SUNY faculty and libraries innovate to solve problems of high-cost textbooks by producing high-quality open textbooks

SUNY Faculty and libraries published two free online open textbooks today for Open SUNY Textbooks; Literature, the Humanities and Humanity by Theodore Steinberg, and Native Peoples of North America by Professor Susan Stebbins, Ph.D. are being released as part of Open Access Week, a global event now in its sixth year that aims to promote open access in scholarship, research, teaching, and learning.

Open SUNY Textbooks is an open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants. This initiative publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as publishing infrastructure. The pilot launched in 2012, providing an editorial framework and service to authors, students and faculty, and establishing a community of practice among libraries. The first pilot is publishing 15 titles in 2013, with a second pilot to follow that will add more textbooks and participating libraries.

Participating libraries in the 2012-2013 pilot include SUNY Geneseo, College at Brockport, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Fredonia, Upstate Medical University, and University at Buffalo, with support from other SUNY libraries and SUNY Press.

“Open SUNY Textbooks will dramatically cut costs for our students while enhancing the quality and efficiency of the textbooks used in some of SUNY’s most popular electives and majors, and allowing our faculty to reach a world-wide audience with their expert work,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “This program an exciting first-look into what Open SUNY will accomplish.”

“Digital textbooks are the future of the academic publishing world,” said Carey Hatch, SUNY associate provost for academic technologies and information services. “The average college student nationally spends $1,200 on textbooks per year, and Open SUNY Textbooks positions us to cut those costs for our students while putting them on a more direct path toward completing their degree, which is still the most effective way to save students money.”

The Open SUNY Textbook program will publish 15 books this fall on subjects such as Anthropology, Business, Computer Science, Education, English, Geological Sciences, Mathematics, Music Education, and Physics. Open SUNY Textbooks will be made available for download at www.opensuny.org.

The two books released this week are:
“Literature, the Humanities and Humanity,” written by SUNY Fredonia Distinguished Teaching Professor Ted Steinberg, a professor at the college for more than 40 years. The book focuses on the reading and teaching of literature and will be used most frequently by English education majors.
“Native Peoples of North America,” written by SUNY Potsdam Professor of Anthropology Dr. Susan Stebbins. The textbook is an anthropological introduction to the Native peoples of what are now the United States and Canada, focusing on presenting both historical and contemporary information from anthropological categories such as language, kinship, economic and political organization, religion and spirituality and art.

For more information about the program, please see: http://opensuny.org or contact: Cyril Oberlander, Open SUNY Textbook PI, cyril@geneseo.edu

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