Open access is now: Good news or bad news?

open signAt 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. [Read more…]

Can I help you in any way? OER

Can I help you in any way? OER“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on a question about publishing options in either Open Textbook format or through self-publishing methods. [Read more…]

My writing is an open book

open textbookThe first time I thought about potentially authoring a textbook was in 2005. I was teaching as an adjunct at four different colleges and was using a different textbook for each. Each time I brought the correlating textbook for the correlating College Success class with the correlating handouts, assignments, quizzes, and other materials, it felt like a small victory. As I started to create my own content, I decided that if I ever was hired full time, I would write my own text. A few years later, I accepted a full-time tenure track faculty position at Grossmont College in San Diego and two years after that I began writing my first textbook. [Read more…]

The top 9 myths about OER publishing

Questions and answersIn a recent blog post, we explored some of the questions authors are asking about open textbooks. In this post we have continued the discussion with several leaders in the open textbook movement to identify some of the common misconceptions associated with open educational resources (OER) publishing.

Below, Barbara Illowsky (co-author of one of the first open textbooks, Introductory Statistics), Amy Hofer (Open Oregon Educational Resources), Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde (Rebus Foundation), and Nicole Finkbeiner (OpenStax, Rice University), share the top nine myths they have identified, and the facts related to each. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 21, 2018

"Writing enlarges the landscape of the mind." ~V.S. PritchettIt’s hard to find a common theme among this week’s collection of articles and posts from around the web, but serendipity seems to call upon a relevance to each week’s “Monday motivation” quote (shared across TAA’s social media channels) on the collection of articles that follow in the coming days, and this week the theme that emerges seems to be on expanding ideas. Enlarge your mindset. Think bigger!

As perhaps the exception in our list, one of the articles focuses on reduction of content, however the larger goal of the post seems to be on expanding opportunity through successful funding applications as a result of the space saving tips it shares. Also making the list this week are ways to expand our thoughts about writing and revision; to expand our identity through self-identification of our roles and critical and creative thinking; to expand our reach through textbook authoring, open access, and conversion of doctoral work into books; and even a call for contributors to expand their impact through a meta-project focused on the UN’s sustainable development goals. Wherever your writing projects lead you this week, keep in mind the words of V.S. Pritchett who said, “Writing enlarges the landscape of the mind.” Happy writing! [Read more…]

4 Questions authors are asking about open textbooks

Whether you are a veteran textbook author or new to the industry, you’ve likely heard of open educational resources (OER) and open textbooks by now. As with anything new, the open textbook model is faced with scrutiny and questions from those familiar with the traditional publishing process. It’s also laden with opportunities, such as the current $5M open textbook pilot program.

To better understand the open textbook model, specifically what is the same and what is different from traditional publishing options, we asked some questions of several leaders in the open textbook movement. Here’s what we learned. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: June 8, 2018

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~Oscar WildeOscar Wilde once said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” This week’s collection of articles has many things to read that may help you today or be foundation for who you will be in the future.

The list begins with helpful advice on bio-notes, collaboration, managing research notes, reviving “dead” writing projects, and working with data visualization and research. We then explore some insight into grant applications and journal paper review processes before closing with discussions of open access initiatives in textbook and academic authoring environments and the announcement of Eva O. L. Lantsoght’s new book, The A-Z of the PhD Trajectory.

Whatever you read from this list or otherwise this week, choose items that will continue to shape your career as an author both now and when you can’t help it. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: March 30, 2018

"The next best thing after finishing writing a chapter is starting a new one." ~Chris AlmeidaWe begin this week’s collection of textbook & academic posts from around the web with a royalty calculation update from Cengage as it relates to their Cengage Unlimited service. We then have several articles of interest to textbook authors and faculty considering OER textbook options. Finally, we found advice for academic writers on structuring papers, coping with peer review processes, and being scholar-activists.

Chris Almeida put it best when he said, “The next best thing after finishing writing a chapter is starting a new one.” As you write this week, we hope the end of March brings with it some finished work, and the start of April brings with it new beginnings in your writing. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: October 27, 2017

"The most difficult thing about writing; is writing the first line." ~Amit KalantriThis week, October 23-29, 2017, marked the tenth annual Open Access Week. The articles collected this week include information on open education, Open Access textbook publishing, starting an Open Access journal, requirements for a sustainable knowledge commons, the editor’s role in a changing publishing industry, and equity and inclusion in scholarly publishing. As this month comes to a close, we are also preparing for Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) starting next week. Be sure to check out the last link with information about AcWriMo events co-hosted by TAA next month. According to Amit Kalantri, “The most difficult thing about writing; is writing the first line.” This week, start something. Write that first line. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: January 22, 2016

Benjamin Franklin — 'Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.'It’s so easy for us to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow”, “I’ll start on my writing projects, tomorrow” and tomorrow keeps getting pushed further and further away. Procrastination is easy. Yet, never satisfying. Chances are you have the time to get started today. So start! End the infinite tomorrow and do as Benjamin Franklin reminds us, and, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

Happy writing! [Read more…]