Taking after the movement of open source (free – as in freedom) software development, knowledge and information has also been “open sourced” (and crowdsourced) as new Web technologies allow for flexibility and ease of online collaboration in generating content.
Textbooks are now on the same route and here are a few interesting resources for those who are tired of paying absurd prices for academia content out there. Let’s t get all of our mind and expertise together and share knowledge more wisely than the good ol’ authoritative knowledge consumption models allow us to…
Question: Why don’t more experts and professors join the trend of open books?
WikiBooks – From the same company that maintains WikiPedia, this is an incredible collection of open books in any subject imaginable. Worthwhile.
Flat World Knowledge - This website’s goal is to share quality, peer-reviewed books in many areas of expertise. The idea is that faculty will publish the books under the Creative Commons license and allow students to access tailored, good quality content without having to pay the (sometimes) outrageous prices for textbooks. They already have some interesting content up. From their site, we have their definition of an open book: “It is a great book by a great author, peer-reviewed, professionally edited & developed, and published under a Creative Commons license. Faculty may tailor the book to their needs. Students may access the book free online or buy an affordable print, audio, or handheld format. Students get choice; faculty get control; authors earn rapid market share, greater royalties over time, and do some good!”
Open Book Project - They still don’t have much in their collection of books. But here is what they aim to accomplish and I hope they succeed: “The Open Book Project is aimed at the educational community and seeks to encourage and coordinate collaboration among students and teachers for the development of high quality, freely distributable textbooks and educational materials on a wide range of topics.”
TextBook Revolution – This site’s mission on their frontpage says it all: “Our approach is to bring all of the free textbooks we can find together in one place, review them, and let the best rise to the top and find their way into the hands of students in classrooms around the world.”