Academic Publishing Newsletter – January 2020

Academic Publishing Newsletter – January 2020

Publishers respond critically to cOAlition S proposals

A group of publishers from seven countries, including the university presses at Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, and Edinburgh, has sent an open letter, ‘An HSS perspective on the mandatory criteria for transformative journals’ to cOAlition S in response to the coalition’s open consultation on its draft framework for transformative journals. Noting the high proportion of unfunded authors publishing works in the humanities and social sciences, the group urged the coalition to ‘be mindful of the unintended consequences for academic colleagues and disciplines that do not have the luxury of direct funding, or access to money for APCs from their organisation or institution’. Criticising the coalition’s criteria for transformative agreements as ‘far too prescriptive’ even for publishers able to consider them, the publishers also suggested that many of its proposals – such as cost neutrality, mandated OA growth targets, and compulsory flipping of journals reaching 50% OA content – did not take into account the realities of smaller publishers and those working in the humanities and social sciences.

In a separate letter, co-signatory Emerald proposed adapting the framework to accommodate HSS communities by redefining transformative journals as being those ‘transparent in the transition from subscription based to OA’, which ‘contribute to changing research culture towards transparency and openness in research’, and which ‘support research culture change away from legacy metrics’.

New read-and-publish deal for Cambridge

Cambridge University Press has concluded a three-year transformative read-and-publish open access agreement with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the third largest public research institution in Europe. The deal will enable authors from the council’s 120 affiliated institutions to publish publicly financed research articles in the Press’s hybrid and fully Open Access journals, while also giving CISC members access to Cambridge’s full collection of 400-plus journals across HSS and STM.

Cambridge has also reached an agreement with the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) to publish its journal PMLA from 2021.

New Chinese partnership for Liverpool

Liverpool University Press has partnered with the largest international joint venture university in China, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, to launch a new imprint. The XJTLU imprint will publish both books and journals in the humanities and social sciences, beginning this year, and aims to facilitate academic dialogue between China and the Anglophone world.

Wiley techs to the stars with new imprint

Wiley has launched a new publishing imprint, Techstars Press, in partnership with American start-up accelerator Techstars. The first title from the new imprint, Yes, You Can Do This! How Women Start Up, Scale Up and Build the Life They Want, written by Techstars General Manager Claudia Reuter, will be published in February.

Open Library of the Humanities announces new partner, offers new OA funding

The Open Library of the Humanities, which recently announced that the HEAL-Link Consortium of 43 Greek institutions had become the latest group to join its partnership model, has launched a new fund dedicated to promoting the benefits and impact of open access to humanities scholars and disciplines and to knowledge worldwide. The OLH Open Access Award 2020 welcomes applications from individuals and organisations seeking funding for events, projects or activities on open access or with an open access component.

New award for university press allies

The Association of University Presses has announced a new award to honour ‘a person or group, not currently on staff at a member press, who, through their words and actions, has done extraordinary work to support, defend, and celebrate the university press community’. Nominations for the inaugural Stand UP Award are due by 3 February and the winner will be announced at the opening banquet of the AUPresses conference on 13 June.

Collaborations in brief

University of Huddersfield Press has announced a new collaboration with Australian-born open access publishing platform Informit, which will see twelve journals and a further twelve books made available via the platform.

Emerald Publishing has partnered with Oxford Analytica to produce a series of Expert Briefings on macro-economic and geopolitical events. These briefings, prepared by a global network of experts including former policymakers, regulators and industry leaders, will be available via Emerald Insight.


Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University.

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