Jeffrey R. Young, writing for EdSurge:
A new startup wants to shake up the textbook market by making it easier for professors to adopt courseware created at colleges and universities rather than by commercial textbook publishers. It’s solution: Create a new marketplace where instructors can find them. A key premise of the Lexington, Mass.-based company, called Argos Education, is that the way textbooks are created and revised is due for a reset. Namely, it wants to help build an open-source system that lets professors piece together online course materials from a variety of sources, and also offer their own materials for sale to colleagues around the world.
The idea for a mix-and-match courseware marketplace is a great one, but holy hell—why was the initiative organized as a for-profit company? The underlying Sojourner platform, to be built from a planned Carnegie Mellon/Arizona State integration of two existing softwares, will be open source.
But Argos, the marketplace vendor, is a profit-seeker. As countless mission-aligned, mom-and-pop ventures in scholarly publishing have already shown, Argos will be—if, and as soon as, it is successful—a sitting duck for big-publisher acquisition. The EdSurge article inadvertently makes the point: The Arizona State team working on Sojourner had built a commercial platform, Smart Sparrow, which it sold to … Pearson in 2020.