Creating an open textbook can be challenging. Creating a resource that provides lasting value is an accomplishment.

How do you create an open textbook?

Creating an open textbook requires more than writing. There are online spaces where you can share whatever you’ve created, but to engage with the audience you’re targeting, it’s best to follow established publishing guidelines. The commitment required to create an open textbook is substantial, and by following the best practices outlined in the resources we’ve made available, you can help inspire knowledge around the world.

A substantial commitment

The open textbook you create will need a considerable amount of time before it’s ready to be published. Researching and writing will require a reasonable investment of time, and there are other components you may not have considered. Finding the right images, with the right permissions, will take longer than you’d imagine. Copy editing and rewriting, incorporating peer feedback, and final proofreading will take your time and test your patience, but the time invested will help you create an OER that is widely used and shared, providing value to faculty and enabling education for students in B.C. and around the world. And that’s why we do it.

Important things to know

  • The more effort you put in, the better the final product.
  • Creating a high-quality open textbook requires substantial research.
  • Finding content (videos, graphs, images, etc.) with open rights is challenging.

Why create an open textbook?

There are many reasons why you might want to create an open textbook:

  • You have specific insight into your field of study that isn’t being communicated effectively through existing materials.
  • The current resources are out of date or don’t explore your topic adequately.
  • You want to provide future students with an effective learning resource.
  • You’d like a vehicle to help you show influence in your field and improve your credibility.

Resources to create an open textbook

To help you create a usable, effective, and accessible open textbook, we have created a Self-Publishing Guide filled with best practices.

Avoiding copyright infringement

Creative works published under an open licence retain specific rights, with the permissions outlined by the type of licence used. A common misconception with open is that it’s free to use, wherever, whenever, and however you want. While in some cases this is true, especially for resources found in the public domain, it is not always true for openly licensed products. To use the work someone else has created, it’s essential that you strictly abide by the terms outlined in the open licence, or risk legal ramifications.

For more information, see Open Licences and Creative Commons for Authors.

If you have questions or need guidance with open licensing and/or copyright, please contact us.