Public Group Active 2 years, 10 months ago
This presentation will give an overview of the Jisc ‘Institution as E-Textbook publisher project’, with a specific case study of the two textbooks created by UCL Press. It will also discuss links with OER and further plans for UCL Press. UCL Press launched in 2015 as the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press, and publishes scholarly monographs, journals and textbooks. It seeks to disseminate its publications to the widest possible audience. In 2015, UCL Press applied to participate in Jisc’s ‘Institution as e-textbook publisher’ project (‘Institution as E-Textbook Publisher’ 2017). The goal of the project was to explore whether higher education institutions can publish affordable textbooks, and provide a more sustainable information environment for students, libraries and faculty. The project can be seen in the context of a flawed current textbook market, where students and increasingly libraries are deterred from buying important course textbooks because of high prices. It sought to explore how institutions could start publishing their own textbooks and to consider the viability of this model and the potential benefits to the institution. Alongside three other HEIs (University of Liverpool, University of Nottingham and University of the Highlands and Islands with Edinburgh Napier University), UCL Press received funding from Jisc to produce and publish two e-textbooks, Textbook of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Key Concepts in Public Archaeology. These were written for specific courses at UCL. Each project team developed its own licensing and business model for its textbooks, and produced a variety of formats in a diverse range of subjects, utilising an array of technologies. The project will end in September 2018 when the last textbook is published. Currently UCL Press is in the Evaluation phase of the project and is gathering data to measure the success of the textbooks and benchmark them against commercial alternatives. Initial feedback from students at UCL is positive. The authors of the textbooks have commented on the openness of the textbooks, as well as the worldwide reach and the ease with which students can access required course material compared to commercial versions. The download statistics are very encouraging and suggest wide usage. Alongside the publishing outputs and reporting by the project teams, a longer-term toolkit is being developed, which aims to help other institutions who are considering their own programme of textbook publishing. Following the Jisc project, UCL Press is eager to develop its textbook programme. In May 2017, the Press launched the first stage of this initiative, seeking proposals from UCL staff, or those in collaboration with UCL staff, for OA textbooks across a range of disciplines.