If modifying an open textbook that is in the public domain, you are not required to attribute the original author. However, if you are modifying an open textbook that is licensed under one of the Creative Commons licences, then acknowledging the author(s) of the original work is required as well as indicating who owns the copyright, how the original work was licensed, and what the substantive changes were made.
There is one caveat. If the textbook you are adapting has a ShareAlike attribute, then you must release the book with the same licence that it was originally released with. The ShareAlike clause means that you must use the exact same licence that was used in the original for ANY adaptation.
If using Pressbooks to create an adaptation, the licence type chosen for the adapted portions of your open textbook and the licence used for the original book, should be noted in a couple of places in the book, along with the changes made. You should also indicate who holds the copyright to specific parts of the book. The adaptation statement should be found:
- In the preface or introduction in the front matter where it is clearly stated that the book is an adaptation of another open textbook.
- As part of the copyright page so readers know which book sections are newly created or changed.
If you are creating an adaptation using another system, such as Word, then displaying the adaptation and licensing information on the copyright page of the book is sufficient.
Keep in mind that the reader could be viewing a printed copy with page numbers or an electronic version with no page numbers, so do not use page numbers as references. Instead, use chapters and chapter sections as reference points within the book.
How detailed should the adaptation statement be
As suggested earlier in this guide, it is advisable to keep a detailed record of the changes and additions made to existing material during the revision process. This information is for the adapting author’s reference and can be used to compose a comprehensive adaptation statement.
BCcampus Open Education has managed several major adaptations of open textbooks. Based on that experience, these best practices for creating effective and informative adaptation statements.
- If a significant amount of new information has been added, briefly describe the content and where it can be found, e.g., as a new chapter or part of an existing one. Provide a title to the new work.
- If significant changes have been made to existing material, describe what has been altered and where it can be found, by chapter or chapter section.
- Overall updates and changes can be described with a general statement.
For examples, see the metadata at the bottom of the home page for these textbooks:
- Introduction to Psychology – 1st Canadian Edition
- Principles of Social Psychology – 1st International H5P Edition
Here is an example of an adaptation statement used on an About the Book page in the front matter of an adapted open textbook created in Pressbooks.
The following is an example of the copyright statement. In Pressbooks, this information is added to the Copyright Notice field on the Book Info page. For an adaptation created using another system, such as Word, this information can be added to the preface or other front matter page of the book.
Notice that these items are addressed:
- The licence under which the book, as a whole, is released. The licence type is hyperlinked to a page on the Creative Commons website that explains this licence.
- A short description about the permissions granted by this licence.
- Who owns the copyright, when the copyright began, and for which parts of the book.
Unless otherwise noted, Introductory Business Statistics with Interactive Spreadsheets – 1st Canadian Edition is (c) 2010 by Thomas K. Tiemann. The textbook content was produced by Thomas K. Tiemann and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence, except for the following changes and additions, which are (c) 2015 by Mohammad Mahbobi, and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
All examples have been changed to Canadian references, and information throughout the book, as applicable, has been revised to reflect Canadian content. One or more interactive Excel spreadsheets have been added to each of the eight chapters in this textbook as instructional tools.
The following additions have been made to these chapters:
- chi-square test and categorical variables
- null and alternative hypotheses for test of independence
- simple linear regression model
- least squares method
- coefficient of determination
- confidence interval for the average of the dependent variable
- prediction interval for a specific value of the dependent variable
You are free to use or modify (adapt) any of this material providing the terms of the Creative Commons licences are adhered to.