Pub101: Publishing Models 2024

Published on May 23rd, 2024

Estimated reading time for this article: 32 minutes.

Pub101 is a free, informal, online orientation to open textbook publishing. This May 22, 2024, session is the sixth in our series this year. Host Cindy Gruwell of the University of West Florida welcomes guest speaker Amanda  Larson of Ohio State University for a discussion of open publishing models.

Watch the video recording of this session or keep reading for a full transcript. For those interested in reading the conversation that took place among participants and the resources shared, the chat transcript is also available below.

Note: If your comments appear in the transcripts and you would like your name or other identifying information removed, please contact Tonia.

Audio Transcript

  • Cindy Gruwell (Associate Librarian/Coordinator of Scholarly Communication, University of West Florida)
  • Amanda Larson (Affordable Learning Instructional Consultant, Ohio State University)

Cindy: My name is Cindy Gruwell from the University of West Florida, and I'm on the Pub101 Committee. I want to thank you for joining us for today's session, and as I said, I'll be your host and facilitator. I want to introduce, our speaker of the day is Amanda Larson. I trust that you do know who she is. She is the Chair of the Pub101, and Amanda is the Affordable Learning Instructional Consultant at the Ohio State University, where she creates professional development opportunities for staff, librarians, and instructors around open pedagogy and open educational practices. Previously, she was the Open Education Librarian for University Libraries at Penn State University, where she coordinated affordable content initiatives across all of the Penn State campuses.

I'll be handing this off to Amanda in just a few minutes. Just a couple of things. She will be talking about publishing models, and as always, we'll leave some time at the end for your questions and conversation. There are many of you that have experience in the topic and we would like you to share those experiences and resources. A few housekeeping details. We have an orientation document that includes our schedule and links to session slides and recordings. If you can't make it to a session, you can check it out on our page or through our page. Please remember there is a companion resource for these sessions, the Pub101 Canvas curriculum. That's where you'll find the resources and templates mentioned.

We are recording this session, as I mentioned, then we'll be adding it to our YouTube. We're committed to providing a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for everyone aligned with our community norms. Please join us in creating a safe and constructive space. Finally, all of the links to our resources just mentioned can be found on Linktree, and I will put the Linktree link in the chat box now and also at the end of our session here. Now, I want to go ahead and hand this off to Amanda.

Amanda: Hi, everybody. Let me get my screen shared up so I can share it. Great. Fantastic. I just need to move the Zoom window off of it. There we go. This is Publishing Program Capacity with me. Cindy gave me a great introduction, so I'm not going to go over too much more. However, these are the ways in which I have been involved in publishing. I started in grad school in my very first grad degree as an editorial assistant, so I learned a lot about open publishing of journal articles. And then, I was the open educational resources teaching assistant at UW-Madison, where I learned about working with authors to begin with.

And then in my prior role at Penn State, I was the open education librarian and I ran a grant program there. And then, I am now the affordable learning instructional consultant, and I work primarily one-on-one with authors now, just to give you some context. I'm going to put a link to this Mentimeter in the chat, but you can also join it by going to and entering the code 6908 4452. Or you can use the QR code and scan it with your phone if you would like to participate on another device. I'll give you a little bit to get signed in there.

Okay. Let's move ahead. I have a word cloud activity here. The question is, what is your favorite snack? This is a light icebreaker so that you can get to know each other a little bit more, but also so that you can experience what Mentimeter is like on a question that doesn't really matter all that much. There's no right or wrong answer. Your favorite snack is your favorite snack. Mine is either ice cream or cheese. Cheez-Its, love it. Hot fries, popcorn, string cheese, cashews, Zapp's voodoo chips. I like that you have very specific brands as well. That's awesome. Oreos, hummus, cheese, string cheese. I love some string cheese. Potato chips, Doritos, fresh baked bread. Oh, that sounds delicious. Ice cream, Reese's pieces.

All right. I think you've got the hang of it. I'm going to go ahead and start. Today, we're going to talk a little bit about what publishing programs are. I have a brief overview, we're not going to get into the weeds on it, but I really want to get really in depth into why would you have a publishing program, and we're going to talk about some different capacity issues for that as well as who's doing the work, how you can build some definitions, and then communicating, training, and community building, communication and training, and then self-care, and then also some considerations for you to walk away with today.

High-level bird's eye overview of how a publishing program works. You start off with advertising your call for proposal to get people to apply to be a part of it, or you could do one-on-one consultations with people to get interested. You're going to do some way to get people to come to you and say, "Hey, I'd like to publish with you an open textbook." A lot of times inside the context that we're talking about, that happens a lot through an OER grant program. And then after that, you'll go through your acceptance process, which might mean that you need to have a rubric in order to judge those, and then you'll announce your winners and you'll let the people who didn't make it in, if there are any, that they didn't make it in this time around. Then, you'll go through that memorandum of understanding process that Carla talked about.

We have that call for proposals that Karen talked about and now that memorandum of understanding, and that sets expectations for both what you're willing to offer but also what authors are expected to provide. Then, you might do a program kickoff or overview or trainings and those would come next. And then, you let your authors go away and work on their projects and you figure out what your project management looks like. After that, hopefully, they finish the project. Sometimes, that can take a long time. I would say the average could be between one and three years for a textbook project and that's all very normal. And then, it needs to go through an accessibility review to make sure that everything is okay there. And then, a licensing review to make sure that any licenses they used were compatible and that they have selected a license for their book. And then, you finalize that publication.

But after that, your job doesn't stop. Now, you have to advertise that publication or even put it through peer review if that's something that they're interested in and it's a service that you offer. And then, your authors go away and use their textbook. Hopefully, that would be ideal. And then, any surveys that happens, they could survey their students, you could survey people who adopted it, you could survey the participants in your program to see how your program is doing and get program feedback. And then, you think about versioning and sustainability for that project. That's a very high level overview of what happens inside a publishing program.

A great resource for getting started thinking about a publishing program programmatically is the OER Starter Kit for Program Managers. You'll have access to these slides. I already shared the link with Karen so you can access any of the links inside of here, but it's a lovely resource that has case studies and it has a lot of different perspectives of the different components of building a publishing program.

But wait, why are you doing this? This is a huge question, and I want you to think about what is the why for starting your program. If you're at that point where you're like, "Oh, we might need to have a program. I'd like to have a program to forward open education work on campus," these are some questions I suggest answering for yourself. Is there an underlying need that you're responding to? Has somebody come to you and said, "Hey, I'd like to write an open textbook." Is affordability an issue on your campus? Is this maybe part of a multi-pronged approach to handling affordability issues at your campus? Is there a mandate from administration? When I was at Penn State, the provost basically said, "Please start an OER grant program. Here's some dollars. Go do that." Without much else, like parameters, just go do the thing.

Is it part of a larger initiative on campus? Does it fit into other components of student success and student retention? Does it support your goals for outreach around open education or about affordability? Will it focus on multiple avenues of participation? Is your program just a publishing program? You're only going to be remixing, so adapting, or is it also going to include creating from scratch, so authoring? Would you be able to do adoption as part of that program and how does that fit into your strategy? When I ran a program, I wasn't allowed to do adoption because the provost considered adoption a typical part of an instructor's workload, and he didn't want to provide grants for what they were already getting paid to do for their courses. Then, is it part of a larger outreach strategy? These are all great questions to think through as you get started.

My question is, why are you considering a publishing program? If you're here, you are definitely considering it. Or why did you start your program? Did you arrive and there was a program that already existed? I'm going to give you some time to go ahead and answer these questions. Apply for a grant. Inquiry by faculty about library support for publishing. That's that impetus where they have come to you and they're like, "Hey, are you doing any support for publishing?" I took over a program already in process. I think we'll see more and more of that in library land and instructional design as the years continue and programs mature and people move on to other roles. Next level of support after years of offering grants for adoption, adaptation. We don't have a program yet but would like to start one in the near future. I arrived on a program already existed, but my previous institution, there was a very obvious need from students.

There are grants available in my state to support OER creation and I want to be able to support faculty interested in creating them. Faculty are already independently creating OER, but I want to provide more support with completing and publicizing projects and also promote OER as real scholarship. Oh, yes. Part of the legislative mission of the consortium. Significant faculty interest. That's a great place to be. Hired to create an OER publishing program. Your whole job was like, "Hey, please come do this." Not sure if we can do it at our level, community college, but curious to see if it is feasible. Plus one to the statewide grants and to the student desire. The same for us. IA and UA programs, so inclusive access programs are on the rise. Faculty are looking for alternatives. We have seen lots of that happening across the board. Equitable access programs. Exploring more options to support our faculty. Faculty are starting to want this, also a really great place to be for there to already sort of be that desire for faculty to be interested.

All right. That's fantastic. You're thinking about it and there are two open textbook development approaches. The one is a do-it-yourself. This is the one person show or maybe a small team of people. And then, there is sort of the publishing program version. As you can see, these share similar steps. They are going to have goals. You're going to need to identify your support parameters. You're going to have to, if you're working in a large publishing program, identify your partners. Are those partners within your unit? Are they across your institutions? Is it a center for teaching and learning? Is it instructional design? Is it IT? Is it also the library? Who are the partners? Define expectations. And then in the publishing program, define roles. In both versions, you're setting the scope for who's going to do what. Clearly communicate. That's going to be a big part. In the self, the one-person show, small team model. Teach the teacher is a great strategy. We'll talk a little bit more about that. And then, both of them are going to involve building a community and also doing some self-care.

What publishing model do you identify with? Are you in that do-it-yourself, one person, small team model? Are you going to be able to have a cross institutional publishing program where you have partnerships? Or if there's something else, some other version of that that you think you can think of or you're participating in, please feel free to put that in the chat. We'll see where this shakes out. That's a surprise. We have lots of people who are in either one person or small team models, some publishing programs, and then something else. I love watching this particular question type as it formulates. Okay. Lots of you are in one person, you're doing it yourself or a small team of people. A couple of you have a publishing program model, and then we have under one person, I don't know how that shakes out, who has something else.

The Menti input seems a little weird because each respondent moves a slider between one and 10, so I'm not totally sure how to answer it. Oh, that's good to know, Sara. I didn't know that. I guess if you're in... Hold on, I'll go back. If you're in a one person team, put that to 10, and then the same for publishing program. I thought would act like a scale where you just put your input in, but I still think that is loosely the same.

Identifying support. What services are you willing do you have the capacity to support? As somebody who has been doing this for almost eight years, I really, really, really want those of you who haven't started a program yet to think about the capacity that you have and what makes the most sense for you to start small with. Are you going to work with authors to author new works, so are they going to be creating things from scratch? Are you working with authors to adapt and remix works, which can sometimes be more work than a straight offering project? Are you working with authors to make materials culturally relevant or incorporate a racial justice curriculum? We have, at our institution, I'm at Ohio State, we have a racial justice grant as one of the grants that we offered, and that allowed people to work at making their course materials more culturally relevant.

And then also, what tools can you offer faculty to create and remix work? Have you figured out what publishing platform you're going to use? There are some great options here. Pressbooks, Manifold, Scribe. They could be offering inside of the learning management system. We have Canvas at Ohio State. Are they doing something in Google Suite? Are they authoring in PubPub? Which is also another great free option. What does that look like inside of your program? But also, what do you have the capacities to support of those things?

Where will you host the content? This is the number one often infuriating part of trying to do this work is finding the hosting for things, particularly if, say, they want to make a website as their OER. Lots of institutions don't want to pay to host anything. One off, they might need to use their grant funds to do that if they decide to go that route. But are you also going to put it in the institutional repository, if you have one? Are you going to put it in OER Commons when it's finished? Will you share it on the web freely? Or will it live inside the learning management systems? There are some ways to do that and still share openly. For example, Canvas has its own Canvas Commons. It's not fantastic, but if you do other ways to socialize the work that you put in there, it can be workable.

Once you've decided what type of projects you have the capacity to support, you should also consider the following. How many projects can you feasibly take on to start with? How many projects would you like to add to the next cycle? What do you think that you could do to make your program sustainable, like thinking long-term pie in the sky before you get started in the weeds? What does your budget look like? This is going to be really important. Do you have money to offer grants? Do you have money to have a publishing platform? Do you have money to support copy editing or accessibility remediation or peer review? So, there's a lot of questions to think through in the budget area. Do your funds fluctuate from year to year? Is the funding soft? Is there any in-kind funding?

Do your funds fluctuate from year to year? Are you relying on donors to give you money and you only have the X many dollars that donors give you? Is the funding soft, meaning it's not built into a budget somewhere. And then, in-kind funding, some programs will have the departments of the authors also provide some funding towards the grant. That can always be a great partnership. The other thing to think about when it comes to budgeting is if you are providing people with grant money, do you have to also account for their fringe benefits, because that's something that might happen and that's a great reason to partner with the business office at your institution to figure that out.

In the do-it-yourself model, there are some things to think about about support. Are your publishing efforts supported through administration or is it a grassroots campaign? Are you just out there doing it, or do you have supportive admin? Both can be a blessing and a curse depending on how that plays out for you. When I was at UW-Madison, it was a very grassroots and I didn't have a ton of administration support. When I was at Penn State, it was supported from the top down. Provost was super interested and it was a pet project of his. And then here at Ohio State, it sort of fluctuated between being supported to being questionable and has not been a whole lot of fun.

Is there cash for OER? Particularly with the way that institutions are still reeling from having to transition from COVID. Is it just you supporting all of the OER publishing at your institution? Or have you identified some collaborators that you can lean on? Even in the do-it-yourself model, it's probably a great idea to see if there are people who can help you do this work. And then also, something I like to encourage people to think about is, can you get a student worker and can you secure maybe a teaching assistant for that grad student? I had a teaching assistantship at UW-Madison and the tuition remission was amazing and really freed me up to be able to do the work that I needed to do.

In a larger publishing program where it's very programmatic and you are collaborating across unit lines, it's important to identify which administrators are supporting your effort because you're going to want to share reports with them really specifically so that they know the return on investment that's happening. Institutional, does the support come from the top down or does it come from specific units? The one model I was in at Penn State had the president and provost and then unit was sort of the model that it had, that all trickled down. Or it can happen among middle units. It could be that you're working with the center for teaching and learning or instructional designers, and that's where sort of the institutional support comes from. Again, where's the money coming from? We all want to know where's the money. And then, who's on the team? You might have a larger publishing program, but who's going to do that day-to-day work. That's really important to know.

Identifying partners. Who has a seat at the table is a really important question to ask, particularly if you're at the beginning of this process. You're going to want to build maybe a working group of stakeholders, and stakeholders could be students. I would definitely recommend a student representative to be a part of it. It could be the libraries. If you're not in the library, it could be the center for teaching and learning and that could be called something else at your institution. It could be the faculty, it could be the bookstore, it could be the university press if you have one. It could be academic units, or it could be institutional specific units. So, thinking about who are your partners, how much of a role do they have in shaping the program.

At your institution, who are your potential partners? Or if you're already in a program, who are you working with? Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning, instructional designers. Accessibility services are a fantastic partner to have. Center for teaching and learning. Experienced faculty, I love that. I'm DYI right now, but I'm trying to figure out how to collaborate more with this teaching and learning center, open scholarship librarians who focus on OA publishing and student government association. That's fantastic. Instructional design and technologists.

A great way of maybe engaging the open scholarship librarians is to think about how the authors in your program might want to write about the work that they did, because it often is a great research niche that they can have that somebody isn't already publishing in. You could tap in those open scholarship librarians to come and talk to them about doing that open access network. Or get them to come and talk about creative commons licensing. That's also great. I work with a team from publishing services unit of the library. I also collaborate with one of the institutes on campus on a grant to produce discipline specific OER. That sounds lovely. Academic center, faculty development. This is a great list of potential partners. If you haven't started a program yet, these are some places to reach out to. Student government. Also the dean, that's great.

Another big thing that you're going to want to do is define expectations. Once you've identified what and how you can support your publishing effort, you can start defining the expectations around your publishing program. We've talked a little bit about this and doing that in the call for proposals and also in the memorandum of understanding. What are your expectations for faculty authors, and then also in writing, friends, in writing, what support can they expect from you? So that when they come and they ask you to do some wild thing, you're like, "I'm sorry, that's not in our agreed-upon set of services that we offered. Let me figure out maybe how to do that if I have capacity," but also it's a great way to help reinforce that boundary and say no if it's not something in your suite of services. I know through my experience that there are lots of places where they didn't get this in writing to begin with, but you can always add an MOU at any time into your process. It can be iterative and grow with your initiative. If you don't have one now, consider it for your future offerings.

Define roles. Who's going to do what? Where does it make sense for you to collaborate? It might be great to have instructional designers who can help faculty create learning objectives and goals for their materials. Maybe other librarians, like subject liaisons, could help them curate OER for their courses, or to use as a remix project. Maybe students, you can collaborate with them to have an advocate with administration for more cash. I have found that administration likes to listen to students more than staff members, particularly if the student government makes it one of their initiatives for the year. And then also, maybe the bookstore can help identify courses or provide print copies of OER at cost. That really depends on your working relationship with your bookstore and that will vary by institutional context. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's awful. There's not a whole lot of in-between in my experience, but in some instances, the bookstore can be helpful.

Clear communication. Now, I can't overstate this enough. Most of your work facilitating as a project manager is going to be about clearly communicating with all of the stakeholders in the publishing initiative. Not just your authors, but also reporting up results and reporting across-the-line results, talking to your collaborators. I think it's really important to adopt an ethos of transparency and create shared language early with those collaborators and stakeholders, if not before you start the program. That could be how do you define low cost, if that's something you're interested in. We spent two years at Penn State trying to figure out how we were going to specifically defined open educational resources. Create an MOU for authors that clearly details what they're agreeing to and articulates what you'll do to support them. And then, make sure that you're communicating regularly with stakeholders and with authors, particularly during the project management phase. Abby will talk about this really great in-depth in our next session next week on working with authors about how that communication can vary.

Teach the teacher. If you are in that do-it-yourself model, it's really important to figure out how to teach your authors to be self-sufficient and self-starters. I recommend that you provide training for tools. Whatever publishing platform you're going to use, it's important to provide them some training on that. Also, provide them training for open licensing, so how are they going to license their work. Then once they start teaching with it, you'll probably get people who are interested in open pedagogy. It's really important to provide some training for that as well, and offer support for follow-up questions. But you can very much be like, "Okay. We're using this platform. I'm going to teach you how to do it. Now, go author a textbook. And then, I will check in with you for accountability." That is a very solid publishing model that can work in a do-it-yourself model. It doesn't have to be you doing all the work for them.

And then also, I would really recommend, and this is one of my favorite memes to share, is that it's dangerous to go alone. Please take the small kitten with you. It's important to start small and support only as many projects as you have capacity for and grow over time. When I talk to people that I am mentoring who are at the beginning of starting their projects, I talk a lot about how this work should be phased. You have a phase one, you have a phase two, you have a phase three, and you've thought about those and how they connect to each other before you get started. Maybe you start small. I did not start small. I regretted it the first time we supported 10 projects, and that was a lot to do when building a program from scratch at the very beginning. I would've started ideally with maybe three if I could go back and do it again.

And then also, it allows you space to show consistent growth over time. You did three, say, the first round, then you add four more the next time, and then in the next one, you get up to that 10 mark. Also, I really recommend to start a community of practice with your authors, particularly if they're in shared disciplines. They'll find a lot of benefit from, "Oh, you're struggling with this, I've solved it this way." Or, "We're both struggling with this. Clearly, it's a need that we need some help to figure this part out." I recommend introducing them to each other, have them share their projects, invite them to discuss what's working and what they're struggling with. So, what are they doing a really great job with, what is difficult. This will really help them to not feel alone in the process of creating OER.

So, which support structures resonated with you for you or your potential program? Teach the teacher. Yeah, you can't do everything. You can also ask them, say, you get through your first round of publishing grants or publishing offering, you can always ask them, "What support did you wish that you had?" And then, maybe you could develop training, teach the teacher in that section for that sort of thing. Love the community of practice idea. Publishing tools, realize this is just one thing. A partner to share the work with. An MOU is definitely in order, then teach the teacher. I think that's something that all of us who have done this for a long time are like, "I wish I had set better expectations up front." And so, that's why we tell you to do that. That's also why Karen said that there was a line of communicating throughout all of these sessions, because it's really important and it falls very much into learn from our mistakes.

All right. Let's move ahead to talk a little bit about self-care. I do want you to realize that this work is very isolating because you're the only person at your institution who's probably talking about this work who might have all of this on their shoulders to figure out. That's where sharing the work comes in and helping build yourself a team will help a lot, but you also have to do a lot of emotional labor, and not just in your interactions with authors. I find that I do a lot of emotional labor and a lot of invisible labor communicating up to administration, and figuring out how they want to talk about that, and then also making sure that you make them think it's their idea. So, there's a lot of that that's happening.

There's some very tough conversations. I've had a lot of tough conversations with authors who don't understand the scope of the program, who are like, "Yeah, I want you to help me publish my book, but then I'm going to go sell it to this publishing company." That's not what we're doing here. It could be tough conversations at the institutional level, particularly around inclusive access and equitable access. It could be tough conversations with your bookstore. Maybe they don't like that what you're doing or maybe they want a piece of the pie of what you're doing. Also, there could be some fear and hesitancy around new technologies. Sometimes, those can also be a place where you're getting drained by the work that you're doing.

When I was at Penn State, and the reason I have a picture of a tower on this image is I was literally the person who was in charge of doing this, and I was literally in a tower. They made Rapunzel jokes because I had very long hair at the time. I was both physically isolated from my peers inside of the library, but I was also isolated by the work that I did. On that note, there are some things that you can do really intentionally to start thinking about self-care. Our Pub101 has a great capacity scan worksheet. And then, Abby Elder just shared the Scaling OER Publishing Support (While Prioritizing Staff Well-being) worksheets that is built off of the capacity scan worksheet and one other worksheet. They have you walk through a set of self-reflection questions that can help you identify where you're going to need to do that self-care because your capacity is thin. Also, really, just take a moment and reflect on the work that you're doing or the work that you're going to be doing. I highly recommend taking a look at those when you get access to the slides.

I do want to say, so that sounded really terrible, right? I was locked up in a tower, but this work can be hard, but it doesn't have to be hopeless. How did I deal with that isolation? I built a network of people who do similar stuff. You're in a room right now, a Zoom room, full of people who are doing this kind of work, who are interested in this kind of work. There's a community here for the taking. All of the presenters here are very, very generous with their time. If you have questions, don't hesitate to reach out to them. I often always end a session with like, "And here's my consultation link. Please come chat with me. I'm more than happy to talk with you about this."

There are some of you in this call that I've had those kinds of calls with. And so, I really do mean it. Build yourself a network. You don't have to do this work alone. There are people who have been doing this for a while, who are more than happy and are very graciously willing to share their resources and answer your questions.
Set boundaries, and you can do that through your MOU, or you can just write yourself a list of these are the things that I say no to. I work with my supervisors in both of my positions that I've had doing this work to identify what are things that I can say no to and what are things that I have to prioritize in order to continue to be successful in my role. Also have those kinds of conversations.

For those tough conversations where it might be hard to have, there might be intense emotions or somebody's coming at you hot or they sound angry, one of my favorite is there's always one faculty member who will come to your presentation will ask you about the quality of OER, because they heard, 10 years ago, that it was terrible. It helps to pre-plan answers to those questions. So, sit down, think of all the terrible questions that are going to be hard for you to answer, and pre-plan answers to that.

Also, you don't have to be the master of everything and you can set your program up so that you are providing resources to things that you aren't an expert in and that's not your job. You don't have to suddenly become a copy editor. You can help somebody figure out how to do that, find them a resource, that kind of thing. Be the person who connects people to the things they need to answer the questions that they have versus feeling like you have to take on the onus of that for yourself. I'll say this community has been one of the most amazing ones I have ever been a part of, the open education community, and just genuinely warm and helpful people who really want everybody to succeed, which feels very different than a lot of other parts of academia. Again, build yourself a network. We're nice people, I promise.

I'm going to ask a question and it is, how can you take care of yourself on this journey? Thinking about your own needs as an individual doing this kind of work, what are some strategies that you could use to help take care of yourself as you start a publishing journey? Or if you're on that journey, how are you taking care of yourself or how do you wish you were taking care of yourself? I'll give you some time to answer that.

Always get enough sleep. Oh, I wish I could do that. Naps. Naps are a big part of it. Setting realistic deadlines that leave room for unexpected demands on my time. Set boundaries and stick to them. Yeah, the boundaries aren't going to do very much good if you don't actually enforce them. Take on only what you can handle based on other responsibilities. Schedule regular breaks and professional development opportunities, like conferences and webinars. I think that one's really important because that brings you back into space with community, which in my experience helps to refill the well. I see your question, Karen. I'll answer it after this.

Scope projects and say no to scope creep. I'm not paid enough to check my email outside of work. Me neither. Me neither. I really like the idea of listing what you will and won't do, establishing boundaries in advance. I think that's also helpful because you have them in writing, particularly if you put them in your MOU. You're like, "I'm going to do these set of services and anything else of that is outside." It's like as I have capacity or is already a no.

Karen asked me to talk about what are some of the things that you can say no to and what do you prioritize. One of the things that I think about is publishing things in other platforms outside of the platform that I'm using in the program. At Ohio State, we have Pressbooks and that's what we use for our publishing. If someone came to me and was like, "I want to publish in Jupyter Notebooks," I'd be like, "That's great, but I really can't help you with that." A, I'm not an expert in Jupyter Notebooks. I know enough coding to be very dangerous inside of a Jupyter Notebook, which uses R. But I can help them find somebody who could help them do that.

The other thing that I say no to in my position is people who are reaching out for things that aren't a part of the scope of my work. That could be research opportunities. Maybe I don't have time on my plate for that. It could be speaking engagements, it could be conference presentations. Those are really easy for me to put in a category and say no to because they're literally not in the scope of work that I have. I do say yes when the interest to me and I have capacity to do them. Also, I think there are lots of weird projects that creep up once you have a publishing program. One of the things that is a part of the program that we had here at Ohio State was facilitating lending libraries for students. That is something I would solidly say no too. If I was the project manager for that, I would be like, "No, that's a lot of work. I don't think you understand the scope of that work."

Also, if you have an author come and say, "I'm going to publish three textbooks this summer." The answer to that is no. No, they're not. They have no idea the scope. I mean, maybe if they already had them written, you could help them put them into a publishing platform and do that, but that would generally be a pretty solid, "No, let me talk you into we'll do one at a time," situation. I think you'll figure out your boundaries as you sort of start doing this work. But if there are things you just, like copy editing, I don't think anybody who doesn't have the time and capacity should be copy editing the books in their publishing program, unless that's a service that you want to offer. Also, that's another great reason for developing that list of services that you provide. I'm happy to do developmental editing, so making sure that the textbook sounds like it's in one homogenized voice rather than multiple authors, unless it's case studies. That's something I really enjoy doing, and often we'll build in time for that, but I would solidly turn down a copy editing ask.

Let's wrap this up with talking a little bit about some considerations. These are questions that are food for thought for y'all. Are there differences between your capacity and your organization's capacity? What I mean by that is does your organization say we want a robust publishing program that's going to turn out X many things and you don't have the capacity to do that, without them providing you more hands to do the work. One of the things that I've been thinking about a lot is if my library dean comes to me and asks me to start a grant program, now that our existing program has sunset, what are my priorities for that?

One of the things that is a no-go for me is I'm not going to run a grant program that's focused on creating things without production specialists. I'm sort of in a position to be able to ask for that. But that's a difference between my organization wants a thing done and I'm not going to say yes to doing that unless they provide me with the tools to be successful in that.

Does your capacity point at a particular publishing approach? Is there a model that works best for how your capacity is situated? For example, I am not situated very well for a DIY model, because we had a very robust publishing program and now we might need to figure that out again, so I'm not in a position to go back to a DIY model. I do some one-on-one publishing projects that are sort of within a do-it-yourself model. But a lot of that's very high level and strategic thinking on my part, and then some production work. For example, we have a textbook called Choosing and Using Sources. There's one author and there's one me, and I sort of set the parameters that we're going to start versioning this so it's not big, huge overhauls at one time, just to be respectful of both of our time and energy. So now, we have implemented a versioning schedule and that seems to be working really nicely for us.

What are you prepared to support right now? Maybe one textbook, maybe three. Maybe you want to take some time and plan out your publishing program beforehand. What would you like to support later is a good thing to think about. And then also, what conversations do you need to have in your organization to better answer these questions? And then, what partnerships can help you do this work? That is the end of my planned presentation. I'm going to let Cindy share the Padlet with you, and then we'll have time for questions, and Karen.

Cindy: I've shared Padlet. The question for today is, what do you want faculty to know about working with you as you make open textbooks together? I encourage everyone to pop over to Padlet and put in your comments. It's pretty easy. You just go to... I got you with the wrong question. I'm sorry. It's whether you... No, I'm correct. Go to May 22nd and there's a plus sign next to it. If you click on plus then you can put in your comment.

Amanda: Does anybody have any questions about publishing models? I know that was a whirlwind.

Cindy: Can you talk a little bit about sustainability of programs once you get them up and running?

Amanda: Yeah, I can. There are a couple of different things to think about when we're thinking about sustainability of publishing programs. It's how do you continue to secure the funding for the work that you're doing if it's not already built in. If you have soft funding, how are you doing that? And being really intentional about building those relationships in order to keep the funding going for your program. The next thing I would say to think about with sustainability goes back to the model that I was talking about with a phased approach. Thinking about your program is more than just that first offering, but how do you want it to grow over time and to have started planning for that in the very beginning.

And then, Sara's comment here about peer review, that's another way to think about the sustainability of your program. Are you offering peer review? That's one thing, is the question. Are you offering to facilitate that for authors, because that comes after the publication portion of it. And then, if so, are you asking them to provide you with a list of authors of other people in their field who would be qualified to review it? Are you going to do a post-publication peer review where you put it into the Open Textbook Library and have them go through that review process? The other thing that I like to think about in sustainability is sort of on both the technical end. So, making sure that you're checking for link rot inside of your books, making sure that all of the resources that they're pointing to still exist. Just general sustainability of the product itself.

And then also thinking about how many years out is that information good for, and that's going to vary by discipline. You may need to do versioning sooner. So you might want to have a versioning plan for the books that you're making and thinking about. There were some conversations at the Library Publishing Forum that got me really thinking about being really intentional about being clear in your MOU about what happens when they're done with their book. Do the rights... They keep their copyright clearly if you're having them openly licensed, but are they giving you a license where you can say this book needs revisions? I'm going to come ask you to do it. And then if you don't have capacity, I'm going to go find somebody else to review this book, to revise this book. A, it's permissible by the license they picked most likely. And also, you're ensuring the longevity of the textbook itself.

Thinking about that, those are the things that I think about, about sustainability. Making sure that your files are really well organized so that if you leave your position, someone can step in and take over. That's another sustainability thing to think about, how you're organizing yourself, because we want our projects to live on after we move on particularly. Thinking about sustainability in that way, how do you sustain that program, but also part of that sustainability is making sure you don't outgrow your capacity. Again, scaling your model up from smaller to bigger.

Cindy: There's a question in the chat box and it's, peer review was mentioned early on and I wondered if or how do you have facilitated this on behalf of authors?

Amanda: Peer review was something that I very early on decided was not a service that I wanted to support. That's been a very clear boundary for me, and there are models to do that. Again, I think you could do a train-the-trainer model where you have them sort of facilitate that situation. There's the Rebus Textbook Success Program does some of that where you could put a call out for peer reviewers. You could facilitate it through the open education listservs that exist, do a call for them there. I would say I'm definitely not an expert in facilitating the peer review. I have ideas about how you could do it, of course, but that was one of the things that I just didn't have capacity to do, to chase down people to offer pre-publication peer reviews of a textbook. Sorry, Sara, I wish I had better helpful advice.

Sara Davidson Squibb: No, that's great. Thank you.

Cindy: What other questions do folks have?

Amanda: Karen would like you to register for OEN Engage. Great. If you don't have any other questions, I just thank you for participating in the Mentimeter today. That was something new I was trying for this session, and it was really great to see you interacting with each other in that way, and sharing thoughts and resources that you can all use to better support yourself.

Cindy: I'll go ahead and drop the link in again just in case you want to go and take a look at any of the curriculum or other information that's included there.


Chat Transcript

10:49:53 From Amanda Larson to Everyone:
11:00:49 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Join us at OEN Engage!
11:01:47 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Pub101 Feedback, please and thank you:
11:06:00 From Amanda Larson to Everyone:
11:06:49 From Cindy Gruwell to Everyone:
11:18:29 From Sarah Clinton-McCausland to Everyone: The Menti input is a little weird because each respondent moves the slider between 1 and 10, so I'm not totally sure how to answer it
11:19:23 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Hmm, thanks Sarah.
11:32:13 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: We talk about communication in every session! It’s so critical. Shared language is really helpful.
11:32:22 From Sarah Clinton-McCausland to Everyone: Reacted to "We talk about commun..." with ❤️
11:33:31 From Linda Miles to Everyone: We ask them to do 1-2 chapters, review that, and meet with them to help them further develop their licensing, accessibility, and formatting expertise
11:33:48 From Sarah Clinton-McCausland to Everyone: Reacted to "We ask them to do 1-..." with ❤️
11:33:50 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Reacted to "We ask them to do 1-..." with ❤️
11:34:27 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Replying to "We ask them to do 1-..."
Such a great strategy! That way misunderstandings can be resolved earlier in the project.
11:35:33 From Amanda Larson to Everyone: Reacted to "We ask them to do 1-..." with ❤️
11:43:55 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Amanda, when you have a second, what are some of the things you can “say no to” and what do you prioritize?
11:51:27 From Cindy Gruwell to Everyone:
11:53:13 From Sarah Clinton-McCausland to Everyone: No questions from me, but this was really helpful and I especially appreciated the high-level overview of the process. Thank you! :)
11:53:32 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Reacted to "No questions from me..." with ❤️
11:53:34 From Sara Davidson Squibb to Everyone: Peer review was mentioned early on and I wondered if / how you have facilitated this on behalf of authors.
11:56:24 From Sarah Clinton-McCausland to Everyone: Reacted to "Peer review was ment..." with 👍🏻
11:56:37 From Meredith Tummeti to Everyone: Need to run to another meeting!  Thank you!
11:57:55 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Register for OEN Engage!
11:58:03 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: 🙂
11:58:26 From Karen Lauritsen to Everyone: Thank you Amanda and Cindy! 👏
11:58:44 From Sarah Clinton-McCausland to Everyone: Thank you!!
11:58:47 From Cynthia Graham to Everyone: Thank you !
11:58:48 From Cindy Gruwell to Everyone:

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