About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8281-8292
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.2015

Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain

CHALLENGES FOR THE UNIVERSITY AS AN E-TEXTBOOK PUBLISHER OF SCHOLARLY WORK

L. Patterson1, E. Rivera2, K. Smyth1, F. Rennie1, S. Connor1

1University of the Highlands and Islands (UNITED KINGDOM)
2Edinburgh Napier University (UNITED KINGDOM)
Despite the growth in the popularity of e-textbooks, there has yet to be adopted an effective model by which an academic institution can easily re-purpose the scholarly output of its staff to allow global and affordable access to students. This paper describes a research project designed to explore effective processes for the university to become a digital publisher of its own academic output. The project produced two e-textbooks, using Amazon Kindle for distribution, each book has a free companion website of supplementary open access learning resources. The use of the e-texts and the websites was then monitored for evaluation. The publication process was documented and will be made publicly available in the final report on the web. In summary, the pre-publication tasks are almost identical to the production of a conventional printed book, but at publication, everything else changes. The e-textbook system minimises the problems of storage, distribution, pricing, and updating which effects the price and accessibility of the printed book. Several different categories of e-books have been identified, from short handbooks for internal course use, through open-access textbooks, to flagship commercial publications. It is recognised that these e-publications may replace or co-exist with both printed books and companion websites.

There are several “disruptive” and challenging issues in this process, although these largely resolve around the cultural aspects of change, rather than purely technical aspects. In the first instance, universities are generally wedded to the process of individual scholars publishing their work in journals, where the logistical demands of publishing quality is outsourced, either to commercial publishers, or peer-groups, or a combination. Relatively simple tasks in the pre-publication process, such as proofreading, text formatting, even evaluation and prioritisation for publication, are not normally undertaken at any large scale. Secondly, the cultural shift required from the authors (the academic staff) can often be substantial, due to the high level of flexibility offered by the in-house publishing system. Workload issues such as whether a publication slot is made available for a commissioned work, competed for, or simply whether open invitations are sought for completed manuscripts, have a real influence on the values given to the use of staff time. The diversity of publication types, such as new writing, re-purposed coursework, edited collections, and student dissertations, raises important but differing values on the merits of diverse academic outputs. Thirdly, is the issue of branding, and whether the university encourages all staff to consider the publication of all genres, or decides to publish only a highly focussed strand of genre or a particular academic theme. Fourthly, the publication processes of outsourcing distribution (in this case through Kindle) shifts the locus of responsibility for e-book acquisition to the reader, and creates procurement difficulties for many libraries as they normally purchase block-licenses from publishers, who tightly restrict the access rights to e-books. Encouraging students to purchase their own copies of e-textbooks that are required reading is akin to the shift towards bring-your-own-device rather than institutionally provided computer rooms. This paper evaluates the experience of the e-tips to these challenges.
@InProceedings{PATTERSON2018CHA,
author = {Patterson, L. and Rivera, E. and Smyth, K. and Rennie, F. and Connor, S.},
title = {CHALLENGES FOR THE UNIVERSITY AS AN E-TEXTBOOK PUBLISHER OF SCHOLARLY WORK},
series = {12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-9480-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2018.2015},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2018.2015},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {8281-8292}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Patterson AU - E. Rivera AU - K. Smyth AU - F. Rennie AU - S. Connor
TI - CHALLENGES FOR THE UNIVERSITY AS AN E-TEXTBOOK PUBLISHER OF SCHOLARLY WORK
SN - 978-84-697-9480-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2018.2015
PY - 2018
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2018
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2018 Proceedings
SP - 8281
EP - 8292
ER -
L. Patterson, E. Rivera, K. Smyth, F. Rennie, S. Connor (2018) CHALLENGES FOR THE UNIVERSITY AS AN E-TEXTBOOK PUBLISHER OF SCHOLARLY WORK, INTED2018 Proceedings, pp. 8281-8292.
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