OTexts represents a new approach to university textbooks. All our books will always be completely and freely available online. Why spend hundreds of dollars on printed books which are soon out-of-date when you can have continually updated online books for nothing!
Currently, we are slowly growing the platform, and carefully selecting high quality books to go showcase the vision we have for online textbooks. If you are interested in being part of the OTexts platform, please contact us with a book proposal.
We have one book already available: Forecasting: principles and practice
Ultimately we plan to make OTexts a publishing platform for anyone who wants to write a text book. Authors will be able to register for free and start typing or uploading their material directly. We are considering some filtering to prevent the platform being used for non-textbooks or for undesirable purposes, but otherwise anyone can write a textbook.
Authors will be able to type in with different markup languages such as html and markdown. The underlying format will be very similar to what is used on the StackExchange sites. A WYSIWYG editor will be available for authors that are unfamiliar with markup languages. Mathjax will also be supported, so that authors can use standard LaTeX commands for mathematics.
In addition to the online platform, we intend to also publish a small number of print books under the OTexts label. We will select the best of the online books, and prepare print versions of them. These will be subject to peer-review, they will have an ISBN, and will be sold on Amazon. Revenue will be shared with the authors.
At this stage, the only electronic versions of our books are on the website and accessible via a browser on any device. We are looking at having offline books available, but we think the online experience we have implemented so far is much better than what is available in e-book readers.
We will also have a subscription model for premium content. That is, the main parts of the books will be free, but some features will require a subscription. Our current plans are to have the following features for subscribers:
- access to exercises;
- access to the forum where you can interact with other readers and the author;
- the ability to add personal highlights and your own notes to individual sections of a book.
Again, revenue from subscriptions would be shared with the authors.
Rob is Professor of Statistics at Monash University and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Forecasting. He is an experienced textbook author having written three books with three different publishers. His experience with having his textbooks published with commercial publishers led him to think that there must be a better way.
Souhaib is a Computer Scientist living in Brussels, Belgium. He is actively working on the new OTexts platform and is excited to bring free and high-quality textbooks to anybody with an internet connection. In addition to his work on the OTexts platform, Souhaib is also a last year PhD candidate. His main research interests lie in machine learning, particularly the cross-section of forecasting and machine learning.