We’re Hiring: Rebus Reader Product Manager (CLOSED)

NOTE: This position has now been filled. Thanks for your interest, and keep an eye out for future opportunities at the Rebus Foundation.

The Rebus Foundation is a Montreal-based non-profit focused on tech, books, open education and open culture. We are looking for a Product Manager for a new software development project: “Rebus Reader: An Open Platform for Scholarly Reading.” The ideal candidate will have a minimum 3-5 years relevant experience (technology product management), to start a new role in July 2018 or soon after. The job is at the Rebus Foundation HQ, in Montreal. Salary is in the range of CDN$65,000-75,000.

About Rebus

We have two main projects:

  • Rebus Community, a collaboration platform that helps guide communities through the publishing process, with a focus on supporting open textbook/Open Educational Resource (OER) publishing.
  • Rebus Reader, an open source web platform for scholarly reading.

Rebus is born of an idealistic vision of the web, and we believe in increasing access to knowledge and education. We love books, and spend our time reimagining how books can be made and used in a web-connected, digital universe, then trying to build things to make these re-imaginings come true. We believe in the power of technology, done right, to do good things, and ultimately we believe in giving people more access to tools to help them build, share and interact with knowledge. We are driven by this broad set of values, and it’s important that new team members share our sense of purpose.

About the Project

We are looking for a Product Manager, whose mandate will be to help shape the development of a new open source software platform for digital scholarly reading. The project team will be small but focused, and will include two developers and a designer, as well as a marketing manager and the Executive Director of the Rebus Foundation. We may also have support from external design agencies. The clients for the software will include mainly academic libraries, and the end users are scholars and students, mainly in higher-education.

About You

We are looking for a very particular kind of person: most importantly, the product manager should be someone who is passionate about web technology and (digital) books, and who has had experience as a product manager or project manager on technology development projects and/or implementation. The product manager should have opinions, and be able to embrace, refine and drive a vision of new technology that makes reading better.

Among other things, the PM should:

  • Be comfortable with technology and web development
  • Have strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Be comfortable in an agile/scrum development environment
  • Have a good understanding of scholarly reading
  • Be able to work with potential clients (often academic librarians, CIOs) and end-users to solicit feedback
  • Be a self-starter, who can do the right things in a small team
  • Be familiar with the open source/free software ethos
  • Have experience in:
    • Project management
    • Product management

Ideally, you should also have an understanding of and/or experience with some of the following:

  • Books and/or publishing
  • Technology and/or start-ups
  • Open Access / OER / Open licensing
  • Academia / academic institutions
  • Libraries
  • Nonprofits / community-driven organisations
  • Online mass collaboration (e.g. Wikimedia)

Note: you should apply even if you don’t feel that your credentials are a 100% match with the position description. We are looking for relevant skills and experience, not a checklist that exactly matches the position itself.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Rebus is committed to building a diverse team, with people from a range of backgrounds. We believe that diverse teams help drive innovation. Equity, inclusion and diversity are core values for us, for the technologies we build and the communities we support. We strive to ensure that our team reflects these values. Our work environment is also supportive of those with family caregiving responsibilities.

Next steps

Please send an email to hi@rebus.foundation with the subject line “Product Manager”. We encourage you to apply by June 30th, 2018 for a tentative start date of August 1st, but are flexible on timing for the right person.

Please include your CV, links to relevant things, and an explanation of why you’d like to join us.

New Research from the Rebus Foundation: An Open Approach to Scholarly Reading and Knowledge Management

An Open Approach to Scholarly Reading and Knowledge Management report coverA little over a year ago, The Rebus Foundation embarked on a research and development project to prototype an open, web-based reading system, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Scholarly Communications program.

Our main goals with this project were to clearly identify and understand the different players involved in the publication, distribution, and consumption of scholarly monographs, and to explore how the Open Web could improve scholars’ access to, and interaction with, scholarly monographs. To achieve this, we developed a prototype for an open, web-based scholarly reading system, and in parallel began conducting in-depth interviews with librarians, university presses, and scholarly readers and researchers, and finally, organized an online survey on deep-reading for longform scholarly works.

Having now completed the project, we’ve summarized our findings in a public report and encourage you to take a read. The report is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license, and is available free on the web, and as PDF and EPUB download. Feedback is welcome.

While we set out with an (appropriately) open mind, we were particularly interested in existing tools and infrastructure that support “deep reading,” (that is, deliberate, critical, and reflective reading) and made that a focus of our inquiry.

Out of our interviews came some fascinating and invaluable insights into academic researcher workflows, readers’ needs, librarians’ frustrations with the current systems, and opportunities for scholarly publishers in the face of the changing economics of publishing monographs.

Highlights include:

  1. Scholarly readers are not just content consumers; scholarly reading is an act of creation as well. Reading and writing are inseparable.
  2. Publishers and aggregators lack strong incentivizes to create better tools to support scholarly reading.
  3. Scholars largely resort to unique combinations tools and processes to manage their reading and collections of texts.
  4. Multiple parties have concerns over the ways in which digital rights management (DRM) and closed platforms hinder reading, annotation, and other interaction with scholarly texts.
  5. All parties expressed interest in more interoperability between tools and formats.

Overall, what emerged during our research was a clear desire for open and flexible tools for reading and interacting with texts. It is this need that the Rebus Foundation is working to address as we hope to turn our prototype into a fully functioning, open platform for scholarly reading and collection management.

To find out more about publisher, librarian, and reader perspectives, and Rebus’ proposed approach to an open scholarly reading system, read the complete report on the Rebus Press.

We’d like to express our deepest thanks to all those who participated in our research, and to Don Waters and his team at the Mellon Foundation for their support.

Rebus Open Projects Move Forward 

First edition of Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship Open Textbook Available for Adoption!

The first edition of Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship is now available for spring 2018 adoption! The book is available free in various digital formats on the book’s homepage, and will be available in print-on-demand in December 2017. Lead editors Michelle Ferrier of Ohio University and Elizabeth Mays of the Rebus Community and Arizona State University worked with a large community of practice teaching the subject (20+ authors, 10 peer reviewers, 12 beta testers and an even larger community of open reviewers) to build the resource, which was tested in classrooms and received student feedback in Fall 2017. If you know anyone who teaches media innovation, journalism entrepreneurship, or business of journalism, please encourage them to take a look. Editors will continue to incorporate beta testing and other feedback into the book on an ongoing basis, and a second version, with additional chapters and sidebars, will be made available in Spring 2018.

This book has also been entered in the prestigious AEJMC Tankard Award competition, so watch this space!

Seeking Your Input on Accessibility Strategy Development

The Rebus Community is committed to accessibility in all the open textbook projects it supports. For us, open means inclusive, and accessibility is key to that. As part of our accessibility efforts, we have established a working group of experts to help us develop a comprehensive approach to ensuring our open textbooks meet the highest standards possible. As a first step, the working group conducted a review on a sample open textbook, which stood as a test case for typical accessibility problems. The results of that review have now been summarized in our accessibility strategy development document and have informed several recommendations for further action. We invite you to comment on this document by December 1. We will then incorporate feedback and release a public version of the accessibility strategy around December 15.

Thanks for Taking our Digital Reading Survey!

We’ve had more than 100 responses from librarians, faculty, publishers, instructional designers, and students to our survey on academic monographs. Thanks to all of you who participated! We are distilling the responses now, in preparation to release a public report of our findings, which will be available on the Rebus Foundation website in January 2018. If you would like to receive a copy of the report, please let us know.

Rebus Represents Open

Rebus Community staff have had a presence at a variety of open events this year. Here are some of the highlights: 

  • Open Education Conference: Hugh attended this year’s Open Ed conference in Anaheim, where he spoke about open textbooks, open collaboration, and what the Rebus Community has learned so far.
  • OpenCon 2017: Zoe Wake Hyde represented Rebus at OpenCon in Berlin, a conference for the next generation of leaders in the Open movement. Highlights were an “unconference” session on making open textbooks, which attracted conference attendees ranging from experienced to those just dipping their toes into OER. One of the highlights was an exceptional panel on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Open Research and Open Education. Zoe highly recommends watching the panel video.
  • Accessibility Roundtable at UC Berkeley: Zoe also participated in an accessibility roundtable co-sponsored by Authors Alliance, the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (BCLT), and Silicon Flatirons. Invited attendees discussed the challenges of creating accessible content and authoring tools and the importance of those to the full participation in the digital realm. A white paper expanding on the discussion will be published in the coming months.
  • W3C Publishing Working Group: Baldur Bjarnasson has been involved in the W3C Publishing Working Group over the past year. The group is looking at the vision and technical challenges in implementing web publications on the open web.

Do you know of an event in 2018 that we should be at? Please let us know.

Like what we’re doing? Please get in touch if you’ve got any ideas, feedback or thoughts for us!

Please Take This Survey, Part of our Mellon-Funded Research on Digital Reading Experiences


As part of the grant we were awarded by the Mellon Foundation to research and prototype a reader-focused ‘open web-books’ ecosystem for scholarly monographs, we are conducting a survey on “deep reading” experiences of longform scholarly works. If you’re an instructor, librarian, graduate student, or frequent reader of academic monographs, please complete our survey.


This survey will help us to better understand the benefits and limitations of current digital reading experiences, and help us think about what they could be.

It contains questions on:

  • Print and digital reading habits
  • Tools and methods employed to manage research materials, notes and annotations, and citations
  • Constraints and limitations of existing tools for managing collections, sharing notes, and more.

Survey results will inform our recommendations towards an open web-based ecosystem for longform deep reading.

The survey closes on Nov. 1 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

We will compile and summarize the findings from our research in a public report available on the Rebus Foundation website in January 2018.

If you’re an active reader of monographs for your research or other scholarly work, please take the survey or share it with faculty, librarians, and graduate students in your network.

Update: Pilot Open Textbook Projects 

Please Take This Survey, Part of our Mellon-Funded Research on Digital Reading Experiences

As part of our Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded research project to prototype an open, web-based reading system, we are conducting a survey on “deep reading” experiences of longform works, like scholarly monographs. This survey will help us to better understand the benefits and limitations of current digital reading experiences and help us think about what they could be. We will summarize the findings in a public report available on the Rebus Foundation website in January 2018. If you’re an active reader of monographs for your research or other scholarly work, please take the survey and share with faculty, librarians, and graduate students in your network. The survey closes on Nov. 1 at 11:59pm EST.

Rebus Community Pilot Open Textbook Projects Launch 

It’s been almost a year since we launched the Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation. In that time, we’ve taken on 18 active pilot open textbook projects, some of which are starting to appear in classrooms. So far, three pilot open textbook projects Rebus has supported have either officially launched or entered a beta testing period.

  • Financial Strategy for Public Managers, led by Justin Marlowe and Sharon Kioko at University of Washington, is complete and will be used in classrooms starting this Fall! The book is free and openly available in web, PDF, ebook, and other formats from the book homepage. This is the first book we’ve assisted with getting into print-on-demand (POD), and it is also available on Amazon, where it was the No. 1 new release in Government Accounting for its first several weeks. 
  • This Fall, nine instructors and their students are expanding theAntología abierta de literatura hispana (Open Anthology of Hispanic Literature, AALH) by implementing a critical edition assignment in their classrooms. The AALH is a collection of public-domain texts from the Hispanic world, with critical introductions and annotations in Spanish by undergraduate students in Julie Ward’s Introduction to Hispanic Literature and Culture course at the University of Oklahoma. Rebus supported the development of an implementation guide for instructors who wish to replicate the assignment, and also helped find faculty collaborators.
  • The Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship open textbook, led by Michelle Ferrier at Ohio University and Elizabeth Mays of the Rebus Community and Arizona State University, is now in public beta testing and open review. The project leads are collecting feedback and implementing revisions to prepare for an official release in January 2018.  

Do you know someone who would like to adopt these initial projects, or help to expand them? Please put us in touch! Another 15 projects are still in progress, with several others also nearing release. You can view all our active projects on the Rebus Community Forum.

Coming Soon: Rebus Projects 

Our work with the projects above is informing the development of software that will enable collaborative open textbook creation. We’ll be launching version 0 of Rebus Projects soon. Stay tuned!

New Resource from the Rebus Community: A Guide to Making Open Textbooks With Students

As we build a new, collaborative model for open textbook publishing, one of our goals is to make the process of creating or contributing to an open textbook easier. To that end, we collaborated with faculty and student pioneers in open education to develop a Guide to Making Open Textbooks With Students. This resource contains essays from open pedagogy practitioners including Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani; first-person accounts and interviews with students and faculty engaged in open textbook projects; assignments and project ideas; and resources such as a guide to CC licensing and MOU for students and faculty. Student participation in creating open textbooks is an exciting and emerging field, and we hope this resource will help to support both students and instructors as they branch out and start to explore the possibilities. Please share the guide with your networks!

Like what we’re doing? Please get in touch if you’ve got any ideas, feedback or thoughts for us!

Rebus Community Facilitates Open Textbook Creation with 12 New Pilot Projects

The Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation, a major initiative of the Rebus Foundation, has announced its first 12 open textbook projects.

These open textbook projects will receive support from Rebus Community in the form of project management; help finding collaborators including authors, editors and proofreaders; peer review coordination, and support for design and formatting; as well as help getting the books into classrooms and libraries. This initial batch of projects will be used to develop transparent processes, software and tools to support the publishing open textbooks.

The Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation, a Canadian non-profit initiative funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is working with open textbook creators around the world to build a new, collaborative model for open textbook publishing.

“We’re building a whole new approach to the creation of educational materials,” said Rebus co-founder Hugh McGuire, who previously founded the open content project Librivox.org, an online collaboration initiative that has produced the world’s largest collection of free public domain audiobooks.

The Rebus Community plans to help publish many new, high-quality open textbooks that can be freely used and remixed by students and educators worldwide.

The first 12 open textbooks being collaboratively created by the Rebus Community are:

“Working on open textbooks provides an opportunity for individual creators to leverage open design principles, but even the most experienced of us can benefit from a shared infrastructure and guiding documentation,” said Billy Meinke, an OER technologist at the University of Hawaii who is participating in Rebus projects. “The Rebus project is connecting a network of creators and helping catalyze ideas around collaborative OER content development.

The Rebus Community is a project of The Rebus Foundation, a Canadian not-for-profit organization with a mission to build new models and technology for open book publishing and reading on the web. The foundation was created in August. Its work on open textbooks is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leaders in supporting Open Education initiatives.

About the open textbooks in process:

Introduction to Philosophy With Christina Hendricks, professor of teaching at University of British Columbia as lead author, this text will be built for first-year (college or university) students taking introductory survey courses in philosophy, and will touch on the foundational ideas in philosophical inquiry. The book will cover core concepts in Western philosophy as well as other traditions.

The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature (2nd Edition) The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature was initially created by open textbook practitioner Robin de Rosa, chair of interdisciplinary studies at University of New Hampshire (Plymouth). Working with students, she collected public domain texts and created a narrative to form the beginnings of a new, definitive anthology of Early American Literature. Lead editor Tim Robbins of Graceland University will manage the development of the book’s second edition.

The Science of Human Nutrition This project, managed by Billy Meinke at University of Hawaii at Manoa, will be used for high-enrollment undergraduate courses in the Food Science and Human Nutrition. It will cover elementary aspects of several biological sciences and nutrition issues of current interest.

Planning and Implementing a Digital Humanities Project Sarah Ketchley, University of Washington, is the lead author for this project, which will offer clear guidelines and best practices for planning and implementing a digital humanities project, following the workflow from initial planning stages through to completion.

Literature Reviews for Education and Nursing Graduate Students Led by Linda Frederiksen, head of access services at  Washington State University Vancouver, this open textbook is designed for students in graduate-level nursing and education programs. From developing a research question to locating and evaluating sources to writing a sample literature review using appropriate publication guidelines, readers will be guided through the process.

Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship Dr. Michelle Ferrier at Ohio University and Elizabeth Mays of Arizona State University are the lead editors behind this open textbook that includes activities, ancillary materials and faculty resources on media innovation. The text is designed to be a valuable resource for use in media entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial journalism courses across the globe.

History of Applied Science and Technology A joint project of lead editors at the University of Maryland University College and University of North Dakota with support from The Digital Press at UND, this textbook is designed to meet the needs of History of Applied Science and Technology courses at colleges and universities around the world. Led by UMUC history capstone course chair Danielle Skjelver, the book’s central theme is the transformative impact of technological and epistemological changes on worldview and human behavior.

Ancillary Materials for Principles of Social Psychology Under the leadership of Rajiv Jhangiani at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, this project primarily involves bringing together social psychologists to develop ancillary resources to support Principles of Social Psychology. The book already has large adoptions at UBC, Ohio State, and a few other smaller institutions (including KPU). The ancillaries might include a question bank, powerpoint slides, and an activity manual.

Foundations of Biology Led by a team of authors at Greenfield Community College, this project will involve merging two existing texts–OpenStax Biology and OpenStax Concepts of Biology–to create a version suitable for the mixed levels of students that are taught in a community college setting.

Global Regions: World Regional Geography for a Globalizing World Distinguished Professor of Geography Kris Olds of University Wisconsin-Madison is lead author on this book, which will take a contemporary approach to teaching geography, engaging students with rich visuals and moving away from the traditional encyclopedia format.

Financial Strategy for Public Managers Justin Marlowe at University of Washington is the lead author of this text designed for students in Master of Public Administration programs. It could serve as the core text for a comprehensive introductory graduate or advanced undergraduate course on public financial management. It could also complement university courses or continuing professional education on public finance, public budgeting, tax policy, and nonprofit finance.

Author Guide Melissa Falldin & Karen Lauritsen at University of Minnesota are compiling a guide for authors or project managers/librarians working with faculty authors who want to write an open textbook. Content will cover author intake processes, timeline development, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and useful tools.

Each of these textbook projects is in need of cross-disciplinary contributors, including writers, editors, peer reviewers, image and formatting wranglers and more. To get involved or learn about current project needs, join The Rebus Community at forum.rebus.community.

Rebus Foundation awarded grant from the Mellon Foundation for prototyping a reader-focused ‘open webbooks’ ecosystem for scholarly monographs

MONTREAL – Feb. 7, 2017 – The Rebus Foundation will research and prototype an open, Web-based scholarly reading system, supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The US$75,000, one-year grant will enable a team to focus on an open webbook ecosystem that prioritizes the needs of scholarly readers.

“Close scholarly reading of texts requires readers to process multiple sources, to understand and link complex concepts, and eventually to synthesize knowledge into new scholarly works,” said Hugh McGuire, co-founder and executive director of the Rebus Foundation, who previously founded the open content project Librivox.org and the open-source software Pressbooks. “However, most digital reading environments, whether PDFs or ebooks in ebook reading software, are limited and constrained. We want to open up what ‘deep’ reading can mean, to take full advantage of the web, both in terms of technology and its culture of innovation.”

Through the grant, McGuire and Rebus co-founder & strategic director Boris Anthony will conduct in-depth research to better understand the needs of scholarly monograph readers and develop outlines and prototypes of a webbook reader for long-form deep reading.

“The objective is to figure out an ecosystem—from creation, through publication, to deep reading and annotation—that is fully native to the web, unlike current ebooks,” said Anthony. “We seek an approach that allows readers to more deeply engage with books and the knowledge they contain. We are doing this because we believe books are foundational to open knowledge and free societies.”

The results of the work will be published under open licenses.

The Rebus Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit organization, established in April 2016, with a mission to build new models and technology for open book publishing, collecting and reading on the web. The foundation was generously funded in August 2016 with a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leaders in supporting Open Education initiatives.

Rebus Foundation Launches Rebus Community

The Rebus Foundation has launched its first project, The Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation.

The Rebus Community will build a new, collaborative model for open textbook publishing.

Its mission is to publish many new, high-quality CC-BY-licensed open textbooks that can be freely used and remixed by educators worldwide. In addition, the community will provide support for university administrators launching open textbook publishing programs and faculty wanting to publish open textbooks.

The Rebus Community will:

  • Build a global, connected network of Open Textbook creators;
  • Develop an Open Textbook publishing process in response to the needs of this community; and
  • Develop software and tools to support the processes of publishing Open Textbooks.

“There are many processes that go into creating an open textbook, and the Rebus Community will figure out what open textbook creators need and how to crowdsource those activities in the open education context,” said co-founder Hugh McGuire, who previously founded book-related ventures including Librivox, a mass web collaboration project that produced the world’s largest collection of public domain audiobooks.

Anyone interested in making open textbooks or contributing to open textbook development and adoption can join the Rebus Community at https://forum.rebus.community. Rebus Community members making CC BY-licensed open textbooks can also get access to the Rebus Community Press, a software platform for formatting open textbooks powered by Pressbooks.

For more information about the Rebus Community, visit About.Rebus.Community.

The Rebus Community is a project of The Rebus Foundation, a Canadian not-for-profit organization with a mission to build new models and technology for open book publishing and reading on the web. The foundation was created in August and is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leaders in supporting Open Education initiatives.