One of the highpoints of 2016 for the university press sector was the University Press Redux conference, hosted by Liverpool University Press in March, in association with the Academic Book of the Future project. 150 delegates from nearly forty university presses across the UK, Europe, and the United States convened to hear speakers from presses, funders, and partners discuss the issues and opportunities faced by a suddenly-resurgent sector. The initially one-off conference was such a success that it will now become a biennial event run by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers in partnership with individual university presses. Early details of the next two conferences have now been made public, with dates to be confirmed shortly: Redux 2018 will be hosted and curated by London’s UCL Press, while Cambridge University Press will run the event in 2020.
Academic Book Week 2017 begins to takes shape
Further details are also emerging of next year’s Academic Book Week, which will run from January 23rd to 28th. As with 2015’s inaugural celebration of scholarly publishing in the UK, one of the highlights of the week will be a public vote to choose the winner from a shortlist of academic titles, this time the twenty Academic Books That Made Modern Britain. Last year’s debate over the most influential academic book of all time received considerable mainstream media coverage, and the same is anticipated for next year’s contest; nominations have just closed, and the shortlist – chosen by a panel of UK academics – will be announced in January.
Several events have also been announced. The British Library will host a series of interactive workshops on The Academic Library of the Future, New Tools in Academic Publishing, Books as Online Content (in partnership with UCL Press), and Academic Bookshops (with the Booksellers Association). Emerald Group Publishing will be running a discussion on Creating the Future of Academic Publishing: Strengthening the Research Ecosystem at London South Bank University, while the Macmillan Campus will host sessions for early and mid-career researchers and on emerging tools around books, supported by Palgrave Macmillan and Springer Nature. Anyone interested in running an event should email Midas Books with details.
Lulu launches new academic publishing platform
Self-publishing business Lulu has branched out into scholarly publishing, launching a new academic publishing platform offering authors a range of services including peer review, bibliometric tracking, and the option to deposit their work in an Open Access repository. Claiming that ‘the existing academic publishing model is broken’, with ‘an exploitative revenue model’ based on ‘excessive prices for books’ and ‘ridiculous book publishing charges’, Glasstree says it will put academics in charge of the publishing process and offer them the opportunity to profit from their work.
Bloomsbury takes a turn on the catwalk
The FutureBook Awards saw a double success for Bloomsbury, with the publisher’s Fashion Central product taking home the award for Reference/Education Platform of the Year, while Jenny Ridout, Global Head of Academic Publishing, was named as Digital Achiever of the Year.