Who is the "publisher" for books produced by the Rebus Community?



  • This is a metadata thing. Most book metadata catalog would like there to be a “publisher” for books.


  • administrators

    Hi @eric

    This will vary from book to book, and of course, it will be indicated in the metadata as books are finished.

    In some cases, we are supporting projects that have a publisher but need support with the process or the project or finding collaborators. In others, there is no clear institutional ‘owner’ of the project, so we are able to fill that role when required.

    So, Rebus Community is not the publisher of all books produced by the Rebus Community.

    However, we sometimes will be when a book project asks us to (in which case the book will pass through certain quality checks, still TBD, prior to our publishing of it).



  • For example, there is no publisher listed in the metadata for https://press.rebus.community/financialstrategy/ which claims to have been published over a year ago, though it was only “announced” last week.


  • administrators

    Hi @eric

    Rebus is not a publisher in the conventional sense. Being a nascent organization, we’re still working out what that means, so thank you for raising the question.

    Currently, we are providing project support for the publishing process to select faculty creating open textbooks. We’re doing that in order to build a platform and resources that will assist open textbook creators in finding contributors and managing the publishing process at scale.

    Eventually, many books may be created with help from Rebus platform for which we will never be the publisher. For others, we may be a publisher in certain contexts.

    We acted as a publisher of the Financial Strategy open textbook to facilitate print-on-demand. However, all authors of Rebus Community books retain the copyright on their work. So if you are looking for the “rights holders” to be compensated in an unglue.it scenario (which is itself a new model for publishing!), I would direct you to them.

    The publication date on this book refers to the beta edition the authors beta-tested in their class, which was before we became involved.

    Since then it has gone through peer review and been revised accordingly, which is why we’re announcing the book’s availability.

    All that said, our founder, Hugh McGuire, is probably a better person to discuss this in depth. I would be glad to set up a call if that would be helpful.



  • @lizmays thanks. Unglue.it also catalogues and syndicates free-licensed ebooks. Our point of view is that someone who “acts as a publisher” is a publisher. So, for example, Gitbooks are published by Gitbook, unless the rightsholder says otherwise. Similarly for Smashwords, Lulu, etc. For “Financial Strategy” I think the publisher of the pressbooks edition should be listed as “Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation” and will do so unless Hugh says otherwise. We would consider the book from a year ago to be an edition published by the authors, or perhaps by their institution, depending on how they distributed it.


  • administrators

    @eric Hi Eric,

    This is complicated, and I’m going to ask @hugh to weigh in, particularly on your more general “is Rebus a publisher” question. (He is traveling right now or would have already responded)

    There are three levels here:

    In general, Rebus is not by default the publisher of books created with Rebus support. Many of them will have other publishers, or the rights holders themselves will be the publishers. For many of these books we will have provided tools and a platform, but had none of the involvement that a publisher normally would. In these cases, we will not be “acting as a publisher” in any way and will not be the publisher.

    For our pilot projects, if there is not another entity wanting to be named as publisher (such as the author, the author’s institution or the author’s university press), Rebus is willing to act as the publisher of record (and own the ISBN), provided the book has passed a series of quality checks (such as peer review).

    That is the case with the Financial Strategy book.

    However, each book will be on a case-by-case basis so we cannot generalize from that book to all books created by members of the Rebus Community.

    We do not know yet if we will apply the same practice we apply to pilot projects to future projects. Again, we are still working this out.

    I hope this helps to clarify for now. I expect Hugh will weigh in when he returns. (Or, I can schedule a call if that is easier.)


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