We are happy to welcome you to our second Open Educational Resource (OER) textbook, Biochemistry Free For All. Biochemistry is a relatively young science, but its rate of growth has been truly impressive. The rapid pace of discoveries, which shows no sign of slowing, is reflected in the steady increase in the size of biochemistry textbooks. Growing faster than the size of biochemistry books have been the skyrocketing costs of higher education and the even faster rising costs of college textbooks. These unfortunate realities have created a situation where the costs of going to college are beyond the means of increasing numbers of students.
With this in mind, KGA and IR created, in 2012, a free, electronic book for introductory biochemistry, Biochemistry Free and Easy. That book was met with extraordinary enthusiasm, with over 175,000 downloads from around the world and adoption for use for several courses across the country. At OSU, we use the book for a basic course, taught over one quarter. In 2013, Oregon State University rolled out a new open textbook initiative, in partnership with OSU Libraries, OSU Press and Open Oregon State, with the mission of partnering with faculty to create open, online educational resources. Our proposal to create a biochemistry book that could be used for courses needing greater depth and breadth of coverage was chosen as one of the first projects of the Open Textbook initiative. As a result, we were able to draw on the technical expertise of several multimedia specialists for our interactive learning modules, and to hire a talented group of students to make figures, where suitable open source illustrations were not available. We also enlisted our third author, Dr. Taralyn Tan, a former student, who designed and oversaw the creation of the interactive modules.
As an OER, this book is free for anyone to use, modify, adapt, etc. for free educational purposes. It may not be used for profit-making, or where any fee is required for its use. We are providing all of the figures in this book free of cost to anyone wishing to use them for free educational purposes.
Helping students understand and enjoy biochemistry (without going broke) is our primary motivation for writing this book. We have aimed to provide a more thorough coverage of topics than in Biochemistry Free and Easy, but we do not aim to provide an encyclopedic biochemistry tome covering content that no instructor would fully cover in a single course. Neither do we aim to be the “go to” source for information on biochemistry. This is not a reference work. Consequently, we have focused on core concepts with key information. Descriptions are kept brief and to the point. Between us, we have over forty years of teaching biochemistry, and our experience is that more information does not translate to better learning. However, this does not mean that students will be shortchanged in using this book. We have used the Foundational Concepts defined by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and the associated learning goals as our guide in choosing and organizing the information presented.
All formats of the book (and Powerpoint files), along with other biochemistry OER materials, are found at the Biochemistry Free and Easy site.