CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- California State University (CSU) and Nature Publishing Group (NPG), publisher of the world's leading scientific journal Nature, today announced a three-year partnership to support design and development by NPG of an innovative series of affordable, high quality interactive textbooks in college-level science. The "born digital" textbooks will be used initially at CSU campuses but will be available to other universities from September 2011.
The first interactive textbook in the program, Principles of Biology, will be used as the primary learning solution for the introductory biology course at CSU's Los Angeles, Northridge, and Chico campuses for the 2011/2012 academic year. Principles of Biology is being developed by a team of scientists and instructors led by NPG's editors, with guidance from a team of faculty advisors at the three CSU campuses. As a "born digital" product, Principles of Biology will be accessible to students and instructors via web browsers on desktops, laptops, tablet computers and smartphones, and will retail at $49 per student. Students will have the rights to self-print a color copy of the textbook. Principles of Biology uses more than 175 interactive lessons and continual assessment to help students master basic concepts, and draws on Nature's expertise and extensive archive of research papers to cultivate mature scientific skills, including data analysis and critical thinking. Further titles in life and physical sciences will be launched by NPG, with consulting and adoption by CSU faculty, over a three-year period.
Gerry Hanley, Senior Director for Academic Technology Services at the CSU, Office of the Chancellor, said: "Our partnership with NPG is intended not just to develop a new kind of textbook, but to transform the traditional relationship between universities and textbook publishers. The CSU and NPG have interacted from the outset, not as producer and consumer, but as partners jointly designing a publishing model that satisfies the long-term needs of both kinds of organizations. The resulting set of product features, pricing, rights and permissions, and distribution options is an ideal foundation for academic institutions moving forward and a considerable advance over traditional models. We are delighted that a publisher of NPG's exceptional quality and reputation reached out to us to work on this significant project. Our faculty are excited to begin using NPG's high quality resources with their students this fall."
Vikram Savkar, Senior Vice President & Publishing Director at NPG, said: "CSU's strong leadership in educational innovation, demonstrated by their willingness to dedicate hundreds of hours of faculty guidance throughout the advisory phase and work closely with us to design an affordable, sustainable publishing model, has been essential to our ability to launch this program. CSU also plays a significant role in training California's science, technology engineering and math (STEM) teachers, with nearly two-thirds of the state's K-12 science teachers educated at a CSU campus. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with CSU in the coming years to make a positive impact on the California science outlook and to make new textbook product models available to all academic institutions."
CSU campuses will be licensing NPG's Principles of Biology textbook for academic year 2011/2012 in three different modes. CSU's Los Angeles campus has opted for a site license, enabling automatic online access to the materials by all students enrolled at CSULA. At CSU's Chico campus, students will receive individual access, arranged through the campus bookstore. CSU Northridge is using the resource in its distance education class; students will purchase access online. Instructors will be able to customize the textbook before adoption and share modified versions of the material with their students during the semester. All materials will natively support accessibility by disabled students. Hanley said: "CSU particularly appreciates the flexibility that NPG's new publishing model offers institutions. The site license model, for example, makes high quality educational resources available to all of our students regardless of their personal ability to pay, removing the barriers that too often push students to make decisions about class materials based on their budget. It further strengthens the institution's role as a provider of tools that empower students to achieve their educational goals." Steven Inchcoombe, Managing Director of Nature Publishing Group and Publisher of Nature, added: "In an increasingly demand-driven education market, it's crucial not only for educational content itself, but also for the business model for that content, to be able to meet a range of customer needs. We look forward to working with institutions to expand the model that we have initiated this year with our founding partner CSU."
Principles of Biology will be available to the general market on September 1, 2011. For more information, visit www.nature.com/nature_education/biology.html and http://www.nature.com/press_releases/csu.html.
SOURCE Nature Publishing Group