11
$\begingroup$

Why aren't there any "crowdsourced" projects for mathematical textbooks?

Every year, many mathematicians put a lot of effort into crafting their own lecture notes or writing textbooks (or also research monographs). Why aren't there any open-source "crowdsourced" cooperative efforts towards book writing? The pros of this kind of collaboration are rather obvious.

$\endgroup$
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ But there are. $\endgroup$ – Fred Rohrer Jan 15 '18 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ Mathematical articles in Wikipedia are an example of what you can achieve in this way. Most of them are of poor quality. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Jan 15 '18 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ @FredRohrer Very nice example! That is exactly the kind of project I had in mind! I wonder if there are others in different fields. $\endgroup$ – user60665 Jan 15 '18 at 14:02
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @AlexandreEremenko: Wikipedia suffers from its own set of problems, but most importantly it is meant to be an encyclopedia, not a textbook. The fact that a few of its articles are textbook-quality and textbook-level-of-detail is a fortunate accident. Textbooks are written very differently and with different requirements. $\endgroup$ – darij grinberg Jan 15 '18 at 15:11
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The question in the title is different from the question in the text. Which one do you want answered? I.e. do you want a list of polymath-type textbooks, or do you want a list of reasons why there aren't many crowdsourced projects for math textbooks? If it's the first one, then maybe this is a duplicate of the question @darijgrinberg mentions. If it's the second, there are some clear reasons: most textbooks come about through an author teaching a course for several years then deciding to turn the notes into a textbook, and by that stage it's too late for crowdsourcing. $\endgroup$ – Tom Leinster Jan 15 '18 at 15:22
11
$\begingroup$

The Homotopy Type Theory book is massively collaborative and regularly updated (through version control). It's also the definitive textbook in its field, and I think Voevodsky himself contributed to it. In particular, it is mentioned that:

We have released the book under a permissive Creative Commons licence which allows everyone to participate and improve it.

I've found it to be particularly well-written and comprehensible.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy