Call for Proposals: PSU Library Seeks Faculty to Author Open Textbooks

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Open access textbooks present the opportunity to revolutionize how knowledge is disseminated. By making teaching materials freely available online, readers worldwide can engage with them, regardless of their ability to pay.

Since September 2014, Portland State University Library has published 15 PSU faculty-authored open textbooks. These textbooks have saved 1,460 PSU students more than $143,300, and the open textbooks have been downloaded more than 30,000 times here in Portland and around the world.

Stacks of books in the libraryWe invite PSU faculty members to submit textbook proposals for any discipline taught at PSU at undergraduate or postgraduate level (a PSU faculty member must be the sole or lead author). We seek proposals for texts that are comprehensive works geared toward a specific field of study. Preference will be given to proposals with applicability towards multiple, high-enrollment courses taught by faculty in a single department at PSU.

Faculty authors whose proposals are accepted for publication will receive a $2,500 grant. If requesting additional funding beyond the $2,500 grant amount, please include a detailed budget outlining all expenses. Requests for additional funding will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For more information on how the funds could be used please see the PDXScholar Submission Guidelines.

In this round of proposals, we are also looking for authors to participate in the Open Textbook Network Publishing Cooperative. The Publishing Cooperative, a pilot program with the Open Textbook Network, is designed to provide access to a complete suite of editorial, design and production services in partnership with Scribe. For more information please contact Head of Digital Initiatives Karen Bjork.

Proposal Requirements

Please submit a description of your project and include the following information:

  1. Your name, job title, department; please include complete contact information. Include brief bios for coauthors if applicable.
  2. A statement of support from your Department Chair, Assistant/Associate Dean or Dean.
  3. Briefly describe the content of your book, and how it supports the intent of this open textbook project.
  4. Describe your intended audience, and any courses that would be likely to use the book at PSU or other schools.
  5. Provide manuscript specifics, such as a table of contents, chapter-by-chapter description, and the manuscript’s estimated length.
  6. If available, please provide sample chapters, preferably the introduction, and one or two substantive chapters.
  7. How often do you anticipate revisions/updates will be required?
  8. Include an up-to-date CV or résumé.
  9. Briefly discuss how you will address peer-review for your manuscript and please suggest 2–3 possible peer-reviewers (2 reviewers must not be affiliated with PSU), including contact information, affiliation, etc.

Project Timeline

December 29, 2017: Proposals due
February 2018: Applicants notified
February – September 2019: Textbooks written and published

Proposals are welcomed for textbooks that will be ready to publish between now and September 2019.

For more information please contact, Karen Bjork, Head of Digital Initiatives.

Browse the complete collection of open textbooks at Portland State University Library

Sign Up for Your SelectedWorks Profile

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook


Emblem for PDXScholar, the University Repository: Share, Preserve, Discover, Maximize Impact

SelectedWorks is a system for you to create a personalized web page showcasing your scholarship. PSU-affiliated authors are eligible for SelectedWorks profiles when adding works to PDXScholar.

Any PSU Faculty, staff, or student who has given a presentation or authored a publication is eligible to create a SelectedWorks profile; the service is a feature of PDXScholar, the University repository of PSU scholarship.

Get Started:

  1. Create an Account, or Reset your Password
    • Enter your email, and complete the form.
    • If Library staff have already set up your account, use the password reset option.
  2. Customize Your Profile
    • Select the About tab and add biographical information.
    • Be aware that only the completed sections will be displayed.
    • Important: Check the box to affiliate your profile with PSU.
  3. Add and Manage Works
    • Select the Works tab, and then Add Work.
    • Options:
      • Upload a File
        Choose this option if you are certain there are no copyright restrictions. If you are not sure, please email your file to Our team will check copyright terms and add your file to PDXScholar, then import it to SelectedWorks or add a link if copyright prevents upload.
      • Add a Link
        Use the DOI when possible, or link to the publisher’s website. Linking to the Library website is another option.
      • Add Metadata
        This option allows you to add the citation, or link or upload a file.
      • Import Works
        This option pulls works from PDXScholar into your SelectedWorks profile.
    • Important: Select Manage Categories to organize your works, change headings, and customize the display order of your works.
  4. Manage Your Account
    • Select the your name in the upper right, then Account Settings.
      • Change your password.
      • Make your profile public, or hide your profile.
  5. Reporting Tools
    • Select your name in the upper right, then Author Dashboard.
      • You will see a readership distribution map and download statistics.

Email Digital Initiatives Staff to find out more:

Nov 1 Workshop: Manage Citations with Zotero and Mendeley

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

""Citation management software allows you to download citations and articles from various websites and databases, electronically store and organize the citations, annotate and highlight articles, and format the citations for your paper and bibliography. This workshop covers the advantages and disadvantages of Zotero and Mendeley, helping you decide which one is right for you.

Join librarian Michael Bowman for this workshop on Wednesday, November 1, from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., in Library Room 160 (near the elevators on the first floor).


Guest Post: Beyond My Classroom

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Lina Gomaa, a Senior Arabic Instructor in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, authored the open access textbook From MSA to CA: A Beginner’s Guide for Transitioning into Colloquial Arabic in PDXScholar. We asked her to write about her experiences writing and using an open textbook.

Beyond My Classroom

Lina Gomaa
Department of World Languages and Literatures

“Open in order to increase the impact of my scholarship and to provide a facilitating role that gives the students a lead in their learning process without the hurdles of cost or lack of resource availability.”

The idea of having open access to textbooks in undergraduate settings seems unreal. It is no news that textbook costs have exhausted university students financially and added an unnecessary obstacle for their access to learning. I know, as an instructor of Arabic at a public university, I have a role to play in lowering the costs for my students, even as small as requesting reference books in the library for students to borrow, choosing more affordable textbook options, referring to online resources, and creating handouts. All help in lowering some of the costs, but taking it a step further, I got the chance through the PDXOpen textbook grant, a Portland State University Library funded program, to write an open textbook for learning colloquial Arabic.

PDXOpen encourages faculty to publish high-quality textbooks designed specifically for their courses, that are free to students at our university and to anyone throughout the world. I took the plunge and in April 2015 applied for a grant to write my first book. I went from initial idea to final publication of the book in 9 months. While this a short period of time, providing quick access of my book to my students was very important to me. Throughout the publishing process, I worked closely with my colleagues in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, the Arabic section, to ensure that I was producing a high-quality book.

With the encouragement and support from the Library, the project allowed me to tailor a book for the very specific needs of my PSU students of Arabic. Speaking colloquial Arabic is no easy task, and this book utilizes what PSU students know from studying Modern Standard Arabic to speak colloquial Arabic. Little did I know that the book I wrote will be used globally by various individuals and institutions to help satisfy some of their language needs. The book has been downloaded since its publishing online in over 30 countries over 690 times till the publishing of this article. In fact, I was in a state of disbelief when my Italian colleague said that in Italy some of the faculty at the Inistero Della Pubblica Instruzione, Universita ‘E Ricera are using the book to help in their work with the Arab speaking refugees. At that moment, I realized that with an e-book, the world is the audience, and what it can do is limitless.

Guest Post: Open Access Publishing and Contributions to Knowledge

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Jackson Voelkel is a Master of Urban Studies student in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Last year Jackson received an award from the Library’s Open Access Article Processing Charge Fund to support publication of his article “Towards Systematic Prediction of Urban Heat Islands” in the journal Climate. Jackson’s work with Professor Vivek Shandas has already hit the media, garnering mentions in Street Roots and OPB. Because Jackson’s research is published open access, everyone, even those who do not pay costly subscriptions to academic journals, can read and benefit from his work. Way to go, Jackson! Following are Jackson’s thoughts on why he chose to publish in an open access journal.

Open Access Publishing and Contributions to Knowledge

Jackson Voelkel
Master of Urban Studies Candidate, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

A heat map from “Towards Systematic Prediction of Urban Heat Islands: Grounding Measurements, Assessing Modeling Techniques,” the article authored by Jackson Voelkel and Vivek Shandas

Graduate students work hard. We spend our days ingesting the knowledge of others–their knowledge was built upon those who came before them until the beginning of humanity. This can be an intimidating reflection when our days end and long nights of synthesizing our own thoughts begin. I believe the most difficult part of graduate school is not metabolizing thousands of pages of books and journals, but in finding something new and important to say in light of all of the important ideas that have come before you. From time to time, you find a gap in previous knowledge–this is a rare opportunity to validate your hard work. The act of writing about your new ideas is far less difficult than formulating your ideas, yet the hurdles you must leap begin to change: you have entered the highly monetized world of academic publishing. Though libraries offer fantastic resources in the form of journal subscriptions (made available to their members), they cannot offer everything. You will find yourself on the precipice of the single fact you wish to know to support your claims only to be blocked by a paywall asking for $39.95 in order to read it. Whether it is a publisher restricting access to this knowledge or a scholar being complacent in such a dissemination model, knowledge is becoming a product. Open publishing can help us course-correct the monied nature of research and support scientific discourse by making knowledge available to more people, giving scholars (and their ideas) greater exposure, and fostering research that is built upon the non-monetary value of a study.

Though many researchers belong to a library (whether through a university or public institution), there are many people in the world who don’t. This consolidates knowledge in the hands of those who have been fortunate enough to position themselves in a place where knowledge is highly accessible. In doing so, a wedge is driven further in the gap between the knowledge ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ I would never make a claim that the monetization of academic research is fully to blame for the current anti-science and anti-education undertones becoming more prolific in our society; however, I see the free dissemination of knowledge as a potential way to help alleviate some of the negative sentiment. In a sense, open access publishing allows for a (slight) leveling of the ‘knowledge playing field.’ Lofty ideas aside, there is a very real and grounded reason to allow open access to research: as many universities rely on public funds (and public grants to conduct their research), taxpayers have a right to read the knowledge synthesized with the help of their taxes.

Researchers also have strong, practical reasons to favor open access publication: exposure. Any time your research is placed behind a paywall, the chances that others may read it drop. If less people are reading your work, then you have a smaller share in the conversation–you are not being heard. Though, selfishly, this is a critical blow to one’s ego, it also hurts your ability to assert yourself as an expert in your field (maybe, even, hurting your chances of a successful career in academia). Only good can come to a researcher at an individual level if more people are reading their work (unless, of course, you are a dishonest Andrew Wakefield type of researcher). Beyond the individual benefits and self-interest, however, lies a more fundamental and altruistic reason to have your research be more visible: contribution. Contribution to the discussions in your field, contribution to the work of those that came before and will come after you–contribution to the overall body of knowledge that got you to point where you could think of something new. These contributions exists in closed-access publishing, yes, but I hold that is in a more pure, less-monied form: a form that is open in order to build the body of knowledge and science.

Library Celebrates Open Access Week

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

How would you finish this sentence?

Open in order to…

""This week, October 23rd-29th, marks the 8th International Open Access Week, a week dedicated to learning about open access and sharing what we already know. Open access to information means the ability to get immediate access to research, data, and other resources without licensing and cost restrictions.

Why? Open access to research can increase its exposure and impact. Open access means the public at large can access the latest research findings and data. Open access educational resources allow students to save money on textbooks and other course materials. They also allow instructors to customize textbooks and other course-related material for their courses.

Portland State Library is proud to support and engage in open access with a variety of initiatives:  

This week around the library building, on our website, and via our social media channels you’ll see open access highlights from the Library and around campus. See our Open Access & Public Access web page for more information about open access at Portland State University Library.


Congratulations to Michael Bowman, Emily Ford, and Art Hendricks!

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

PSU Librarians Promoted

Congratulations to recently promoted librarians at Portland State University Library! Michael Bowman and Art Hendricks were promoted to full professor, while Emily Ford received tenure and a promotion to associate professor.

Michael Bowman

Michael Bowman, promoted to Professor, joined the PSU Library faculty in 1992 as the Engineering Librarian. Over 25 years, he has taken on many additional responsibilities, including as liaison to the physical sciences and Comic Studies. Michael is now serving as Assistant University Librarian.

Art Hendricks

Reference Services Manager Art Hendricks joined the PSU Library faculty in 1996 as Assistant Systems Librarian. He currently supervises two full-time staff and several part-time librarians. Art is the library liaison to Conflict Resolution, Philosophy, Speech & Hearing, Music, and Theatre/Dance. Art also volunteers with Answerland, the state-wide virtual reference service. Art was promoted to Professor.

Emily Ford

Urban and Public Affairs Librarian Emily Ford was promoted to Associate Professor with Indefinite Tenure. Emily worked at PSU Library in part-time and interim capacities before moving into her current position in 2012. Emily serves Political Science, Public Administration, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Urban Studies & Planning, and the OHSU-PSU Joint School of Public Health. She particularly enjoys working with students.

Congratulations to Michael, Art, and Emily!

Michael Bowman
Michael Bowman
Art Hendricks
Art Hendricks
Emily Ford
Emily Ford

Library Publishes Four New Open Textbooks

Print this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Portland State University Library is pleased to announce the publication of four new open textbooks authored by PSU faculty for PSU courses. Open access textbooks are digital and freely available on the web for students at PSU and beyond. The newly-published textbooks were written by faculty in the Department of World Languages & Literatures, the School of Business, the Department of Chemistry, and the Intensive English Language Program.

""Histoires d’Avenirs: Science-fiction pour le cours de français niveaux intermédiaire et avancé
By Annabelle Dolidon and Stéphanie Roulon, World Languages & Literatures

Histoires d’Avenirs is a textbook based on nine French science fiction short stories. It is designed for intermediate and advanced learners of French as well as native speakers interested in deepening their knowledge of French science fiction.

This textbook will be used in third-year and fourth-year French literature classes.

""Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 2
By Emiko Konomi, School of Business

This is the second book in a three book series. Book 2 is designed for beginning learners who want to learn basic Japanese for the purpose of living and working in Japan. Unlike textbooks written primarily for students whose content largely centers on student life, this book focuses more on social and professional life beyond school.

This textbook will be used in the Master of International Management program.

""How to Be a Successful Organic Chemist
By Alexander H. Sandtorv, Chemistry

This text is a clear and practical introduction to safety, chemical handling, organic chemistry techniques, and lab reports, an introductory text for undergraduates taking organic chemistry teaching labs.

This textbook will be used in Organic Chemistry labs.

""Communication Beginnings: An Introductory Listening and Speaking Text for English Language Learners
By Della Abrahams, Intensive English Language Programm

This textbook is designed for beginning-intermediate English language learners. It  includes an audio component that consists of recorded conversations of native and non-native English speakers, as well as links to additional listening resources on the web.

This textbook will be used in IELP Listening and Speaking classes.

These newly-published textbooks are part of a group of 18 open textbooks authored by faculty at Portland State University and published by Portland State University Library. PSU Library funds faculty authorship of open textbooks with the help of generous donor support, as part of our goal to reduce the cost of higher education for Portland State students.

As of spring 2017, PSU students saved more than $120,000 through open textbooks authored by PSU faculty. Portland State University open textbooks have been downloaded more than 28,000 times all over the world.

Browse the complete collection of open textbooks at Portland State University Library