Open education means providing greater access to knowledge and learning. It also means significant institutional change, something that takes time and concerted effort to be successful.
The Open Textbook Network (OTN) is a community of higher education leaders dedicated to advancing open education best practices on their college campuses. Together, we build and share resources, data and expertise focused on open textbooks.
In the U.S., OTN membership now includes 15% of higher education. In the UK, the OTN has recently started working with the UK Open Textbooks project on their research into the viability of importing open academic textbooks into UK colleges and universities.
It has been exciting to see how much interest our Tolerance volume has provoked since its publication. We initially took up the project in order to show support for our colleagues in France and to help the anthology of searing Enlightenment texts they’d put together on tolerance, equality, and free speech reach an Anglophone audience. We were upset by the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, and because we all wanted to be able to do something, however small, we rushed to translate a text that spoke to the concerns of our present moment. We had no idea that our work would come to impact so many people.
Open Technology: The Future of Open Access
This is the third and final part of a three-part series of blogs to celebrate the publication of our hundredth book. To read the first part, click here. To read the second part, click here.
One of the major drivers behind the development of Open Access is technology. The internet allows us to make our books available online, and the ready availability of cheap mobile devices means that people all over the world can access them. Technological development in the internet age is partly fuelled by open source projects and phenomena such as crowdsourcing, which harness the willingness of skilled people to work together and share the fruits of their labour for others to develop further. Continue reading
This is part of a three-part series of blogs to celebrate the publication of our hundredth book. To read the first part, click here. To read the final part, click here.
A Global Outlook: Access for Everybody
Why Are We Needed?
Most people in the developing world never own a book. Even in developed countries, the prohibitive price of textbooks and academic titles hinders education, eating into shrinking library budgets and also making it less likely that individuals can afford to buy academic books. In developing countries the situation is even more critical: economic factors combine with lack of infrastructure to restrict access to printed textbooks and university-level titles.
Globally, there are more people enrolling in courses of study than ever before; more people engaging with research and ideas than ever before; more people using digital technology to discover information than ever before. By changing the nature of the academic book, we want to enable everyone to access high-quality textbooks and peer-reviewed research, regardless of income. With the power of digital Open Access publishing, we can make this happen. Continue reading
Open Book Publishers was born in 2008, sparked into life by co-founder and managing editor Alessandra Tosi’s first-hand experience of the frustrations of academic publishing. The thrill of seeing her book in print was dampened by the realisation that, thanks to its exorbitant price and small print run, very few people would have the opportunity to read it. She and co-founder Rupert Gatti began OBP to make high-quality academic books accessible for everyone everywhere and free of charge.
Nine years on we have come closer to realizing our ideal of a world where scholarly works are available to all. With the publication of our hundredth title, Michael Bryson and Arpi Movsesian’s Love and Its Critics: From the Song of Songs to Shakespeare and Milton’s Eden, it is a good time to ask: what have we achieved as we arrive at this milestone, and what do we want to do next?
Over three blog posts we will discuss our innovative publications, our Open Access model and our technological development to celebrate some highlights from our first one hundred books – and to chart a course for the next hundred!