Open Source Textbooks: A New Paradigm for the Publication of Textbooks

By Seth D. Bergmann.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This work exposes a new paradigm for the creation and publication of textbooks: Open Source. The phrase Open Source is borrowed from the computer software industry; open source software is software which has been developed by many collaborators using the internet to produce a final product. The contributors receive no financial compensation, yet there have been many successful open source projects (Linux, OpenOffice, Apache, etc). Open source textbooks use a similar financial model; the authors and contributors receive no direct financial compensation for their work. The originator, or administrator, for a textbook would typically produce the first few chapters to establish a unified style for exposition, diagrams, exercises, etc. Others may submit contributions, small or large, to the originator who would then decide whether to accept the contributions. Contributors are listed in the produced work as primary author(s), co-authors, contributors, minor contributors, etc. according to the magnitude of their contribution. The produced work is available and free for users on the internet. This paper will provide justification for open source as an effective paradigm; it will also present some existing open source textbook projects, as well as the author's own open source textbook project.

Keywords: Open Source, Textbook, Publication

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.59-65. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 335.184KB).

Prof. Seth D. Bergmann

Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ, USA

Professor Bergmann has been a member of the faculty in the computer science department at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ USA, since 1980. His research interests are compilers, cryptography, and open source textbooks.

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