Photograph of a diverse group of students.

Open SUNY Textbook Author Guidelines

Manuscript Submission

Submit your manuscript on the website, along with all media files, signed author contract, your Author Information Sheet, and any appropriate permissions.


Your manuscript will be reviewed by a SUNY faculty member or staff member in your subject area. Comments and suggestions will be provided and you may be asked to make changes, add material, or clarify your writing.

Copy Editing

Your manuscript will be copy edited by a SUNY faculty or staff member according to the Chicago Manual of Style (or a style appropriate to your discipline) and our house style rules. Following copy editing, you will asked to review edits the copy editor suggested. This will be your last opportunity to make substantial changes to your manuscript.

Read the complete Author Guidelines (PDF)

SUNY Press

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The Center for Scholarly Communication for the State University of New York

As an acclaimed international publisher of distinguished research and notable works of general interest since 1966, SUNY Press supports the commitments of the State University of New York to teaching, research, and public service. Capitalizing on the latest advances in digital communication, the Press offers an innovative range of print and electronic publications to fulfill the evolving needs of scholars, students, authors, and readers.

Learn more about publishing through SUNY Press.

Video: Education Without Limits

David Wiley of Brigham Young University, 2011.

An overview of what open textbooks are, how they are created, and how you can participate is available at the Connexions website.

Create Customized, Free or Low-Cost eTextbooks

Flatworld Knowledge textbooks are professionally published textbooks that are brought to market under an open license (Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-NC), providing faculty with the legal right to modify and adapt the textbook to better fit their teaching/learning goals. The business model provides that there is an online version of the Flat World Knowledge original textbook or the professor’s derivative that is free for students to access, read, and use at any time. You do need to adopt the book you choose in order for your course to be established and for your students to access your specific content. When you adopt the book, you automatically register your book in the Find My Class tool. Students use ‘Find My Class’ to access your book and its many affordable formats (html; pdf; epub, etc), to audio, to print and study aids.

  • Information about accessibility: Flat World Knowledge textbooks are readily available through a typical web browser online in HTML format, as well as ePub, mobi, PDF, and (in most cases) MP3 Audio file formats. Flatworld Knowledge’s ePub files can be sent to Bookshare (a non-profit organization that converts content to accessible format), who then produces digital Braille and DAISY reader versions, all available for free to any student.

MERLOT Content Builder - a set of free, web-based tools that are designed for people just beginning to author online content. The MERLOT Content Builder can be used by any registered MERLOT member to create websites using templates for adding text, images, video, documents, links, and more. You can easily send a download your website as an IMS Common Cartridge, send a copy to a friend, add a Creative Commons license, and catalog your website in MERLOT so others can easily find it. The Content Builder can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines.

FLOE, or 'Flexible Learning in Open Education,' Floe provides the resources needed to enable inclusive access to personally relevant, engaging learning opportunities for the full diversity of learners and content producers. Through the Open Education Resources community, Floe makes tools that help transform, augment, and personalize the learning experience. To learn more, review FLOE’s PPT.

Connexions Authoring: Connexions is an open source platform and open access repository for open education resources, enabling the creation, sharing, modification, and vetting of open educational material accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime via the World Wide Web. From its inception, Connexions was designed to allow the collaborative development and free availability of material. Instructors and authors can modify this material for any educational purpose. Connexions offers Free/Open Source software tools to help students, instructors, and authors manage these information assets for sharing and advancing knowledge to benefit the global educational community. All of this is accomplished through the use of the Creative Commons Attribution license. Before you begin using the Connexions system, you should verify that you have all of the necessary software. Visit the Connexions Quick Start Guide for a listing of the software that you will need and the links to help you download it. The Connexions authoring environment can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines.

SoftChalk – a commercially available authoring tool for easy content creation that can be used by any level of developer to create online learning materials. SoftChalk can easily produce accessible materials that comply with section 508 requirements. Developers can produce a learning material in SoftChalk via an integrated SoftChalk/MERLOT interface, and can directly catalog it in the MERLOT repository. SoftChalk provides special pricing programs for the CSU because of its leadership of MERLOT. Learn more about SoftChalk discounts and services for MERLOT partners.

SoftChalk is dedicated to making our tool as barrier-free as possible for all students. Click for more information on SoftChalk’s accessibility strategy.

Using Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides a methodology for authors to provide users of their content with the legal permissions to use that content in specific, pre-approved ways that:

  • encourage authors of online materials to share their work with others who might wish to reuse the materials in creative ways
  • ensure that contributions of online materials by authors to their community are protected from misuse and abuse.

To learn more about using Creative Commons, watch the MERLOT and Creative Commons video on YouTube.

Sharing What You Author

Once the online course materials are authored, we encourage authors to catalog their materials in MERLOT so other faculty and students can benefit from their time and talents invested in creating the content. It’s simple to catalog your online course content (or other websites you find that you use in your teaching) in MERLOT and help people find quality materials.

Click here for more information about adding materials to MERLOT. (PDF)