Open Access Week: UCL Press as eTextbook publisher
By Kirsty, on 17 November 2021
Thank you to everyone that attended the Open Access week session from UCL Press outlining their new project to develop Open Access eTextbooks!
The recording and the slides are available below as well as links from the speakers and the promised answers to the remaining questions from the audience!
Questions and Answers
Do the download stats account for partial views?
Dhara: For information on how we collect and record our data, https://www.uclpress.co.uk/pages/where-to-find-our-books-and-journals. Research has shown that, via the platforms that we work with the provide chapter downloads, most users download the single chapter that they require.
Did the project(s) around The Economy (etc) use an explicitly “Agile” method?
Luca: There were two parts to the project: a) the authoring and content development (CORE), and b) creating the platform over which the ebook is delivered (our partner EBW). For the a) part you could say we adopted some of the ‘agile’ principles, as we delivered some draft units early for piloting (to ‘users’ aka teachers) and then continuously deliver more units and rewritten older ones based on feedback. Also, it was all about the user and not the process, plans changed based on feedback etc. For the b) part this was more in line with the ‘agile’ method principles, as it was software development, but the biggest difference was that EBW couldn’t break down development into small increments because the final product was very tightly defined so there was a lot of initial planning as opposed to sprints.
Please could someone riff on things other than writing the words: editing for reading level, spot illustrations, internationalisation of terms. Would a UCL press book open doors to such services?
Dhara: We currently provide a full production service, including copyediting and typesetting for our books. Additionally, to ensure each new textbook is fit for purpose, we’ll engage with various relevant developmental services, depending on requirements of discipline and level of the intended audience. These many include developmental review, which ensures the writing style is appropriate for the reading/HE level of the audience, help source and check illustrations, review glossary and use of terminology and concepts (making sure they comply with relevant academic standards).
Are there any plans/resources available to produce UCL textbooks in other languages than English?
Dhara: This is an interesting suggestion, and we will continue to discuss as the programme develops, but, unfortunately, we do not have plans to do this at this time.