If you want your open textbook to stay relevant, you’ll need to keep reviewing it for potential updates and revisions. Revising or updating your textbook regularly ensures your content reflects current developments in the field, including:
The ability to conduct major updates and revisions – rather than just make small improvements and additions and correct errors – highlights how open textbooks can be responsive to wider changes in theory, discourse and practice.
Some of the areas you should focus on when considering revising or updating your open textbook are:
Continual updates and revisions are particularly important for ensuring your textbook is inclusive of diverse experiences and perspectives. Appy Inclusion and Diversity Standards provides some ideas for making your textbook as diverse and inclusive as possible.
There are two options for revising or updating your textbook:
The scale of the changes you plan to make – from user feedback to significant additions – will determine whether you should release a new version or edition.
Many authors start thinking about the second edition of their textbook before the first is even published. This is because a textbook is only a snapshot of information that will continue to evolve after the book is released.
You can prepare for future editions by collecting:
To help manage these changes and additions, you may want to create a duplicate copy of your textbook – for example with Pressbooks’ Clone a book feature – and use this as a template for the next edition.
While one of the advantages of open textbooks is that they’re flexible and easy to update, you’ll still need to consider the impact of these changes on existing users to avoid disruptions to teaching and learning.
When publishing and releasing a new edition:
‘Updates and Revisions’ in Authoring Open Textbooks by Melissa Falldin and Karen Lauritsen, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
‘Maintain the Book’ in Self-Publishing Guide by Lauri M. Aesoph, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
‘Improvements and Maintenance Overview’ in The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.