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Open Textbook Challenge: Peer Review Criteria

Peer reviewers will score submitted texts by chapter according to the following criteria[1]:

  1. Comprehensiveness – The submitted text must cover 100% of the topics in at least one course in the Saylor curricula.  Peer reviewers should use the applicant’s course mapping in order to determine whether a given chapter adequately covers the course’s progression of topics.  The text must also cover the listed topics with a sufficient degree of depth and granularity.
  2. Content Accuracy and Currency – Content must be accurate, error-free, unbiased, and up-to-date.
  3. Relevance/Longevity – Content should be up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time.  The text should be written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement on a yearly basis.
  4. Clarity – The text must be written in lucid, accessible prose, and should provide adequate context and glossing for any jargon/technical terminology used.
  5. Readership Level – The text must be written in a manner that is appropriate for community college and college students.  The tone and presentation of topics should be accessible to students at a college level.
  6. Consistency – The text must be internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework, and must also be consistent with the presentation of subjects in the Saylor course.  For example, does that text present a subject using different terms/keywords than does the course itself?  Does the text overlook or omit large aspects of the course’s presentation of an important topic?  Does the text maintain internal consistency, or does it use a variety of different keywords/terms to describe the same concept?
  7. Modularity – The text must be easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided).  The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
  8. Organization/Structure/Flow – The topics in the text must be presented in a logical, clear fashion consistent with or adaptable to the presentation of topics in the Saylor course.
  9. Interface – The text must be free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.
  10. Content Errors – The text should not contain any major content errors.  Any discovered errors should be identified clearly by the reviewer.
  11. Grammatical Errors – The text should contain few (if any) grammatical errors.
  12. Cultural Relevance – The text should not be culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.  It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
  13. Assignments/Problem Sets/Exercises – Preference will be given to texts that include assignments, problem sets, and other exercises.


[1] Please note that these criteria have been adapted from the peer review form developed and used by College Open Textbooks.