Skip to Main Content

OER Tools for Librarians: Publishing Tools

Publishing Platforms

The following content is from the Open Textbook Network's course, Certificate in OER Librarianship:

Publishing Platforms1

You may want to consider what authoring and publishing platforms you're in a position to support in your publishing program. Some programs leave it up to the author to work in whatever program they're comfortable in. However, that may mean a lot of editing and formatting for someone else in order to make the textbook accessible or available in a clean, portable format. There are many, many publishing platforms and tools. A few are frequently leveraged for open textbook production, and those are highlighted here.

  • Pressbooks
    • Authors can write directly in Pressbooks (Links to an external site.) or import the manuscript into it later. It's built on WordPress, so anyone familiar with using WordPress and a WYSIWYG may be comfortable using this tool. In addition to a making an online book, you're simultaneously creating your book in a variety of file formats, including EPUB, PDF, HTMLBook, and XML formats.
  • Editoria
    • Editoria (Links to an external site.) is an open source, web-based editing and production workflow tool that makes format-flexible documents. It includes project management capabilities, including the option to establish deadlines, assign reviewing tasks, manage communication, and set permission levels. Authors can review and respond to edits directly in the online system.
  • LaTeX
  • Google Docs & Microsoft Word
    • Arguably the two most popular authoring tools for writing textbooks are Google Docs and MS Word.
    • Google Docs is free and online. It allows for multiple authors and editing, which can work well for groups writing together. Collaborators can @ each other with comments, make suggestions, and track revisions. You can also upload existing files to Google Docs, and export to both PDF and EPUB.
    • Microsoft Word is a tool available for purchase and installation on a personal computer. Most people have access to it through their institution. Users have to deliver the file to others in order for them to access it, usually via email or online file sharing. It's possible to track changes and to ask others to leave comments and suggestions. You can save a Word file as a PDF.
  • OERPUB Textbook Editor


  1. The text in this section is from OTN Publishing Curriculum, adapted from Authoring Tools (Links to an external site.) in Authoring Open Textbooks by Open Textbook Network, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Publishing Roles

The following content is from the Open Textbook Network's course, Certificate in OER Librarianship:

Common Roles1

It takes diverse expertise to produce a consistent, quality publication. In addition to the author, there are typically many other people involved in textbook production. Involving as many people in these key roles as possible per project will result in a consistent publication. You may have in-house expertise in the areas listed below, or choose to work with freelancers. 

  • Copy editor: Ensures the textbook makes sense and has a consistent structure and voice.
  • Developmental Editor: Provides consultation on content structure and flow at the early stages.
  • Graphic Designer: Designs cover and potentially other content, including illustrations and infographics.
  • Instructional Designer: Identifies consistent design elements for best student learning and textbook consistency. Similar to developmental editor.
  • Librarian: Ensures copyright, open license, public domain, and other compliance.
  • Marketer: Provides marketing plan and support to promote the book.
  • Printer: Provides print copies.
  • Project Manager: Ensures the success of the project by managing people, timelines, and processes to get the book to print. 
  • Proofreader: Reviews the textbook for grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors and makes corrections.
  • Typesetter: Creates consistent appearance of the textbook’s text, layout, and spacing.

Rebus Projects (Links to an external site.) is a platform you can use to guide open textbook projects through the publishing workflow. It also makes it easy to find, recruit, and organize collaborators. In other words, it is a tool for launching, developing and sharing open textbooks. In addition, it can be leveraged with any publishing platform. While it is easily integrated with Pressbooks, a book publishing platform, it can also be your project management tool of choice regardless of how you ultimately publish a project.  [Adapted from Defining Your Role (Links to an external site.) in Authoring Open Textbooks by Open Textbook Network (CC BY (Links to an external site.)]

Open Textbook Production Checklist (a Google Doc)


  1. The text in this section is adapted from "Defining Your Role (Links to an external site.)" in Authoring Open Textbooks by Open Textbook Network CC BY 4.0. 

Author Agreements - Copyright - CC Licensing

The following content is from the Open Textbook Network's course, Certificate in OER Librarianship:

Author Agreements

Once you've selected your faculty authors, it'll be important to establish a contract with authors that aligns with your institution's policies while allowing the author to share the work as openly as they desire. The Adaptable OER Publishing Agreement (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (CC BY) was designed to be a starting point for higher education institutions that want to contract with their faculty to create OER. 

Putting the Adaptable OER Publishing Agreement to use will be a valuable process. Not only will it clarify expectations, but it will spell out who owns the copyright and reflect what faculty union/bargaining agreements may allow at your institution. 

[A]sk... for author acknowledgement that they understand the CC BY requirements. 1

Here are a few institutional examples to check out:

In addition, here is a Sample Manuscript Information Sheet (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. from the Library Publishing Curriculum (CC BY).


1. The text in this section is adapted from the OTN Publishing Curriculum, licensed under CC BY 4.0.