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Harvard University Press Partners with AcademicPub to Digitize Content

By Neha Dalal and Amna H. Hashmi, Crimson Staff Writers

The sight of students hunched over, burdened by an overflowing bag of books, is all too familiar in Harvard Yard. But with Harvard University Press’s digital content partnership agreement with AcademicPub, it may soon become a thing of the past.

In only its second year, AcademicPub is an online platform that allows faculty to package individual units of content, such as articles, textbook chapters, scholarly research, and cases, into one customized textbook.

The Press is one of 16 major publishers that announced a partnership with AcademicPub Tuesday, joining over 200 academic publishers and 4,000 faculty users.

“The traditional textbook has become very expensive and not necessarily current in the discipline or class you are teaching. Professors are looking for alternatives and ways both to choose what they want and to save their students money,” said Caroline Vanderlip, CEO of AcademicPub’s parent company, SharedBook Inc. “Harvard University Press is one of the renowned university presses in the country with very scholarly and well respected work. We were very excited they wanted to be part of the platform,” she said.

Several Harvard professors, including those teaching many of the College’s largest courses—Life Sciences 1a, Government 20, and Justice—have already shown a preference for these more personal models, and have created course packs or other customized student resources.

Chemistry professor James G. Anderson actually wrote his own textbook for Physical Sciences 11 when he could not find one that fit his course’s unique structure.

Anderson responded enthusiastically when asked if he thought his colleagues would utilize resources like AcademicPub.

“Definitely. Anything that brings more flexibility will help immensely,” he said.

In addition to streamlining material specifically curated and aligned with courses, the partnership is in line with Harvard University Press’s goals of increasing professor visibility and course content availability, Stephanie Vyce, Harvard University Press director of intellectual property and subsidiary rights, said in an email.

—Staff writer Neha Dalal can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @theneha.

—Staff writer Amna H. Hashmi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amna_hashmi.

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