Professor Michael W. Carroll
Challenges and Opportunities for Facilitating Access to Open Textbooks
An open textbook is partially a public good. If truly open, the book can be freely copied and adapted without copyright constraint. But, the book is not free to produce or to update,. Crowdsourcing can play a role, but this paper presumes that positive payment will be required to compensate authors and publishers to provide high quality open textbooks. The challenge facing the open educational resources movement is to spur the development of a robust and sustainable model to finance open textbook publishing that does not rely on use constraints to extract payment from those who wish to use the book. The paper does three things. First, it outlines the basic challenge for financing shared information resources. It then provides examples of phlianthropic and government expenditures that have brought open textbook publishing to its current state. Finally, I propose a publishing model for publishing open textbooks in higher education that restores control over learning resources to the academy while providing fair compensation for authors and publishers.