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Open Educational Resources Collective Publishing Workflow

Identify What Publishing Support Will Be Needed

Producing a textbook is a big undertaking that ideally should include a publishing team armed with skills that would otherwise be provided by employees at a publishing house. 

The Publisher’s Role

Publishers are responsible for managing all aspects of a book’s production, except the writing – that’s the author’s job. However, the publisher guides the development and refinement of the author’s ideas and words.

Publishing teams usually provide the following services:

  • project management the managing editor tracks assigned tasks for all staff, including the author
  • book outline and layout – the author is typically responsible for providing a book outline, but a developmental editor will review it to ensure that all necessary elements are included and properly organised
  • design cover, font and layout art direction – illustrations, graphics, tables and figures
  • copyediting and proofreading
  • marketing and promotion
  • distribution – of physical and digital copies (Underdown, 2018).

Deciding What Support You Need

When you self-publish, you become the publisher, which means it’s usually up to you to put together your own support – or publishing – team.

The first step is to identify which of these tasks you – or another colleague – feel confident completing yourself, and which ones you need to recruit outside help for.

Identifying Who Can Help

You likely already work with people who can provide many of the services you’ll need to develop and publish your book. For example:

  • librarians – can help you with copyright and licensing, finding and evaluating resources, and storing and sharing your book
  • educational designers – may be able to help you with design and layout
  • graphic designers – may be able to help you with covers and images
  • libraries or ICT departments  may be able to provide technical support for Pressbooks or other authoring and publishing tools and platforms.

You can also look outside your institution to:

  • friends and family
  • colleagues at other institutions
  • your professional organisation
  • open textbook and OER communities (e.g. the CAUL OER Collective).

If you’re successful in obtaining an open textbook grant for your book, you may be able to hire professional services such as freelancer editors or graphic designers.

Your librarian may also be able to provide recommendations for accessing these services.


Underdown, H. (2018). What a publisher does: key roles.


Adapted from ‘Identify Support’ in Self-Publishing Guide by Lauri M. Aesoph, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.