Open textbooks are a type of Open Educational Resource (OER). They remove the cost burden of traditional textbooks for students, eliminating the cost of course materials as a barrier to education and creating a more equitable and inclusive learning environment. There are many benefits beyond this for authors, instructors and students. OER:
Creating customisable, adaptable and equitable teaching resources also aligns with JCU's values of diversity and social justice, engagement and collaboration, and agility and innovation
Publishing an open textbook with a commercial publisher would generally involve expensive Book Processing Charges (BPCs) which the author is responsible for covering.
See the table below for details on how these options compare.
|Commercial publishing||JCU open eBooks|
|Cost to author||Expensive book processing charges (BPS)||Free of charge to authors|
|Copyright||Retained by publisher||Retained by authors|
|Flexibility of text||
Text cannot be altered or built upon:
Text can be updated, reused and remixed:
|Access||May not be available for the library to purchase. Is likely to access, print and download limits.||Available for free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Can be shared, downloaded, and printed in entirety.|
|Cost to student||Students required to purchase a copy.||Free for students to use.|
|Open access options||Open access options only available for a fee.||Open access built into the initiative, free of charge to authors.|
OER Collective Publishing Workflow by Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) used under CC BY 4.0 license.
The CAUL OER Collective publishing workflow is designed to guide authors and Library staff through the basics of open textbook publishing in Australia. There are 7 stages to the workflow: Initiate, Plan, Draft, Design, Review, Publish, and Evaluate.
More information on each of these stages is available from CAUL:
Pressbooks is the publishing platform JCU is piloting for open textbook publishing.
A wide range of help resources are available to help you get the most out of the Pressbooks. Check out the list below and, if you need assistance or have any questions, contact
An open textbook grants program is a key part of the OER Collective model. The 2023 grant round is now closed but keep an eye out for more information in the lead up to 2024.
We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.