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Category Archives: Open Licensing

Announcing Open Textbook: Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance

The University Libraries at Virginia Tech in collaboration with Dr. James F. Marchman, III, Emeritus Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Virginia Tech are pleased to announce publication of open textbook, Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd edition. 

Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd edition is a 236-page introduction to aircraft aerodynamics and performance. The objective of this text is to provide a “stand alone” coverage of basic, subsonic, aircraft performance preceded by an introduction to the basics of aerodynamics that will provide a background sufficient to the understanding of the subjects to be studied in aircraft performance. This text is designed for a course in Aircraft Performance that is taught before students take courses in fluid mechanics, fluid dynamics, or aerodynamics and is meant to provide the essential information from these types of courses that is needed for teaching basic subsonic aircraft performance, and it is assumed that the students will learn the full story of aerodynamics in other, later courses.

Cover credit: Kindred Grey

Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction to Aerodynamics
Chapter 2. Propulsion
Chapter 3. Additional Aerodynamics Tools
Chapter 4. Performance in Straight and Level Fight
Chapter 5. Altitude Change: Climb and Guide
Chapter 6. Range and Endurance
Chapter 7. Accelerated Performance: Takeoff and Landing
Chapter 8. Accelerated Performance: Turns
Chapter 9. The Role of Performance in Aircraft Design: Constraint Analysis
Appendix A: Airfoil Data

Free Access to Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance, 3rd edition
A full table of contents, downloadable versions of this book (PDF and ePub), and additional information are freely available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10919/96525. An accessible, online version of this book is also available via the Pressbooks platform at https://pressbooks.lib.vt.edu/aerodynamics. Print on demand versions may be ordered with a variety of binding options from https://www.printme1.com/preview/681a017ca

Instructors reviewing, adopting, or adapting parts or the whole of the text are requested to register their interest at: https://bit.ly/aerodynamics_interest. 

Creative commons attribution 4.0 license

Unless otherwise noted, the text and figures are released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license which allows adaptation and redistribution with attribution. See the license terms and best practices for attribution for additional information.

Audience This college undergraduate-level text requires prior introduction to the most fundamental concepts of statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and basic conservation laws which are usually covered in a university level Physics sequence. It is also assumed that students will have completed first-year university level calculus sequence plus a course in multivariable calculus. Separate courses in engineering statics and dynamics are helpful but not necessary. Any student who takes a course using this text after completing courses in aerodynamics or fluid dynamics should find the chapters of this book covering those subjects an interesting review of the material.

Developing Custom Version(s) in Community Instructors and subject matter experts interested in forming collaborative efforts to develop and share their own version(s) of the material are requested to join the project-update conversation on the Rebus Foundation open-textbooks-in-development website.

Suggested citation: Marchman, James, III. (2021). Aerodynamics and Aircraft Performance. Blacksburg: VA: University Libraries at Virginia Tech. http://hdl.handle.net/10919/96525 CC BY 4.0.

About the Author: Dr. James F. Marchman, III is Professor Emeritus of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and a former Associate Dean of Engineering at Virginia Tech where he taught and conducted research in aerodynamics, aircraft performance, aircraft design and other areas over a 40 year career. His textbook, Aircraft Design Projects For Engineering Students, coauthored by Professor Lloyd R. Jenkinson of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, [Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003] has been used by students around the world.

Cover art:

  • The Centuria is a design for a lightweight general aviation four-place aircraft created by Virginia Tech and Loughborough University Aerospace Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering, or Aeronautical Engineering students. Used with permission. Courtesy of Dr. Marchman.
  • Cloud background by Alan Levine. Public Domain. Retrieved and adapted from https://flic.kr/p/7QbtmU.

Instructors reviewing, adopting, or adapting parts or the whole of the text are requested to register their interest at: https://bit.ly/aerodynamics_interest.

We hope it takes off!

Announcing open textbook “Introduction to Biosystems Engineering”

– Contributed by Ann Brown

In February 2021, The University Libraries’ Virginia Tech Publishing and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) published “Introduction to Biosystems Engineering” an open textbook for university-level introductory courses in biosystems engineering.

Written by an international team of authors, this is the first open textbook published as part of the University Libraries’ membership in the Open Education Network Publishing Cooperative. It also marks the first time that Virginia Tech Publishing has partnered with an international professional association to publish an open textbook.

For many college students, the cost of textbooks can be an insurmountable challenge. Thanks to the open textbook movement, which focuses on the creation and use of books that are openly licensed, free, and editable, students are increasingly  able to obtain high-quality educational resources at no cost. The University Libraries at Virginia Tech is committed to the open education movement and is engaged in creating and promoting open textbooks and other open educational resources with Virginia Tech faculty authors. Since 2016, the library and Virginia Tech Publishing have published 10 open textbooks.

“Course materials have become quite expensive. Many students are already priced out of being able to afford to purchase and retain certain course materials and have to navigate decisions regarding whether or not they will even try to access course material. This directly affects student learning” said Anita Walz, University Libraries’ assistant director for open education and scholarly communication librarian. “Also, open educational resources are customizable, so instructors have permission to add additional worked examples or change the sequence of a text to better fit the course.”

Creative commons attribution 4.0 license

Introduction to Biosystems Engineering” is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) and is available both in print and online. The online version is freely downloadable either as a complete work or as stand-alone chapters. In addition, a parallel resource in development, The Biosystems Engineering Digital Library (BEDL), will provide more teaching and learning resources instructors can use in the classroom.

ASABE Director of Publications Joseph C. Walker said “Introduction to Biosystems Engineering will help define the profession and support the organization’s goal of raising the global prominence of the agricultural and biological engineering profession.”

He said it was important for his organization to make this book freely available through open publishing.

“Making the text freely available will provide savings to the students and ensure wider usage, including in non-U.S. countries. With a broad user-base, open access, and ongoing development, the text will stay relevant to the profession and be widely used,” said Walker. “We look forward to the textbook possibly spurring other related projects and advancing the field of study.”

ASABE President (2019-20) Sue Nokes emphasized that this text “is not a traditional, static object, but a living digital resource to be expanded by educators, researchers, and practitioners with additional topics and developments in this vibrant subject. We look forward to new chapters from biosystems engineers around the world to increase the breadth and depth of coverage.”

ASABE past-president Mary Leigh Wolfe, Virginia Tech professor and former head of Virginia Tech’s Biological Systems Engineering department, was one of the project’s initiators. She served as one of the four editors of the text along with Nick Holden and Enda Cummins, professors of biosystems and food engineering at University College Dublin, Ireland, and Jactone Ogejo, Virginia Tech associate professor of biological systems engineering. The four editors share a vision of open access and internalization of their discipline. ASABE and Virginia Tech Publishing have brought that vision to fruition. Wolfe said this book is important because of its global perspective.

“Having authors from around the world helps reinforce the relevance and global impact of our discipline,” said Wolfe. “It is important for students to recognize both the differences and similarities of the focus areas of our discipline around the world.”

Holden said he and his fellow textbook editors worked with chapter authors to ensure a global focus throughout the book.

“Experts always like to share their knowledge so there is a temptation to write about too much, in their specific context, and at too advanced a level,” said Holden. “Our biggest challenge was to reign in this exuberance to make each chapter accessible to a beginner. It has worked really well and will continue to as the content evolves with time. We are already working on new chapters.”

The textbook is divided into six sections aligned with technical communities within biosystems engineering: energy systems; information technology, sensors, and control systems; machinery systems; natural resources and environmental systems; plant, animal, and facility systems; and processing systems. Within the sections, chapters focus on topics that can be covered in one week of class and include learning outcomes, key concepts, applications of concepts, and worked examples.

“I’m particularly proud of the planned structure of each chapter. I hope others can take from this model,” said Holden. “I also hope that the book introduces more biosystems engineers to the idea of open textbooks, as I do not think the idea is prevalent in the community.”

Cummins and Ogejo also emphasized the importance of making the textbook freely available.

“Education should have no bounds, including costs,” said Cummins. “An open textbook will ensure dissemination and equal opportunities for all interested parties to learn from this resource.”

“Access is key,” said Ogejo. “The availability and access to the internet globally to do business (commerce, trade, etc.) is on the rise. Leveraging these experiences to provide access to education materials for college students will provide a lot of benefit, especially to the economically disadvantaged communities.”

Wolfe is also passionate about providing current publications to all people.

“Cost prevents many people from having access to current publications. Instead they often receive outdated materials,” said Wolfe. “I hope that biosystems engineering programs and students around the world will download individual chapters and the book and find that it is helpful to them. I hope others in education will see that free resources are used widely and they help with providing equitable education for students in all parts of the world and within all programs.”

This is only the beginning. The editors see “Introduction to Biosystems Engineering” as a dynamic textbook that will grow and evolve over the next five years while simultaneously extending its global impact.

“In five years’ time, I would like to see two things happening. Firstly, I would like to see another two volumes, 50 additional chapters, published and freely available online. This will make the resource hugely valuable for educators around the world,” said Holden. “Secondly, I would like to see topic-specific textbooks being written using the same structured approach. I think it will work very well for both edited compilations and authored textbooks, as it helps organize thinking and makes learning much easier.”

“I hope to be able to say that the chapters are being used in programs around the world, as evidenced by download statistics and testimonials by users,” said Wolfe, “and that new chapters have been added continuously since the beginning.”

Cover design: Robert Browder

Contributed by Ann Brown. Originally published on February 8, 2021 as “Virginia Tech Publishing partners with international association to publish engineering open textbook.” Ann Brown is Director of Strategic Communications for the University Libraries at Virginia Tech.

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Note from the Managing Editor: Instructors evaluating, adopting, or customizing this book are asked to self-report their use on this form. This helps the editorial team to better understand the impact of the book.

Announcing open textbook Strategic Management

Strategic Management textbook cover

Blog written by Anita Walz, with Sarah Mease.

Strategic Management (2020) is a 343-page open textbook designed to introduce key topics and themes of strategic management to undergraduate students in a senior capstone course. The book is published by Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business in association with Virginia Tech Publishing. It is adapted by Reed Kennedy with Eli Jamison, Joseph Simpson, Pankaj Kumar, Ayenda Kemp, and Kiran Awate — all faculty of the Pamplin College of Business — and recent Pamplin graduate, Kathleen Manning. The work was deeply adapted from an existing open textbook. This project was made possible in part with support from the Pamplin College of Business and the Open Education Initiative at the University Libraries.

The text is ideal for courses which focus on how organizations operate at the strategic level to be successful. Strategic Management illustrates the different management strategies used by firms today. It illustrates these strategies through examples of familiar companies and current personalities, and discusses strategy implementation. The text is applicable to students in a wide variety of business majors such as marketing, management, accounting, finance, real estate, and more. Using this material, students will learn how to conduct case analyses, measure organizational performance, and conduct external and internal analyses.

Accessing this Book

This textbook is openly licensed and freely available electronically and at cost in print:

In addition, Strategic Management is indexed in OER Commons, Merlot, and the Open Textbook Library.

Additional Features of the book: 

How to Adopt this Book

Instructors reviewing, adopting, or adapting this textbook are encouraged to register their use at: http://bit.ly/strategy-interest.

About the Contributors

Reed B. Kennedy is an Associate Professor of Management Practice in the Management Department, Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech where he teaches management courses. He began his career as a naval officer before entering his primary career in healthcare administration, where he served in senior executive roles in various hospitals for over 20 years. He then worked as a business consultant for the Small Business Development Center for the New River Valley at Radford University. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Masters of Healthcare Administration from Medical College of Virginia / Virginia Commonwealth University, a Masters in Public Health and a Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development from Virginia Tech. Reed served as the chief textbook reviser on this project. He worked with the contributor and editorial teams from project start to completion.

Other Contributors from Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech
Eli Jamison, Assistant Professor of Practice
Joseph Simpson, Colleagiate Assistant Professor
Pankaj Kumar, Assistant Professor
Ayenda Kemp, Assistant Professor
Kiran Awate, Assistant Professor
Kathleen (Katie) Manning, recent Pamplin graduate, and Research and Editorial Assistant

Editorial and Production Teams at the University Libraries at Virginia Tech
Grace Baggett, Copyeditor
Robert Browder, Digital Publishing Specialist
Kindred Grey, Design Specialist
Lauren Holt, Copyeditor
Kathleen (Katie) Manning, Research and Editorial Assistant
Anita Walz, Managing Editor

Book Review: Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians

Book cover for Creative Commons for Educators and LibrariansCreative Commons. Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians (Chicago: ALA Editions, 2020).

The recently issued Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians serves as the companion for the Creative Commons Certificate course (which I have not taken). At five chapters and 130 pages, it seems slight, but is always thorough and dense with references to additional resources (which are themselves annotated with Hypothes.is on the certificate website). Whether one is pursuing the certificate or not, this book is an excellent guide to understanding and using Creative Commons licenses.

Creative Commons (CC) is a set of copyright licenses, a nonprofit organization, and a movement (CC Global Network). CC got its start in 2001 as a response to the 20-year copyright extension passed by the U.S. Congress in 1998 (changing copyright to last the life of the author plus 70 years). Today CC licenses are international and used on 1.6 billion works on 9 million websites.

So what are Creative Commons licenses?

CC licenses are legal tools that function as an alternative for creators who choose to share their works with the public under more permissive terms than the default “all rights reserved” approach under copyright. (p. 7)

Creative Commons licenses give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a clear, standardized way to grant permission to others to use their creative work. From the reuser’s perspective, the presence of a Creative Commons license answers the question, “What can I do with this?” and provides the freedom to reuse the work of others, subject to clearly defined conditions. All CC licenses ensure that creators retain their copyright and get credit for their work, while still permitting others to copy and distribute it. (p. 39)

To be clear, CC licenses are not an alternative to copyright (in the either/or sense), but are used with copyright, and are actually dependent upon it. Creative Commons licenses are intended for copyrightable works (text, image, sound, even 3D models), but are not appropriate for software, which has its own set of tailored licenses, and are generally not recommended for data (instead, CC0 or the Open Database License can be used).

The basics of using the licenses are covered well in the book, such as how to apply a CC license to your own work, and how to attribute the CC-licensed work of others. For your own work, you can use the license chooser, which determines a license based on how you respond to a couple of brief questions. Once you have decided on a license, you can mark your work with it, preferably by linking, or writing it out if the work is offline. Issues such as what to do if you change your mind, or find your work used in an objectionable way, are also covered. Everyone who uses CC-licensed works should familiarize themselves with the best practices for attribution and use automated tools whenever possible.

A long-time issue with CC licenses is the meaning of “noncommercial,” which the book clarifies:

It is important to note that CC’s definition of NC depends on the use, not the user. If you are a nonprofit or charitable organization, your use of an NC-licensed work could still run afoul of the NC restriction, and if you are a for-profit entity, your use of an NC-licensed work does not necessarily mean you have violated the license terms. (p. 51)

Creative Commons has a NC interpretation page for those who would like to explore all of the details. The NonCommercial stipulation has been the subject of the few court cases about CC licenses, including a recent case that was decided after the book was published. The good news is that the courts have always accepted and enforced CC licenses. A related question that comes up is whether CC-licensed works can be sold. The book itself is a good example; while freely available in PDF, the print version is for sale. This model is increasingly being used to publish scholarly books, such as those in the TOME project (of which Virginia Tech is a participant).

The public domain mark and the public domain dedication (CC0) are not licenses but describe the legal status of a work. The book helpfully lists the four ways that works enter the public domain (p. 27): the copyright expires; the work is not eligible for copyright; the creator dedicated the work to the public domain through the CC0 tool; or the copyright holder did not comply with registration formalities at the time (today copyright is automatic). Though not required, CC recommends attribution for these works as a community norm in their Public Domain guidelines. Finding public domain content is facilitated by the CC Search tool, which was also made available in a browser extension shortly after the book was released.

The book’s final chapter, which covers open access (OA) and open educational resources (OER), is a mixed bag.  The section on OA sometimes lacks clarity and includes a few puzzling statements.  For example, we learn that only “some” articles that pass peer review are published by the journal (p. 94), and that under funder open access policies, “researchers must retain their copyrights” (p. 96), which is not how the policies of U.S. funding agencies work. Nor do all open access journals use “liberal” licenses such as CC BY (though some funders may require it). In general, the OA section is a bit confusing in places, and would have been more effective if OA publishing and OA archiving had been introduced early on and clearly differentiated.

Fortunately, the section on open education and OER is stronger. The advantages of OER over proprietary, temporary online access to learning resources are described well, as are the compatible licenses (CC BY is recommended; the ND licenses are not OER since they prevent editing) and the “5R permissions” they make possible (retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute). Tips on finding and evaluating OER are outlined, as is the importance of sharing an editable, accessible version of the work.

Although I have been familiar with CC licenses for several years, both creating and using works with the licenses, I learned more than I expected from this book. Moral rights (for example, the rights to be identified as the author of the work and to protect the work’s integrity) exist in many countries, and continue indefinitely even after a work is in the public domain. Because CC licenses only address the copyright of a work, they have no effect on moral rights and other related rights. While U.S. fair use is evaluated according to a 4-factor test, I learned that the Berne Convention, which standardizes copyright law internationally, also accommodates fair use under a 3-step test. And it was surprising to learn that not all countries allow creators to waive copyright by making a CC0 (“No rights reserved”) public domain dedication.

Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians is filled with so many links to additional resources that most readers will benefit from using the PDF version over the print version.  Even so, there are several links that don’t resolve properly because they are either partially linked or they span two lines. While this problem is relatively easily remedied by the reader, another issue runs deeper. The abundance of links in this book likely means that some will be “404” in a year or three from now. I always wonder about YouTube links as well, since Google can choose to do anything it likes with those videos, including deleting them. Preservation, including web archiving, is often overlooked yet is essential to openness.

Creative Commons licenses are a brilliant idea and an excellent fit for academia, where sharing knowledge and receiving credit are far more important than making a profit from one’s work. Hopefully guides like this one will encourage more teachers and researchers to use CC licenses on their works and enable truly efficient knowledge sharing.

Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians is licensed CC BY 4.0 and can be downloaded in PDF, or checked out from Newman Library, or purchased in print at the ALA store. Neither the book nor this blog post constitute legal advice.

Announcing: Electromagnetics, Volume 2 by Ellingson

Cover for Electromagnetics Volume 2

COVER DESIGN: ROBERT BROWDER; COVER IMAGE: (C) MICHELLE YOST. TOTAL INTERNAL REFLECTION (COLOR ADJUSTED AND CROPPED BY ROBERT BROWDER) IS LICENSED CC BY-SA 2.0

The University Libraries at Virginia Tech is pleased to announce publication of Electromagnetics, volume 2 from the Steven W. Ellingson and the Open Electromagnetics Project at Virginia Tech.

Electromagnetics, volume 2 by Steven W. Ellingson is a 216-page peer-reviewed open textbook designed especially for electrical engineering students in the third year of a bachelor of science degree program. It is intended to follow Electromagnetics, volume 1 as the primary textbook for the second semester of a two-semester undergraduate engineering electromagnetics sequence. 

The book and its accompanying ancillary materials  (problem sets, solution manual, LaTeX source files, and slides of figures used in the book) are open educational resources: freely available and openly licensed (CC BY SA 4.0). Freely downloadable versions are available at https://doi.org/10.21061/electromagnetics-vol-2. A softcover print version is available via Amazon. A screen-reader friendly/accessible version will be available in late January 2020.

Focus of the bookThe book addresses magnetic force and the Biot-Savart law; general and lossy media; parallel plate and rectangular waveguides; parallel wire, microstrip, and coaxial transmission lines; AC current flow and skin depth; reflection and transmission at planar boundaries; fields in parallel plate, parallel wire, and microstrip transmission lines; optical fiber; and radiation and antennas.

Publication of this book was made possible in part by the University Libraries at Virginia  Tech’s Open Education Faculty Initiative Grant program and by collaboration with Virginia Tech Publishing, the scholarly publishing hub of Virginia Tech.

Suggested citation: Ellingson, Steven W. (2020) Electromagnetics, Vol. 2. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech Publishing. https://doi.org/10.21061/electromagnetics-vol-2 CC BY-SA 4.0

About the author: Steven W. Ellingson (ellingson@vt.edu) is Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia in the United States. He received PhD and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Ohio State University and a BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Clarkson University. He was employed by the US Army, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Raytheon, and the Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory before joining the faculty of Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in electromagnetics, radio frequency systems, wireless communications, and signal processing. His research includes topics in wireless communications, radio science, and radio frequency instrumentation. Ellingson serves as a consultant to industry and government and is the author of Radio Systems Engineering (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

A September 2018 blog post regarding Volume 1 of this series is available here

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