In the past year, the Open Textbook Network (OTN) has grown to include more than 40 members representing over 150 college and university campuses. The OTN helped these members start or expand local open textbook programs, with programming that resulted in 44% of participating faculty adopting an open textbook from the OTN's Open Textbook Library. However, a large number of faculty who are willing to adopt open textbooks are turned away because there is no open textbook available for their courses (in their subject area).
The OTN is regularly approached by faculty wanting to know how to get support writing an open textbook. While this is an encouraging trend, only a few large institutions currently have the resources to explore it, and each is investing a significant amount of money and duplicative effort to build their own technical platform and navigate the complex technical and logistical issues of publishing.
At the same time, Hugh McGuire - the founder of Pressbooks, an open source book production platform used in many open textbook projects and co-founder of The Rebus Foundation, which works with organizations and academic institutions and individuals to help create more open textbooks - was looking for partners to develop the Rebus workflow for open textbook creation.
The OTN invited three OTN members to participate in a pilot - UMass Amherst, University of Arizona, and University of Washington - to create textbooks on their campus while helping to develop and refine the Rebus workflow. Between them, these institutions presented a variety of open textbook projects at different stages, in different disciplines, and with different needs in terms of services.
This presentation will provide the vision for a collaborative, network-based approach to publishing the next generation of open textbooks by sharing the results of this pilot project. Marilyn Billings and Jeremy Smith (UMass Amherst), Cheryl Cullier (University of Arizona) and Chelle Batchelor (University of Washington) will present a needs assessment of their pilot projects and what challenges they face in creating open textbooks at their individual campuses. Representatives from the OTN and Rebus pilot will also outline how a long-term solution for these challenges is addressed by developing a workflow and process that enables members of all types and sizes of institutions to engage in publishing. It creates the next generation of open textbooks in multiple subjects (going beyond the "highest enrolled" model) and emphasizes the network's, and higher education's, capacity for developing global solutions that support the needs of our faculty, our students, our institutions, and higher education.