Four project teams are running a national pilot project focused on exploring academic institutions' paths to becoming e-textbook publishers.
What we're doing
During this project, institutions will create their own e-textbooks, apply a business, licensing and distribution model and report back on the impact, value and viability of the models they choose.
Each institution will create two e-textbooks covering a range of subjects from public archaeology, plastic surgery and ethics to financial management, corporate responsibility and research practice. They will experiment with different business and licensing arrangements to find an optimal model, which can then be applied to future e-textbook publishing within their institutions and beyond.
The project started in April 2014 and is scheduled to finish in September 2018, when all books will have been published.
See a list of the e-textbooks created so far
Why we're doing this
The fundamental question the project teams seek to address is: 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 is to assess whether the textbooks that have been created provide:
- A more affordable higher education for students
- Better value for money than commercial alternatives
- An improved, more sustainable information environment for all
Who we're working with
Four project teams have been 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 has 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