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Funding and Compensation Models for Open Textbooks 

Open textbooks are free to use, but they’re not free to produce. If you decide to write and publish an open textbook, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to compensate not only the people who help you, but yourself as well. The cost of producing an open textbook is often underestimated by authors.

Before you begin, make a list of people and resources you’ll need to support your project.

Funding and compensation can come in different forms. Besides cash, in-kind contributions should be considered. For example, your institution may offer support by providing access to educational designers, librarians or in-house copyeditors instead of funding. You may also be granted release time to work on your book.

Typically, the creation of an open textbook is funded (often through grants) by:

CAUL OER Collective Open Textbook Grants 

The CAUL OER Collective is offering two types of grants to incentivise the development of Australian open textbooks:

  • DIY Author Open Textbook Grants (Available in 2022 and 2023)
  • Collaborative Open Textbook Grants (Available in 2023).

DIY Author Open Textbook Grants

These grants are available to academic staff from participating institutions who are developing an open textbook that will be published on the CAUL OER Collective Pressbooks platform.

The total number of grants awarded will depend on the number of institutions in the Collective.

Successful applicants will receive $1,000 per author, with a maximum of two grants of $1,000 awarded for a single book.

Grants will be offered in the following categories:

  • General
  • Indigenous authors
  • Early career researchers
  • Niche disciplines.

These grants will be offered through a competitive EOI process.

Once awarded, the grant will be paid to the authors’ institution and can be used for any purpose related to producing their open textbook (e.g. buy out of teaching, professional editing or design services, etc.).

Collaborative Open Textbook Grants

Launching in 2023, these grants will be offered to academic staff from participating institutions who are developing a cross-institutional collaborative open textbook through the CAUL OER Collective.

Details are still being finalised, but grants will be available to cover:

  • professional services such as copyediting, graphic design and peer review payments (managed by the CAUL OER Collective)
  • author payments for any purpose related to producing the open textbook such as buy out of teaching time or additional professional services (managed by the authors’ institutions).

Recipients of CAUL OER Collective open textbook grants will also receive space to publish their textbook on the Collective’s Pressbooks platform.


‘Funding and Compensation Models for Open Textbooks’ was adapted from ‘Who Pays For This?’ in Self-Publishing Guide by Lauri M. Aesoph, licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 licence.