OpenStax offers free digital textbooks, funded by Gates Foundation

A graphic recently shared on Facebook in Nigeria shows a smiling man and woman. 

“Did you know?” it asks. “There is a website called which provides free textbooks for those who can’t afford to buy. It is funded by Bill & Melinda gates Foundation.”  

The graphic was flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system.

Is it? We checked.

Bill and Melinda Gates

The photo in the graphic shows Bill and Melinda Gates, who co-chair the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (Disclosure: The foundation is one of Africa Check’s funders, providing 18% of our income in 2018.)

According to Forbes magazine, Bill Gates is the second richest man in the world.

Providing access to education

In 1999 Canadian professor of engineering Richard Baraniuk founded the non-profit educational initiative Connexions, later called OpenStax.

OpenStax is financially supported by several philanthropic foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The goal of the non-profit charity is to increase access to education. Since 2012 they have provided university textbooks and learning materials to anyone, for free on the web or at low cost in print. 

The charity also conducts research to advance student learning. 

So yes, OpenStax is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and provides university textbooks digitally, for free. – Eileen Jahn


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