Open textbooks: from idea to publication

Publishing in transition


One of the themes of the open science programme is open education. Within this theme, a number of topics are discussed, including the use of open educational resources such as open textbooks.

Team Publishing Support of the university library and the Open Education theme of the Open Science programme are organising a second meeting on open textbooks on Thursday 26 October. During the first meeting, presenters spoke about their experiences with publishing open textbooks.

In this second meeting, we will be getting a bit more hands-on. After a keynote talk by Simon Bowie (Open Source Software Developer voor COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructure for Monographs) )on experimental book publishing, we offer four workshops that discuss the different aspects of writing and publishing an open textbook. For example, how do you choose a publishing platform? What is the best format to publish in? What aspects of copyright do you need to take into account?

The meeting will be particularly relevant to (prospective) textbook authors who are interested in self-publishing their textbook. The workshops will cover various publication platforms (both code-based and WYSIWYG) as well as working with open licenses. Support staff is also warmly invited.


University Library City Centre, Tielezaal (keynote, workshops) and the De Vogelzaal (workshops).


You will find the application form at the bottom of the page. The workshops are live, but the keynote is in hybrid form. It is possible to register for the keynote only, in which case we will send you a meeting link before the event.


Welcome and keynote (13.00-13:25)

Reflections on experimenting with book publishing

Abstract: In this talk, Simon Bowie will share insights from COPIM’s Experimental Publishing work package. This part of the COPIM project supported several experimental publishing pilot projects which have investigated various non-traditional forms of writing and publishing academic books, such as media-enhanced books and community reviewing, as well as the infrastructures and platforms that can be used to support such experiments. In his talk, Simon will show us some of his favourite experimental book projects and infrastructures and will point towards which writing and publishing experiments could be used with textbooks to enhance students’ learning.


During the meeting, four workshops will be given in two rounds, so you can join two topics. Please indicate which workshops you want to attend on the application form.

Round 1 (1.30 pm - 2.15 pm)

  • Workshop 1: Empowering Open Education: Open textbook publishing with Pressbooks at the University of Groningen. In this workshop, Pieter van der Veen (University of Groningen Press) and Mira Buist-Zhuk will offer a short introduction to open textbook publishing at the University of Groningen, followed by an exploration of Pressbooks as the publishing platform of choice. Discover the dynamic features of Pressbooks and learn how to efficiently produce and organise your content within the platform. With real-life examples from the classroom, gain valuable insights into leveraging Pressbooks to publish your own open and accessible textbooks.
  • Workshop 2: Guide to Open Licenses in creating and sharing your textbook. In this workshop, Jeroen Bosman and Saskia Manuela-Bergmans (University Library) will guide you in exploring ways to deal with copyright, in finding reusable resources and in applying Creative Commons licenses to your Open Textbook. Please bring your own device (tablet, laptop) to the workshop.

Round 2 (2.30 pm - 3.15 pm)

  • Workshop 3: Creating an Open Textbook with GitHub. In this hands-on session, Neha Moopen (University Library) will show you how to create a template for your own open textbook with GitHub and Quarto (examples here and here). Coding experience not required. Bring a laptop and, if you want, some lecture notes or a manuscript to work with, and leave with the start of your very own textbook!
  • Workshop 4: Publishing Textbooks on Platforms: the case of Pubpub and Manifold. In this workshop, Thomas Jorna and Martijn van der Meer (Center of Trial and Error) will introduce participants to the possibilities of platforms facilitating the diamond open-access publication of textbooks. We first deal with fundamental questions about what it means and takes to make a transition from hard-copy textbooks to digital environments and then present and compare concrete examples of textbooks published on Pubpub and Manifold.

You are cordially invited to join. For questions, comments or to subscribe to updates on the topic, please contact Marjan Groenouwe or Hanna de Vries.


Start date and time
End date and time
Utrecht University Library City Centre: Tiele room and the De Vogel room

Please register here.