9 Open Text Scoping

Thinking about the process of creating the text from the very start and planning things out early will make it easier for you and your team down the line.

Creating an open text is about more than writing the content. There’s a lot that goes into making a text, from planning, editing, reviewing, formatting, marketing, and more. Part of scoping is to think about the whole publishing process, so you know what’s coming.

Target audiences should include all readers, so keep accessibility front of mind from the start. Good accessibility practices benefit all readers, and the more that can be done during the creation process, the less remediation will be needed later.

Plan, revise, and plan again. Take the time to make a plan upfront. Prepare timelines, draft book outlines, map key concepts, so you can check in regularly to see if you are meeting targets, and if not, recalibrate. Clear project documentation also means that newcomers can get on board quickly.

Here are some things to do at the very start to be better prepared to manage and execute the publishing process:

  • Get familiar with the open text publishing workflow.
  • Start creating the text’s outline, including a list of chapters with descriptions, pedagogical outcomes, and the types of features or elements that will recur through the text.
  • Work with your team to create a rough timeline – this can and probably will change over time, but plotting a first version will help you estimate the timing and give you some initial milestones to work to.
  • Recruit your peer reviewer and copy editor.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Look to the library, the UniSQ OEP team, colleagues, and the academic community more broadly to help.
  • Distribute the workload among your team members and look for other possible assistance. There may be specific resources, grants, or funding opportunities available to you.
  • Decide on the various tools you will be using for project management, communication, writing, editing, review, and formatting.

To help with planning, we suggest the use of the scoping document. Below is a template to start with.

Resource – Open Text Scoping Template

Download and fill out the Open Text Scoping Template. The template includes the following considerations:

Open Text Summary

A summary of your open text. Please explain how the text came about and its importance. What do you hope this open text will achieve?

Team and Support

Who is leading the project? Who else is involved? Provide contact details (not necessarily personal) and guidance on where to direct different kinds of queries. Outline your teams’ different roles and responsibilities.

Course and Audience

What courses will this open text be used in? Identify both the primary student audience (academic level, discipline etc.) and any secondary audiences (instructors, researchers, professionals, and other interested parties).

Learning Outcomes

  • How might you use the open text to stimulate deeper, interactive learning? Open texts can include content such as quizzes, scenarios with decision trees, interactive environments, and video content that provides students with non-linear learning experiences and supports discovery pedagogies.
  • Use the learning outcomes from your Course Specification as a guide to the types of learning your students will experience. How does the open text support these outcomes? Remember that free and open access to learning materials can increase student engagement, achievement, retention, and progression when they support learning activities.
  • Open texts remain accessible after the semester, and after graduation. Students will retain access when you update and revise the text, so consider how the text supports professional needs as well. Will access to the text be professionally beneficial in future years?
  • In an ideal world, what would your students experience within this course? What types of learning would they encounter, and how would this learning affect them as both students and future professionals? An open text provides many affordances not found in other resources – this is your opportunity to transform your course experience.


Think about the teaching environments in which your open text will be used. Identify what materials you will need in addition to a core textbook or ancillary materials. You may want to list and link to items like a syllabus, assessments, lesson plans, teaching aids, etc. List these out below.

Will you be using existing OER to adapt or remix for your purposes? Scanning the OER landscape in your discipline will help decide how much content you will need to create in addition to what you can find among already existing materials.

Your Liaison Librarian can help you find OER and other suitable resources for your text.


  • Chapter structure: If you are creating an open text, how will it be structured? (e.g. 3 chapters to every part, student-facing text plus instructor handbook etc.).
  • Adapting/remixing: Will you be drawing on existing OER? In what ways?
  • Supplementary materials: What (if any) accompanying elements (e.g. instructor resources, presentations, quizzes, maps, data sets) will be produced or collected? If you are creating these, how would these be structured?
  • Inclusion, equity, diversity: What voices and representations will you want to use to help convey specific information in your OER? How will you embed the diverse perspectives?


Explain what licence the open text will have and why.

Peer Review Process

Think about who will peer review your open text. Contact them early in the publishing process. Peer review is required for all UniSQ open texts. You might also consider educators and researchers in your network who could write a foreword for your book too.

Measuring Impact and Success

  • How will you know you have been successful? At this stage, it is useful to describe what success looks like. It could be increased student engagement and achievement, or collaboration with colleagues. Hence, the text meets a specific need – each text defines success differently, but you need to consider this aspect in the planning phases.
  • What constitutes success, and how will you measure it?
  • Consider indicators along the production process like the number of participants, diversity of perspectives (geographic, cultural, social, etc.), feedback opportunities, number of adoptions etc.
  • Also, think about student success beyond traditional metrics of grades and focus on deeper learning measures. Do students feel joyful and empowered in the course?
    These do not have to be comprehensive but help to clarify what success means to your project, beyond just writing a text.


Provide an approximate timeline for the project. This doesn’t have to be comprehensive, or rigid, but an indicator of dates for major milestones (e.g. chapters submitted, editing complete, peer review complete, layout, accessibility review, initial release, classroom review, etc.). Factor in time for the final quality assurance check and approval to publish processes.

Chapter Attribution

This chapter has been adapted in parts from:


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Open Publishing Guide for Authors Copyright © 2023 by University of Southern Queensland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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