Goldsmiths hosts lively and engaging OA conference
Open access university press Goldsmiths last week hosted a lively and engaging one-day conference on open access in the humanities and social sciences, bringing together representatives from publishing, research, libraries, and funding bodies for a remarkably positive day of discussion. Among the key themes addressed were the need for open access initiatives – and funder mandates – to recognise the differences between STM and HSS and not simply apply models designed for the former to the latter. Speakers called for a diversity of publication models and the exploration of new funding models, and the abandonment of Book Processing Charges. Copyright was also a hot topic, with speakers calling for recognition that HSS monographs’ frequent and extensive use of third-party content and data – such as quotes from literary works or reproductions of artworks – required more nuanced approaches to copyright and open licenses than were often on offer.
Funder mandates came in for further criticism for homogenising open access, exacerbating existing inequalities, and for being a poor way of winning over academics. However, Steven Hill of Research England struck a markedly more conciliatory note than he had at last year’s Redux conference, emphasising that the policy for monographs in the next REF exercise had not yet been decided, and that the body was keen to listen to stakeholders before making a decision.
Bloomsbury posts impressive figures
Bloomsbury has reported some very strong figures for its Academic and Professional division for the last financial year, with revenues rising 13% to £41.2 million, only £2.5m of which was accounted for by the acquisition of IB Tauris. Profits also rose to £3.1m after a loss of £0.4m the previous financial year.
Liverpool in Historic partnership
Liverpool University Press has formed a strategic partnership with Historic England which will see the Press take over the long-term running of the Historic England imprint, publishing new titles and maintaining more than 300 backlist titles. Liverpool has also launched its first title using the Manifold platform for the publication of networked and enhanced ebooks, developed by the University of Minnesota Press in collaboration with partners, and with funding from the Mellon Foundation. The JISC-funded open access teaching and study resource Using Primary Sources collects documents from over 150 primary sources based on 20 thematic chapters in medieval, early modern and modern history.
Open Research Library launches to mixed reception
Knowledge Unlatched has launched a new initiative aiming to combine all available open access book content under one search and hosting interface. The Open Research Library has been developed in partnership with BiblioLabs, LYRASIS, EBSCO, ProQuest, the Internet Archive, Google, the Digital Public Library of America, OCLC, and Researcher App. However, the initiative has met with a mixed reaction from the open access community, with Open Book Publishers claiming the company was ‘attempt[ing] to monopolise access for commercial gain’ and OPERAS suggesting that the Library could be ‘harmful … to establishing a distributed, open and sustainable infrastructure for Open Access monographs.’
Several shall have prizes
Emerald Publishing has won the prize for ‘Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year’ award at the 2019 British Book Awards, known as The Nibbies. Also shortlisted were Bloomsbury, Collins Learning, Historic Environment Scotland, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Kogan Page, Rowman & Littlefield International, and SAGE Publishing.
Oxford University Press won the Publisher of the Year Award for the ninth year in succession at the Academic Book Trade Conference Awards, while Blackwell’s won a clean sweep of the bookseller awards, winning Chain Bookseller of the Year while its South Bridge, Edinburgh shop was awarded Academic Bookshop of the Year and Clare Pepper from its University of Kent branch won Academic Bookseller of the Year. Rep of the Year was Lucy Pink from Taylor and Francis.
The Mumbai-based journalist and playwright Annie Zaidi has been announced as the winner of the Nine Dots Prize whose benefits include $100,000 and the chance to be published by Cambridge University Press. Zaidi’s answer to the question ‘Is there still no place like home?’ explored concepts of home and belonging rooted in her experience in India, where migration is high.
Published by Manchester University Press, Nizan Shaked’s The synthetic proposition: Conceptualism and the political referent in contemporary art has been awarded the 31st annual Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art.
Edinburgh University Press has appointed Margaret Hewinson as a non-executive Chair, replacing Ivon Asquith who is standing down after twelve years. She will work alongside existing non-executives Richard Fisher and Mark Allin.
The Open Library of the Humanities has announced two new members of its Library Partnership Subsidy System: Saarland University in Germany, and Auraria Library in Denver, the United States.
Stanford University Press, threatened with closure last month when its parent university announced plans to withdraw its funding, has been granted a one-year budget extension ‘to help ensure a smooth transition to a sustainable future’.
Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University.