Nature Publishing Group (NPG) have today announced that they are to launch a series of "affordable, high quality interactive textbooks in college-level science". The first in the series will be Principles of Biology, available from September 1, 2011.
Created by a group of 50+ scientists, instructors, artists and designers, it will feature interactive lessons and continuous assessment tools.
The publishers also say the text will draw on Nature's extensive archive of peer-reviewed literature to help cultivate "mature scientific skills, including data analysis and critical thinking".
As a digital product, it will (given careful attention) be less likely to go 'out-of-date' and will be available on laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, etc.
Publishers say it will retail at $49 per student for lifetime access.
It's great to see textbooks going digital. Perhaps this could be used as a model for 2nd-level textbooks also?
The ability to link between peer-reviewed research and textbooks is exciting - too often textbooks don't (or can't) take advantage of the most up-to-date research in the area.
For this to work, the textbooks should link to all journals - not just those produced by NPG. All articles should, of course, be open access.
John Tyndall would approve!