University of Minnesota Launches Catalog of Peer-Reviewed Open Source Textbooks
From Inside Higher Ed:
[The University of] Minnesota launched an online catalog of open-source books last month and will pay its professors $500 each time they post an evaluation of one of those books. (Faculty members elsewhere are welcome to post their own reviews, but they won’t be compensated.) Minnesota professors who have already adopted open-source texts will also receive $500, with all of the money coming from donor funds.
The project is meant to address two faculty critiques of open-source texts: they are hard to locate and they are of indeterminate quality. By building up a peer-reviewed collection of textbooks, available to instructors anywhere, Minnesota officials hope to provide some of the same quality control that historically has come from publishers of traditional textbooks.
About 90 books are now in Minnesota’s catalog, which has had thousands of visitors since its launch two weeks ago. Eleven Minnesota faculty members have offered to review books, other Big Ten universities have talked about getting involved and encouraging messages have poured in from as far away as Zimbabwe. Professors can browse open-source materials by subject area and read them online. The books are largely concentrated in entry-level math and science courses, but there are also titles in business communication, oceanography and other more specialized subjects.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.