A couple of weeks back, Creative Commons blogged about the Bayanihan Book Project. The project, based in the Philllipines, aims to help increase the quality and availability of high school textbooks through crowdsourcing and liberal licensing:
We will write textbooks in the open where contents are made available on the Internet from initial outline to final manuscript. This would allow every teacher, parent, student, professional, DepEd official, virtually anyone, to review the textbooks even before they get published.
We will release the textbooks under a license that would permit everyone to use and publish the textbooks without paying royalty to anyone. Thus, saving the government of content development costs and allowing more publishers to fulfill the demands of public (and even private) schools.
They’ve currently got [two books](
http://blog.bayanihanbooks.org/books) – Mathematics – Grade 1 and Next Generation Health Governance – which are both being developed on wikis. Its great to hear that they’ve been developing the books with close attention to national standards and institutional requirements.
They are clearly keen to allow publishers to print and sell the books,
Since the materials from the Bayanihan Books are royalty free, there is no need for publishers to pay the authors. [...] Furthermore, the Bayanihan Books are licensed using Creative Commons that explicitly allows the use of these materials by any publishers. Therefore, more publishers bidding for the government contract results to more competition and avoids the monopoly of a few big name publishers. [...]
However, the only Creative Commons license I’ve been able to find on the site is a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Philippines License. It would be great if they considered switching to an Attribution, or Attribution-Sharealike license so that the books would be fully open.
It seems as though this is something they’ve already been thinking about:
(Note to self: I need to verify with Atty. Guerrero if printing the textbook constitutes a commercial use and what provisions should be added in our license.)
Anyhow – it looks like an interesting and valuable initiative!
February 19, 2008
The Borden Institute, part of the US Army Medical Department Center & School publish a series of textbooks which
constitute a comprehensive treatise on the art and science of military medicine, covering such diverse topics as military preventive medicine, military medical ethics, harsh environments, and care of combat injuries.
Titles in the series include:
- Recruit Medicine (2006)
- Military Preventive Medicine: Mobilization and Deployment, Vol 2 (2005)
- Military Medical Ethics Vol. 1 (2003)
- Military Preventive Medicine: Mobilization and Deployment, Vol 1 (2003)
- Ophthalmic Care of the Combat Casualty (2003)
- Medical Aspects of Harsh Environments, Vol 1 (2002)
- Medical Aspects of Harsh Environments, Vol 2 (2002)
- Rehabilitation of the Injured Combatant, Vol 2 (1999)
- Rehabilitation of the Injured Combatant, Vol 1 (1998)
- Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare (1997)
- Anesthesia and Perioperative Care of the Combat Casualty (1995)
- War Psychiatry (1995)
- Military Psychiatry: Preparing in Peace for War (1994)
- Military Dermatology (1994)
- Occupational Health: The Soldier and the Industrial Base (1993)
- Conventional Warfare: Ballistic, Blast, and Burn Injuries (1991)
- Medical Consequences of Nuclear Warfare (1989)
Individual books are linked to on the published volumes page
and are made available as a collection of chapters in PDF format.
Many of the textbook chapters seem to be produced by military personnel as part of their official duties – and hence are effectively in the public domain. This is reinforced by the privacy and security page which states:
Information presented on this web site is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.
However, any material which is not produced by military personnel or US government employees in the course of their duty may be copyrighted – and hence permission should be sought. To emphasize this, it is stated in the front matter of the series:
NO COPYRIGHTED PARTS OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRODUCED OR TRANSMITTED IN ANY FORM OR BY ANY MEANS, ELECTRONIC OR MECHANICAL (INCLUDING PHOTOCOPY, RECORDING, OR ANY INFORMATION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM) WITHOUT PERMISSION IN WRITING FROM THE PUBLISHER OR COPYRIGHT OWNER
Hence while in principle the contents of many of these books should be open, I’ve also tagged this post ‘non-open’ as its worth checking. It would be great if the Borden Institute made it clearer for each book what material is in the public domain and what material is copyrighted!
November 29, 2007
Elements of the Differential and Integral Calculus (Revised edition) by William Anthony Granville was published in 1941 and so is in the public domain in some jurisdictions. A set of scans is available at Internet Archive. Thanks to David Joyner of Open Source Mathematics for this.
October 16, 2007
I’ve just been looking through a couple of quite large listings of maths textbooks: Textbooks in Mathematics by Alex Stefanov at the ICTP (mirrored at geocities), and Online Mathematics Textbooks by George Cain who is retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Both bring together a wide variety of material from various academics, researchers and enthusiasts.
Some of the textbooks listed are explicitly open, but many are made available for non-commercial purposes or don’t have any licensing information.
Here are a few of the open ones:
The American Mathematical Society makes quite a few textbooks available on their Books Online
page, but these do not seem to be open.
Many lecture notes by David Santos are available on Open Math Text under the discontinued Open Publication License which is not fully open as it restricts commercial re-use.
There are also many maths textbooks under Creative Commons Non-Commercial and/or No Derivatives licenses – such as Shlomo Sternberg’s books, Dan Sloughter’s calculus texts or Victor Shoup’s A Computational Introduction to Number Theory and Algebra.
This looks to suggest that:
- It is worth chasing up textbook authors to ask them to clarify whether or not their work is open, and to suggest using an explicitly open license if it is. (See Dead knowledge: why being explicit about openness matters for more on this.)
- It should be made clear that not all Creative Commons licenses are open. (As was commented on in iCommons 2007: Retrospective Reflections.)
June 23, 2007