Open Textbooks Pilot Program

“The Open Textbooks Pilot program supports projects at eligible institutions of higher education that create new open textbooks and expand the use of open textbooks in courses that are part of a degree-granting program, particularly those with high enrollments. This pilot program emphasizes the development of projects that demonstrate the greatest potential to achieve the highest level of savings for students through sustainable, expanded use of open textbooks in high-enrollment courses or in programs that prepare individuals for in-demand fields.”

 

Anti-Piracy Group Warns of a Problematic Textbook Piracy Culture Among Students * TorrentFreak

“This week, a Danish court convicted a 26-year-old man for selling pirated digital copies of textbooks. The seller received a suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay damages. While this incident has been dealt with, anti-piracy group Rights Alliance signals a broader piracy habit among students that has rightsholders worried.

Free access to information is a broadly held ideal, but when students have to pay for their textbooks, it’s far from reality.

Getting a proper education certainly isn’t cheap. As a result, many students have found shortcuts in pirate sites such as Libgen and Z-Library….”

Updates on the Future for 2023 – openoregon.org

“Peeking around the corner into 2023, the barriers preventing faculty from more widespread adoption of OER are the usual ones: time and money. Further, Oregon’s statewide OER program is working with faculty who are worn out by the ongoing pandemic and responding to heightened student needs.

Beyond these obvious constraints, though, here are four big challenges we’re thinking about right now.

Do these resonate for your program? Do you have something different on your mind? Comments are open!…”

U.S. Open Textbook Pilot Program Renewed for Sixth Year – SPARC

“In one of its final acts before the end of year, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill, which President Biden is expected to sign into law. SPARC is pleased to announce that the bill includes $12 million in funding for the federal Open Textbook Pilot grant program, renewing this successful program for a sixth year and expanding the positive impact of open educational resources on college textbook costs and student success.

First funded in Fiscal Year 2018, the Open Textbook Pilot is a U.S. Department of Education grant program that supports projects at colleges and universities to expand the use of open textbooks. The newly-approved $12 million in funding—a $1 million increase over last year—brings the program’s total funding to $47 million over six years. The impact of the program is expected to far exceed the original investment, with the current 16 funded projects estimating more than $220 million in eventual student savings on textbook costs. Studies have shown that open textbooks can also have a positive impact on student success metrics, particularly for underserved students….”

Campus Efforts Save NU System Students $13 Million in Textbook Costs | News | University of Nebraska Omaha

“University of Nebraska (NU) System students have saved more than $13 million in textbook costs in recent years thanks to collective efforts of faculty and staff across the four campuses to expand access to more affordable digital course materials.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska Medical Center all have launched programs to reduce textbook costs for students – part of a broad goal across the NU System to ensure affordable access to quality education for all students.

Known collectively as “Open Nebraska,” the campuses’ efforts are further evidence of the university’s commitment to reducing costs for students wherever possible, NU System President Ted Carter said….”

Oregon Tech faculty turn to open source materials to save students more than $1.2 million in textbook costs | News | heraldandnews.com

“Oregon Tech faculty are partnering with Oregon Tech Library’s Open Educational Resources (OER) program to reduce student costs associated with textbook materials, and throughout the past three years have saved Oregon Tech students $1,216,866 in textbook costs.

According to University Librarian John Schoppert, OER are freely accessible, high-quality coursework materials made accessible to students to alleviate the high costs of mainstream publisher textbooks. OER describes openly licensed materials and resources for any user to use, remix, reuse, repurpose and redistribute….”

Wayne State Library System publishes second book as part of Open Textbook Project – Today@Wayne – Wayne State University

“As part of the Wayne State Open Textbook Project, the Wayne State University Libraries are helping alleviate those costs for students by publishing its second open textbook of 2022, “Urban Health: A Practical Application for Clinical Based Learning,” from nursing faculty Cynthera McNeil, Umeika Stephens and Tara Walker. The book examines and offers solutions around health disparities in urban populations specifically targeted at nursing educators. The book is ow available for use at https://www.oercommons.org/courses/urban-health-a-practical-application-for-clinical-based-learning. …”

The dark side of the textbook publishing market – University Library | University of Saskatchewan

“To accommodate students who may be struggling financially, instructors will often request that the library purchase a copy of their course-required commercial e-textbook to place on reserve. However, many textbook publishers or vendors will not sell electronic versions of their books to libraries (like VitalSource) since it is more profitable to sell directly to students. If e-textbooks are available for libraries to purchase, they are often unreasonably priced (see this crowd-sourced spreadsheet of examples) and come with restrictive licensing (e.g., limited simultaneous users, limited ability to download and print). For example, several of the academic publishers we work with and buy from regularly have started classifying their eBooks as either ‘eBooks for library sale’, or ‘eTextbooks, only available for individual student purchase’. Some of the publishers that we deal with who have these restrictions on textbooks include: …”

Feds charge Russians linked to the ‘world’s largest’ pirated e-book library | Engadget

“US law enforcement isn’t just interested in shutting down video pirates. The feds have charged two Russian nationals, Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova, for allegedly running the pirate e-book repository Z-Library. The site was billed as the “world’s largest library” and held over 11 million titles, many of which were bootleg versions stripped of copyright protections.

The pair was arrested in Cordoba, Argentina at the US’ request on November 3rd. The American government disabled and seized the public Z-Library site at the same time. Napolsky and Ermakova each face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud….”

Z-Library shutdown ends years of free, but illegal, college textbook access – The Pitt News

“Sydnee Ruley has saved hundreds of dollars over her four years at Pitt by getting her textbooks from the library — Z-Library, that is. 

“I was able to save a lot of money just using Z-Library and using that for textbooks instead of paying like $70 for a textbook I was only going to use for one semester,” Ruley, a senior mechanical engineering major, said. 

But in early November, The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized a series of domain names from Z-Library, one of the largest and most popular sources for pirated books and articles, in early November. According to TorrentFreak, Z-Library held almost 12 million copies of digital books in its free internet archive. …”

Webinar: How Do We Fix eBook Markets? A Discussion on the Future of Libraries and Authorship, November 21, 2022 | Knowledge Rights 21

In the majority of cases libraries no longer own their eBook collections – and unless there is much needed reform they never will. As publishers have abandoned copyright law in favour of choosing whether to lease digital content to libraries (or not), age-old practices undertaken in the public interest are brought into question. These include important activities such as common access irrespective of an individual’s financial position, collection development, teaching, preservation and cultural heritage. 

When books are not available to readers from libraries, authorship is also undermined. Libraries are places that encourage reading, research and intellectual exploration, and less access to materials from libraries impacts on an author’s capacity to create new works and for their works to be discovered. Moreover, they will have no guarantee that their own works will be available to new readers when publishers no longer find them commercially viable to keep “in print” on eBook platforms.

Recently, John Wiley & Sons made headlines internationally when it abruptly removed over 1,300 ebooks from academic library collections just as the new academic year was starting. This created extra costs for students, libraries and educators as they hurriedly tried to reconfigure reading lists and teaching plans as well as purchase replacement titles. Unsurprisingly the disruption Wiley caused universities was widely condemned by library groups, students and authors alike. 

In the face of widespread pressure, at the start of October, Wiley made headlines again when it announced it was restoring access, but only until June 2023. While a welcome respite from one publisher, this however changes little as high pricing, refusal to license, bundling, removal of titles with no notice and other issues remain the norm for eBook markets.

This webinar will discuss the eBook crisis libraries, educators and authors face with international thought leaders in the sector. Exploring the many issues that have arisen as collections are increasingly leased and not owned, the session will take the form of a wide-ranging interview and discussion with our panellists. 

Questions will also be welcome from attendees.

Panellists include:

Caroline Ball Co-founder of eBookSOS / Academic Librarian, University of Derby / Trustee, WikimediaUK

Mikkel Christoffersen Chief Consultant, Copenhagen Libraries

Dave Hansen Executive Director, Authors Alliance

Cathal McCauley President of the Library Association of Ireland /  University Librarian, Maynooth University

 

DATE: 21st November 2022

TIME: 14:00 – 15:30 CET | 13:00 – 14:30 GMT/UTC

 

OpenStax announces 10 schools participating in this year’s Institutional Partner Program | Rice News | News and Media Relations | Rice University

“OpenStax, Rice University’s educational technology initiative, will see 10 colleges and universities join its Institutional Partner Program for the 2022-2023 school year. All of those institutions will receive support from OpenStax experts as they work to save students’ money by increasing the use of free, openly licensed textbooks on their campuses.  

The University of Notre Dame, Georgia State University, Collin College (Texas), Glendale Community College (California), Maricopa Community College (Arizona), Merced Community College (California), Mt. San Antonio College (California), the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at El Paso are the newest members of the program. They join the College of Southern Nevada, which is returning for a second year….”

Joint Statement on Wiley’s withdrawal of access to ebook titles

“As set out in the sector’s Joint Statement, the failure of e-book and e-textbook publishers to provide stable and affordable access to key titles is failing students and teaching staff. The Wiley titles, many of which are high-use and feature on student reading lists, will after June only be available for libraries to acquire via expensive annual subscription models priced on a per student basis. This will result in significant cost increases and not reflect actual use or the how courses are taught – whereby students need access to key materials for a time limited period. A failure to provide institutions with flexible and affordable purchasing options that reflects actual use and budgets inhibits the library’s key role in providing resources to the university community and results in a poor student experience as materials have to be changed at short notice or worse still, the financial burden of purchasing resources is moved onto students during a period when student hardship is a critical concern for universities and government….”

Publisher reinstates blocked ebooks, but librarians unsatisfied

“Wiley, a publisher that scrambled fall courses at many institutions with its late-August withdrawal of approximately 1,380 digital books from a large subscription collection used by many libraries, has reversed course and now says it will restore access to the ebooks “as soon as possible.”

Once the books are reinstated to ProQuest Academic Complete, the multidisciplinary subscription collection, they will remain there through June 2023, according to a statement on the company’s website from Matt Leavy, executive vice president and general manager at Wiley….

Librarians, however, are unconvinced that the publisher is committed to offering students affordable textbook access options….”

Wiley backtracks – but only for nine months… | Campaign to investigate the ebook market for libraries

Wiley released a statement yesterday announced they would be returning the withdrawn 1,379 ebooks to the ProQuest Academic Complete package in response to librarian, author, student and organisational pressure – but only until June 2023.

Whilst #ebookSOS welcomes this news and counts it as a success for our collective action and sustained pressure (with particular acknowledgement and thanks to the Library Association of Ireland and Authors Alliance), this is not an outright win. None of Wiley’s actions negates the fact that this is standard practice for publishers and ebook collections, and libraries regularly see titles removed from Academic Complete and other packages throughout the year. The only thing unique about this situation is the timing and the scale and the fact that all titles are from one publisher.

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