Industry divided on response to ResearchGate
The past month has seen divisions deepen within the industry over ResearchGate, whose unauthorised hosting of academic articles infringes publishers’ copyrights. Three publishers – Springer Nature, Cambridge University Press, and Thieme – have announced an agreement that will see them collaborate with ResearchGate to explore ways of sharing articles that will ‘protect the rights of authors and publishers’. The agreement will see all parties working together to educate users about how and when they can share their articles; ResearchGate promptly removing copyright content when alerted by publishers, and publishers gaining better visibility of the usage of their content on the platform.
Meanwhile, the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, which this month welcomed the BMJ and IEEE as new members, has issued a statement reiterating its position that ‘the availability and subsequent removal of unauthorized content is unsustainable’ and noting once again the network’s refusal to sign up to its offer of an automated technical solution that would determine during the upload process whether or not an article could legitimately be shared publicly on a commercial site. Earlier this month, two members of the coalition took legal action to clarify ResearchGate’s responsibility for copyright infringements on its site; the court case began on April 18 in the Regional Court in Munich.
Academic Book Week returns
Academic Book Week has returned for a third year, with sixteen events across the country celebrating the role played by academic books in public life. Springer Nature, Palgrave Macmillan, and Bloomsbury all hosted events, while Blackwell’s bookshops across the country prominently displayed academic titles and offered promotions. A public poll to find the most influential books in history written by women saw Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – published only last year – come out as winner, ahead of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. Books by Mary Wollstonecraft and Simone de Beauvoir completed the top five.
Peter Lang partners with JISC
Peter Lang has partnered with JISC to make its ebook collections of monographs, proceedings, and reference works, comprising more than 10,000 titles across the humanities and social sciences, available for purchase through the agreements JISC has negotiated for its members. The deal will run until December 2018.
New university presses advance
UCL Press has announced an agreement with the Swiss company Scientific Knowledge Services (SKS) which will see the latter promote the press’s publishing services, consultancy, and open access book publishing across Europe. The agreement will build on UCL’s existing consultancy work with UTS (University Technology Sydney), TU Delft, and Helsinki University Press (whose first publications will appear later this year), with the intention of making it easier for other institutions to set up their own open access university presses.
Another of the new university presses, White Rose University Press, has just released its first monograph, a two-volume study of one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe, Star Carr. The open access press was founded in 2016 by the universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York, and will be publishing two further monographs in the coming months, a translation of the Occupation diaries of Madeleine Blaess, and a study of the poetry of Tristan Corbière.
AUP issues statement on censorship
The Association of University Presses has issued a statement of guiding principles intended to address attempted censorship in a global network of scholarly communications. Noting that ‘requests to restrict access to specific elements of a larger digital collection within a given market seem likely to become … more common’, the AUP ‘encourages university presses generally to withhold their consent to any such request, whether made directly or via a third-party aggregator, even if doing so results in the unavailability of the entire digital collection within that market.’
Yale’s history books repeat shortlist success
University presses are once again well represented on the shortlist for the Wolfson History Prize, with Yale University Press supplying two titles (down one on last year’s three) – Tim Grady’s A Deadly Legacy: German Jews and the Great War and Peter Marshall’s Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation – and Oxford University Press one: Jan Rüger’s Heligoland: Britain, Germany, and the Struggle for the North Sea. The prize was first awarded in 1972 and has become the UK’s foremost history book award; this year’s winner will be announced on Monday 4 June at a reception at Claridge’s in London.
Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University