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Prepare to Write

Who Pays for This?

In terms of money, open textbooks are free for students, faculty, and anyone else to use.  But they’re not free to produce. If you decide to write and publish an open textbook, you need to think about how you are going to compensate not only the people who help you, but yourself as well. The cost of producing an open textbook is often underestimated by authors.

Before you begin, make a list of the individuals you will need to support your project and resources.

Funding and compensation comes in different forms. Besides cash, in-kind contributions should be considered. For example, your institution may offer support by providing access to instructional designers, librarians, or in-house copy editors. The OER Grants offered by BCcampus Open Education to faculty and staff in this province stipulate that:

(s)uccessful applicants must secure matching funds by their institution (for the requested OER Grant amount) in advance of submitting a proposal.[1]

Typically, the creation of an open textbook is funded (often through grants) by:

  • Open textbook projects
  • Government (provincial or state, federal)
  • Philanthropic organizations (e.g., Hewlett Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
  • Professional societies (e.g., Association for Psychological Science)
  • Consortia (e.g., Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction)
  • A faculty author’s post-secondary institution (grant, release time, in-kind contributions, other)

How BCcampus Open Education Began

On October 16, 2012, at the annual OpenEd conference in Vancouver, the then British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education, the Honourable John Yap, announced the creation of the B.C. Open Textbook Project.[2] The goal of the project was to make higher education more accessible by reducing student cost through the use of openly-licensed textbooks. BCcampus was tasked with coordinating the project because of its ten-year experience funding open educational resources (OER) through the Online Program Development Fund.[3]

While open textbooks are still important, the B.C. Open Textbook Project is now known as BCcampus Open Education, a title that better describes its participation in open education initiatives.

  1. BCcampus Open Education, "Open Educational Resource Grant", https://open.bccampus.ca/open-educational-resource-grant/ (accessed February 15, 2018).
  2. Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation, and Technology, "B.C. to lead Canada in offering students free, open textbooks," News Release, October 16, 2012, https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2009-2013/2012AEIT0010-001581.htm (accessed January 23, 2018).
  3. "BCcampus to co-ordinate provincial open textbook project," BCcampus, October 16, 2012, https://bccampus.ca/2012/10/16/bccampus-to-co-ordinate-provincial-open-textbook-project/ (accessed January 23, 2018).


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Who Pays for This? by Lauri Aesoph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.