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Frequently Asked Questions About PDX Open

Why this project?

The continued increase of textbook prices is a barrier for many students. Students in both the online and on-campus environment find that they cannot afford to purchase required course materials. However, the adoption of open educational resources, particularly online and open access textbooks, is a strategy to lower this barrier for students. PSU Library has invested in the infrastructure to support its open repository, PDX Scholar, and this platform has the capability of supporting open access textbooks and monographs as well as the conference papers and journal articles it now provides.

Library-supported open textbook publishing will enable PSU faculty to author open access textbooks or develop courses around materials that are freely accessible to their PSU students.

What is an open access textbook?

An open textbook is an openly-licensed textbook offered online. The open license sets open textbooks apart from traditional textbooks by allowing users to read online, download, or print the book at no additional cost.

What is PDXScholar and what does it have to do with an open access textbook?

PDXScholar is a repository and digital service for gathering, indexing, storing, and making available the scholarly work of the Portland State University community. PDXScholar maximizes research impact, facilitates interdisciplinary research, and expands the reach of Portland State University scholarship to researchers worldwide. The platform also has the capability of distributing full text open access textbooks.

I will be interested in including images as well as text and possibly some multimedia content in my textbook. What digital formats can be supported for PDX Open textbooks?

  • Text and spreadsheets:  pdf, txt, docx, ppt, rtf, xlsx, csv, odt, ods
  • Images:  tiff, pdf, jpeg  or png
  • Video and audio: avi, wav, mp3 or mp4

While PDXScholar can store and deliver files in all of these formats, consider using more durable file formats that are unlikely to become obsolete as software changes in the future. 

More durable formats: pdf, tiff, wav, or avi

Are there limitations on the length of my textbook? Number of pages? Size of files?

There are no length limitations for your textbook, but PDXScholar cannot support files that are larger than 1 gigabyte.  Ideally, you would create files that are much smaller so that downloading time is minimized.

Will materials in PDX Open be accessible offline? Can my students download textbooks to their hard drives or to a mobile device?

Yes. Students will be able to download PDX Open textbooks. PDX Open supports the PDF page format – this format is not ideal for small screens but has the advantage of providing consistent layout of textbook pages.

What if my students would prefer a print copy?

If students (or you) would like a hard copy of the whole book, a copy can be purchased through a print on demand service such as Lulu or the PSU Bookstore’s Odin Ink which will charge a modest fee for printing and shipping the book. After your book is uploaded to PDXScholar, then you can choose which service you would like to utilize. 

Will I own copyright to the textbook developed through this grant?

PSU will be the copyright holder. The © PSU must appear on your textbook indicating that PSU holds copyright. Even if, by policy, the copyright must be assigned to PSU, you as author(s) may retain the rights of copyright. If the PSU owned work will not be given away or exchanged for monetary compensation, PSU gives the author permission to copy, distribute, make derivatives, perform, or display the work as long as they are appropriately marked © Portland State University. PSU, however, also reserves the right to use the textbook in any way it wishes. See PSU's IP Policy and Guidelines: Copyright page for further explanation.  

I can handle developing my content, but are there resources available for graphic design and page formatting?

Yes. A small selection of templates for book covers is available from the Library. Per Henningsgaard (503.725.3573) of the English department’s publishing program can provide referrals for freelance page layout and/or copy editing providers.

Will I be able to significantly update and or develop new editions of this textbook in future years?

Yes. New versions of the textbook can be established as often as annually as you desire. PDXScholar will retain older versions of the text, but the newest version will be most prominent.

Will my textbook be peer reviewed?

The mechanisms for review of the textbooks will be up to PSU faculty authors. This project does not require that texts undergo review but it is recommended.

Are there any examples of faculty-created textbooks at other institutions using a similar approach/platform to PSU?

Several colleges and universities utilize the same digital infrastructure that PDXScholar is built on to provide access to faculty-authored books and open access textbooks.

Grand Valley State University  

Iowa State University  

Purdue University Press  

Syracuse University 

University of Nebraska Lincoln Zea ebooks  

If you have any further questions, please contact Sarah Beasley, PSU Library, beasleys@pdx.edu; 503.725.3688

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