New to the Sheffield Pressbooks Network: Introducing Mathematical Biology by Dr Alex Best

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new open textbook on the Sheffield Pressbooks Network.

The Front cover of Dr Alex Best's book Introducing Mathematical Biology

Introducing Mathematical Biology has been authored by Dr Alex Best, Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield. The book is free to read online or download and is published with a Creative Commons CC-BY Licence.

Mathematical modelling plays an increasingly important role in life sciences, and this interactive textbook explores the areas of population ecology, infectious diseases, immunology and cell dynamics, gene networks and pharmacokinetics. Alex hopes that it will be useful for anyone who is interested in learning how to model biological systems, including undergraduate and postgraduate mathematics students, life-sciences students with an interest in modelling, and post-16 mathematics students interested in university-level material. 

The University of Sheffield has an Open Educational Resources (OER) policy that actively supports and encourages the use and creation of OER. Additionally, the Library Content Strategy supports initiatives that enable open scholarship and dissemination of knowledge, and the Library was able to provide Alex with a small grant that was used to employ a student intern to help with the production of the book.

Reflecting on the experience of publishing an open textbook on the Sheffield Pressbooks Network, Alex said: “The often exorbitant costs of print and ebooks for both individuals and libraries is a huge equality issue in education. I strongly believe that anyone interested in studying any subject should not be hampered by the affordability of learning resources. Building on my experiences of producing accessible, online notes for my lecture courses, it seemed a natural step to produce a full textbook. The process has made me think hard about how I present and discuss mathematical arguments in a textbook format. I’m indebted to the OER team at the University Library for their support throughout the process. I hope to see many more OER textbooks created in the coming years!” 

The Sheffield Pressbooks Network has been established to support the creation and adaptation of open educational resources (OER) by members of the University of Sheffield. If you would be interested in using the platform, please email Further information about University Library support for OER is available on the Library website. 

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