The cost of textbooks has become an issue in the past few years. Providing textbooks on tablet computers has cut costs somewhat, but in the traditional publishing business model, a significant mark-up is needed in order for the business to be profitable. In poorer communities textbooks are often out of date. One trend that has emerged in the past few years is the development of open source textbooks. California has recently enacted legislation to promote this concept. One effort, the California Open SOurce Textbook Project, has been in operation since 2001 - see http://www.opensourcetext.org
Space College will seek to utilize open source text books wherever possible so as to reduce or eliminate costs and to broaden the distribution of educational material. As is the case with online courses, Space College will create a parallel online resource that identifies open source textbooks of relevance to Space College. Where such texts are lacking, Space College will seek to gain the rights to use existing textbooks, encourage the Space College community to develop them in crowd sourced fashion hand in hand with the development of online courses and curricula.
In addition to open source textbooks is the issue of access to scientific and technical publications given that many journals require a fee for access. The U.S. Government has been moving toward requiring that research funded with tax dollars be made openly available to the public. This is still being worked out but there is a clear trend toward more open access. Space College will create a directory of journals relevant to its areas of interest that are open to the public. One of the clear trend setters in this regard is PLoS - Public Library of Science http://www.plos.org Space College will seek to have a strong working relationship with PLoS.
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