Social science research in the knowledge economy

Textbooks as wikis

January 3, 2006 by · 1 Comment · Participation, Publishers, Students

The idea of producing school and university textbooks as wikis (i.e. as free and editable online texts) is slowly starting to gain momentum. Dave Cornier lists some pros and cons. The great thing about publishing a textbook as a wiki is that users (e.g. students and lecturers) can contribute to the text and so help to improve it and keep it current. Direct editing of the text need not be completely open (as is the case with wikipedia) – there could be different types of contributors, such as editors, chapter authors, box authors, and people who are allowed to comment or add margin notes. One way for textbook authors to make some money out of this form of publishing would be to sell printed copies of the book to those who don’t have good internet access, or who prefer to use a hard copy.

One Comment so far ↓

  • matt

    I’m interested in this topic from my experience in custom publishing at the university level. this year at the university ive been associated with for many years, i watched the administration intercede in a textbook selection committee’s choice. the committee had decided to use a book they had written thenselves and would be considered open source. the administration had cut a deal with Thomson on their own to provide digital books, even though -obviously- the committee’s choice would cost much less. the alleged catch was that Thomson was offering the U a “toll” to sell directly through the CMS system. I found this a bizarre twist on the whole textbook cost debate. thats why im creating a site full of references to digital texts. in many cases, they arent what they seem.