Have you opened a textbook lately?

Open access textbooks are becoming increasingly popular, with many universities now requiring that their students have access to open textbooks. There are a few different types of open textbooks, including those that are free to use, and those that are available for a fee. Open textbooks can be helpful for students who want to study without having to pay for books, and they can also be useful for teachers who want to create materials that are accessible to all students.

There are, however, some concerns about whether this trend is sustainable. Some believe that open access textbooks are fads that will eventually go away, while others some professors worry that the trend will not pay off for students.

How authors build structural equity and inclusion practices through open access

This year’s Open Access Week theme is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion”. According to Nick Shockey in his #OAWeek blog post announcing this year’s theme, “Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be consistently prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community discussions to the governance structures we use.”

With this in mind, the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) is exploring the author’s role in building those priorities into our work – in both open access and traditional publishing environments.

The 5R activities of OER

During his 2019 TAA Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Why I Chose to Publish OER, What I Learned, and Do I Have Regrets”, with Jeanne Hoover, Dave Dillon, TAA Council member and author of the award-winning open textbook Blueprint for Success in College and Career, shared the 5R activities permitted by open access. Defining the “open” in open content and open educational resources (OER), Dillon noted, “The terms ‘open content’ and ‘open educational resources’, describe any copyrightable work that is either (1) in the public domain or (2) licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities” below.

Safeguarding your scholarship in OA: What to look for and what to avoid

As open access publishing matures into an accepted (and in some disciplines, the standard) form of scholarly communication, it is more important than ever to be able to spot what Jeffrey Beall calls “predatory publications”, publications that accept article processing fees but fail to provide essential editorial services.  As academic librarians who have many years of experience helping faculty navigate this new landscape, we recommend using the following strategies for safeguarding your scholarship while pursuing open access options for your work.

Busy TAA People: Dave Dillon awarded Open Textbook Award

TAA member Dave Dillon has been awarded the Open Textbook Award for Excellence by the Open Education Consortium for his textbook, Blueprint for Success in College and Career. The book is designed to show how to be successful in college and career preparation, and focuses on study skills, time management, career exploration, health, and financial literacy.

The Open Textbook Award for Excellence is presented to high-quality innovative teaching and learning materials openly available online for everyone to use, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.

The award is selected by the OE Awards Committee to recognize truly exceptional work in Open Education. “We applaud your dedication to openness, access, high quality and innovation shown by your work and vision,” said Marcela Morales, Director of Community Relations for the Open Education Consortium.

Open access is now: Good news or bad news?

At the TAA Conference in Philadelphia this past month, I heard many comments about open access. They varied widely from support, to derision, to misunderstanding, to apathy.

First, what is open access? In its purest form, open access is offering or publishing material online, free of cost or barriers with an open license that removes most restrictions on use and reuse. The open access or OA movement has been around twenty plus years with its roots going back much farther than that.