I am wondering how open access textbook publishing platform is viewed in regard to publication turnover i.e. how quickly can one get published through it, compared to (say) traditional publishing?

There are several open access models and I am aware of Open Suny which describes itself as follows:

Open SUNY Textbooks is an open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants. This pilot initiative publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as publishing service and infrastructure.

This is a peer-reviewed platform (so it is different from self publishing).

  • 1
    Pttthhp. Just put a pdf on your web site already.
    – JeffE
    Feb 10 '15 at 20:37
  • Re the revised question, are you now asking whether there are other peer-reviewed open-access textbook publishing initiatives? The question in my mind would then be why you think peer-reviewing is important for textbooks. I believe that some textbooks get peer-reviewed, some do not, and some (e.g., many high school texts) get some kind of sham peer-reviewing. Self-publishing is not the opposite of peer-reviewing. Self-publishing is more like the opposite of having your book bought by a publisher on the recommendation of an acquisitions editor.
    – user1482
    Feb 11 '15 at 5:46
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    Rather than revising so much that the nature of the question changes, I would ask a new question.
    – RoboKaren
    Feb 13 '15 at 3:50
  • I agree with RoboKaren; it's not fair to change a question in a way that completely invalidates the existing answer. Just ask a new question.
    – ff524
    Feb 13 '15 at 4:35

I maintain an online catalog of books whose authors have intentionally made them free (as opposed to what Project Gutenberg does with old public domain books). Probably a majority of these are textbooks.

In my experience, nearly all free textbooks are simply written by their authors without working through any organization. Often professors write up lecture notes, and the lecture notes gradually become more and more elaborate and evolve into a book. During the ~14 years that I've been paying attention, I've seen many initiatives, consortia, and for-profit companies come and go. Most have had very little impact. A good example of a zero-impact initiative was California Governor Schwarzenegger's Free Digital Textbook Initiative, which was announced with great fanfare and accomplished absolutely nothing. (There is a newer initiative called the California Open Education Resources Council.)

A couple of organizations that have done good work are merlot.org and OpenStax.

Your quote from the Open SUNY project's description says:

This pilot initiative publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as publishing service and infrastructure.

As with a lot of these initiatives, this seems to be ill-conceived and stuck in 20th-century models of technology. For digital distribution, you don't need a publisher. For print distribution, there are services like lulu. What traditional publishers do that is still important is a lot of stuff that is just expensive to do. E.g., for a mechanical engineering textbook they would hire a professional artist to do the illustrations.

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    I'd reiterate the points that these "initiatives" seem to come and go without doing much, while being ill-conceived and archaic. We can account for this at least in part by (1) the need for "leaders" to appear to be doing something (2) the need for that appearance to be comprehensible to and meet the implicit assumptions/criteria of people (legislators? administrators?) who are not very up-to-date, but maybe think they are. This tends to generate bizarre, anachronistic "high-tech" projects that are quickly forgotten ... Feb 10 '15 at 21:01
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    ... and "free books" can often be found on individuals' websites just by searching, not necessarily looking for centrally-organized catalogues, although there are some of the latter. By this year, surely it'd be a full-time job to up-date such catalogues, unlike 10-20 years ago, so I'd expect catalogues to tend to amount to mirrors of search-engine results by now. Feb 10 '15 at 21:03
  • Are your catalog's textbooks in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)?
    – Geremia
    Dec 16 '16 at 1:28

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