Academic Newsletter – February 2017

Academic Newsletter – February 2017

With preparations for this year’s London Book Fair foremost in everyone’s minds, it’s nevertheless been another busy month in academic publishing. Liverpool University Press has announced two new appointments to its board: Richard Charkin, Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing, and Toby Faber, former Managing Director of Faber & Faber; Sue Corbett, a former MD at Wiley-Backwell, is standing down after seven years. LUP has also partnered with the Littman Library of Jewish Civilisation (LLJC), taking over responsibility for its print distribution and making the LLJC list available digitally for the first time. Meanwhile, Oxford University Press has announced that Tim Barton will be stepping down from his post as MD of OUP’s academic division in September, after more than 25 years at the press.

The not-for-profit global library cooperative OCLC has been awarded a contract by JISC to develop a new national bibliographic knowledgebase to be known as the NBK. The NBK will ingest a wide range of library data in greater volume and at higher speeds than the existing Copac service, and support the library community in making decisions about the future of their print and digital collections. A beta version of the service is expected to launch in January 2018. And Knowledge Unlatched has announced a partnership with JSTOR to study usage patterns in open access monographs; to facilitate the study, KU will now host thirty of its titles on JSTOR’s digital library in addition to their existing hosting on HathiTrust and OAPEN.

Readers may also be interested in a report prepared for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on the monograph output of American university presses between 2009 and 2013. Extrapolating from the figures of the 65 presses which participated in the study, the authors suggest that such presses – excluding Oxford, Cambridge, and associate members of the AAUP – publish around 15,000 books each year, of which slightly more than a quarter (4,000) are monographs; three quarters of those monographs are in the humanities. The full report can be downloaded here.

It’s also been a big month for awards. The annual IPG Awards in the UK saw Edward Elgar Publishing take home not only the ProQuest Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year prize – for the second time in four years – but also the overall title of Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year. Elgar was praised by the judges for growing both sales and profits while also diversifying beyond monographs and building a successful new digital platform, Elgaronline. On a successful night for academic publishers, Bloomsbury also won the Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award for its higher education content portal Bloomsbury Fashion Central.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Britain’s largest university presses enjoyed continued success at the 2017 Prose Awards, which recognise excellence in scholarly and professional publishing across 53 categories. Cambridge took home seven awards, with eleven honourable mentions, with Oxford close behind with six awards and five mentions; Bloomsbury and Taylor & Francis won one award each. The overall R. R. Hawkins Award for the year’s most outstanding work was won by Yale University Press for Carlos M. N. Eire’s Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650.

The shortlist for this year’s London Book Fair International Excellence Awards sees publishers from three different continents competing for the Academic and Professional Publisher Award, supported by Research Information. CSIRO Publishing from Australia, China’s Journal of Zhejiang University-Science (JZUS), and France’s OECD Publishing are the three candidates for the award, which will be announced alongside fifteen other awards at an invitation-only ceremony on the opening night of this year’s fair. Academic publishers also feature in other categories, with SAGE shortlisted in the Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award: Publisher category and Cambridge University Press’s new Core platform and Taylor & Francis’s Cartoon Abstracts among the nominees for the Quantum Publishing Innovation Award.

This year’s fair will once again see a strong focus on scholarly publishing, with Wednesday’s Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum complemented by a series of talks at the Faculty over the course of the fair’s three days. The Forum focuses on three key areas: the future of open access in the UK, global market and policy developments, and the changing face of publishing; speakers include representatives from publishers, libraries, and start-ups. The Faculty talks offer a wide-ranging overview of the industry: Tuesday’s talks include sessions on copyright, connecting with readers, journal sales strategies for smaller publishers, digital transformation, new technologies in academic book publishing, and making open access work for scholarly monographs. Wednesday sees talks on careers in academic publishing, future revenue and content models, findings from the Academic Book of the Future project, getting inside users’ minds, open access workflows, and independent publishing in the academic sector. Authentication, meanwhile, is the hot topic on Thursday. The Faculty talks are free to attend, and you can register to attend the Research and Scholarly Publishing Forum here.

Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University. He writes our Academic Newsletter.

Alastair Horne writes our Academic Newsletter.

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