Author Guide Template

This template may be used as you are welcoming new authors on your project. Find an editable version here.

Author Guide: [Project Title]

Lead editor(s)/author(s): [Name(s)]

[Link to Project Homepage]

OVERVIEW

This section can be adapted from (or link to) the Project Summary. Be sure to specify the license of the OER and any contributions made.

Author Commitments

Introduce the existing authors and state the expected qualifications & expertise of any contributing authors.

Content Guidelines

Course & Audience Information

Provide key details about the course and identify your student audience.

Student Learning Outcomes

Provide a list of student learning outcomes mapped to which chapters they will be covered in. This will serve as a quick reference point to ensure proper scaffolding across the resource.

Structure

Explain the structure of each section/chapter (e.g. each chapter comprises a background/theory chapter, a case study and a student workbook section). Provide word count ranges to ensure expectations are met.

Citation Style

Citations should follow the [MLA/APA/Chicago etc.] style. References to historical figures should include the dates of birth and death in parentheses, such as: Karl Marx (1813-1883). The text as a whole will be edited in accordance with the [Chicago Manual of Style].

Accessibility

Authors are asked to ensure that their sections fulfill accessibility best practices. Building in certain key elements from the beginning will make a big difference in ensuring the text is accessible to all students who will use it in their courses. The following are the main areas to keep in mind — follow the links to read more.

Organization of content/Headings — Many students need clear cues to navigate content, so keeping the organisation and hierarchy consistent are important. Use heading styles from the style menu rather than bold, italic or different font sizes to indicate the start of a new section. This helps to structure the content in a logical way for all students, including those using screen readers.

Lists — Make sure you use the standardized numbered and bulleted lists found on the style menu, rather than plain text. E.g.:

  1. Numbered
  2. List
  • Bulleted
  • List

Images & colour — Include a text description for any functional images that communicate important information. This will likely be more in depth than an image caption, and should contain enough information that a student can understand the concept depicted without seeing the image. (Note: this isn’t required for decorative images!). You should also avoid using colour as the only means of communicating information (e.g. on a graph).

Tables — Make sure you avoid inserting images of tables, and instead enter the content as an editable table. This ensures that it will be accessible for students using screen readers.

Multimedia — If you’re including video or audio content, it should ideally have captions or a transcript available. If this is not available for a resource in your section, please flag this in your submission for the editing team to address.

The information above is drawn from the BCcampus Open Education Accessibility Toolkit. Please read through the rest of the text for more on accessibility best practices.

Media (Images, Video, Audio etc.)

Note any requested or required media that the author should supply, and the preferred formats (if any). You can also offer sources where authors may find appropriately licensed content, e.g.:

Where appropriate, you can choose to include images, video or sound clips along with the written text. Please ensure that these elements are in the public domain or carry a CC-BY, CC-BY-SA or a CC0 license, and that you clearly indicate and link to the source in your submission.

The following are useful sources of public domain and CC-BY licensed multimedia content:

Note that all images should be given captions and descriptive alternative text, where appropriate.

Glossary

If applicable, indicate to authors how to highlight and define glossary terms. You may want to avoid using styles like italics/bold/underline to display glossary terms in-text, as this may not be distinguishable enough from the main text. We recommend asking authors to highlight glossary terms in a bright colour so they are clearly identifiable.

Submission Information

Due Dates

Indicate either a specific due date for content submission (if it will be the same for all contributors), or note that this will be arranged between the editors and authors and give an estimated timeframe (e.g. 6 weeks). A target date for having all content submitted may also be helpful, and links to any project tracking spreadsheets should be provided here.

How to Submit

Instruct contributors on how they should submit their sections once completed. This should include format (generally Word or Google Doc), method (email attachment, add to shared Google Drive etc.), contact person and indication that they will be notified when the submission has been received.

Editing & Review

This section should give a broad outline of the editing & review process a contributor’s section will go through once it has been received. It doesn’t need to be very detailed, but should give the author an idea of what to expect (e.g. the lead editor will leave comments for the author to address, then the content will go through an anonymous peer review process). We also encourage project leads to involve authors in deciding what the editing and review process will look like, which can be indicated in this section.

Recognition for Contributors

Include details about compensation and recognition for contributors, such as: “This project couldn’t happen without your participation. All contributing authors will be credited prominently in their chapter, the book and promotional materials. All editors, reviewers and other contributors will also be credited.”

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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