Four project teams ran a national pilot project focused on exploring academic institutions' paths to becoming e-textbook publishers.
What we did
During this project, institutions created their own e-textbooks, applied business, licensing and distribution models and reported back on the impact, value and viability of the models they chose.
Each institution created two e-textbooks covering a range of subjects from public archaeology, plastic surgery and ethics to financial management, corporate responsibility and research practice. They experimented with different business and licensing arrangements to find an optimal model, which could then be applied to future e-textbook publishing within their institutions and beyond.
The project started in April 2014 and finished in September 2018, when all books had been published.
List of e-textbooks created so far
- Using Primary Sources
- Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability in Practice
- Applied Ethics: The Philosophy of Right and Wrong
- How to Write a Research Dissertation
- Undertaking Your Research Project
- Textbook of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Key Concepts in Public Archaeology
- Essentials of Financial Management
Why we did this
The fundamental question the project teams sought to address was: will the institution as e-textbook creator help students by making higher education more affordable, and promote a better, more sustainable information environment for libraries, students and faculty?
The overall objective of the programme was to assess whether the e-textbooks that were created provided:
- A more affordable higher education for students
- Better value for money than commercial alternatives
- An improved, more sustainable information environment for all
Who we worked with
Four project teams were selected to carry out this work:
- University of Liverpool
- University of Nottingham
- University of the Highlands and Islands with Edinburgh Napier University
Background to the project
The project evolved from the following Jisc initiatives:
- Negotiation and provision of e-book agreements on behalf of higher and further education institutions in the UK
- Research into the use of e-books in education, including the Jisc national e-books observatory project, the e-textbook business models study and the migrating to further education report (pdf)
- Exploratory workshops carried out with HE and FE institutional representatives in 2013. These investigated the potential for agreements with third-party aggregators for the provision of e-textbooks and concluded that price and value remained a major challenge, and that Jisc could work with the academic community to establish the potential for institutions to publish e-textbooks themselves