OpenStax College, ASM Press partner on microbiology textbook

David Ruth
713-348-6327
david@rice.edu

Jade Boyd
713-348-6778
jadeboyd@rice.edu

OpenStax College, ASM Press partner on microbiology textbook

Nonprofit publishers plan to offer free introductory-level title in spring 2016

HOUSTON — (June 2, 2015) — Rice University-based publisher OpenStax College and the American Society for Microbiology Press today announced they are teaming up to produce Microbiology, a new introductory-level textbook due for release in spring 2016 that will be free online and low-cost in print.

The collaborative publishing agreement — the first for each partner — will produce a peer-reviewed, open-copyright textbook. More than 300,000 U.S. college students take an introductory microbiology course for allied health majors each year, and the new book could save them an estimated $30 million over the next four years, according to Richard Baraniuk, the founder and director of OpenStax College and Rice’s Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

OpenStax Microbiology book cover

OpenStax College and ASM Press are teaming up to produce Microbiology, a new introductory-level textbook due for release in spring 2016.

“Partnering with OpenStax College on this new microbiology textbook shows our interest in delivering the highest-quality scholarly content as broadly and accessibly as possible,” said Christine Charlip, director of ASM Press.

OpenStax College, which launched with two titles in 2012, publishes free, full-color, peer-reviewed textbooks for the nation’s most-attended college courses. Its 10 current titles have been adopted by instructors in more than 1,600 courses worldwide and have saved students more than $36 million. In addition to Microbiology, OpenStax College plans to add 10 more titles by 2017.

“ASM’s collaboration with OpenStax College fulfills a critical need in preparing future health professionals,” said Susan Merkel, senior lecturer in microbiology at Cornell University and chair of the ASM Committee on Undergraduate Education. “Our efforts on the forthcoming textbook use innovative technologies, engage learners globally and incorporate ASM content guidelines about the microbial world. We are pleased to join forces with OpenStax College in this new and inclusive open-educational resource.”

ASM Press, the book publishing division of the American Society for Microbiology, publishes textbooks, references, monographs and general-interest titles that are used as the foundational texts in colleges and universities and as reference materials in laboratories and governmental agencies around the world.

“ASM Press and OpenStax College will work together to recruit lead content authors and reviewers, and ASM Press will also provide editorial guidance and interactive media content,” said David Harris, editor-in-chief of OpenStax College. “Moreover, Microbiology will align with ASM’s curriculum guidelines, which are the gold standard for microbiology courses worldwide.”

ASM’s latest curriculum guidelines were adopted in 2012 in response to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s “Vision and Change Report,” which recommended sweeping changes to biology and life sciences curricula based on input from thousands of life sciences educators worldwide.

OpenStax College uses philanthropic gifts from major foundations to produce “open educational resources” — free, full-color, peer-reviewed textbooks that have the same look and feel as books that cost $100 or more. All OpenStax College textbooks are available free online and at low-cost in print.

OpenStax College’s catalog will eventually cover 25 of the nation’s most-attended college courses. Current titles are available for introductory physics, sociology, statistics, anatomy and physiology, both majors and nonmajors biology, precalculus, economics, U.S. history and psychology.

OpenStax College is made possible by the support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation, the Maxfield Foundation, the Calvin K. Kanzanjian Foundation, the Bill and Stephanie Sick Fund and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation.

The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life-science membership organization in the world. Established in 1899, ASM has more than 39,000 members who represent 26 specialized disciplines as well as a division for microbiology educators. More than one-third of ASM members are located outside the United States.

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High-resolution IMAGES are available for download at:

http://news.rice.edu/files/2015/06/0602_Microbiology-book-lg.jpg
CAPTION: OpenStax College and the American Society for Microbiology Press are partnering to produce Microbiology, a new introductory-level textbook due for release in spring 2016.
CREDIT: OpenStax College

About OpenStax College
OpenStax College is dedicated to improving access to higher education by lowering the cost of textbooks and high-quality learning materials. It launched in February 2012 with a philanthropic model to offer free, high-quality, peer-reviewed, full-color textbooks for the 25 most heavily attended college courses in the nation. OpenStax College provides books free online for any student, anywhere. OpenStax College also partners with companies that provide fee-based products and services that enhance the value of its books for both instructors and students. OpenStax College is a nonprofit initiative of Rice University and is made possible by the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation, the Maxfield Foundation, the Calvin K. Kazanjian Foundation and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation. For more information, visit http://openstaxcollege.org.

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,888 undergraduates and 2,610 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just over 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here.

 

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.