Academic Publishing – October 2022
De Gruyter acquires Ubiquity; partners with Bristol University Press on distribution
The Berlin-based publisher De Gruyter has acquired open research publisher and service provider Ubiquity. Founded in 2012 with the aim of accelerating the move to open access, Ubiquity not only publishes its own collection of open access books and journals, but also provides publishing services to 33 independent university presses; in 2021, it launched an institutional repositories platform to support green open access and the sharing of a wider range of research outputs. The company’s commitment to open practices – embodied in its customer charter – additionally informs its use of open-source code for its platforms and its contribution to open-source codebases. As part of its deal to acquire Ubiquity, De Gruyter has agreed that this charter will continue to apply; Ubiquity’s team will also remain based in their London office and are expected to remain broadly independent of their new parent company.
De Gruyter has also announced a global strategic ebook distribution partnership with Bristol University Press. The deal will see De Gruyter host and distribute the complete frontlist and backlist collections of both Bristol University Press and its imprint Policy Press – more than 2,000 titles in all; these titles will henceforth be available only from the BUP website and from De Gruyter’s University Press Library service, where it will join Edinburgh University Press and a score of other international presses.
Cambridge to extend innovative open access monograph programme
Cambridge University Press has announced that its pilot programme for open access monographs, Flip It Open, is to be extended. The programme’s unusual model involves selected books initially being sold through conventional channels, then – once they’ve sold enough copies to meet a specified revenue level – being made available as open access titles on the Cambridge Core platform, as well as being issued in an affordable paperback edition. Launched last year with an initial 28 titles, the programme has now expanded to include a further hundred books across STM and HSS subjects. Cambridge Director of Books Publishing, Ben Denne, described the model as ‘our way of asking our customers, mostly institutional libraries, to become actively involved’ in the process of making titles available as open access; he added that the Press had been ‘delighted with the positive response our initiative has received’, from both libraries and authors.
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Wiley returns 1400 books to ProQuest library for a further year after criticisms
Wiley has responded swiftly to criticisms resulting from the removal of almost 1,400 of its titles from the ProQuest Academic Complete online digital library, reinstating all titles to the collection until June 2023. Apologising for any disruption this may have caused to students, instructors, and libraries, Matt Leavy, EVP for Academic & Professional Learning, explained that the decision to remove the ebook titles had been taken more than two years ago but had been delayed until August this year partly to allow time for customers to adjust to the changes. Noting that, despite this delay, many customers had been caught off-guard, he stated that the processes through which collections were updated was being reviewed to avoid the recurrence of such a situation in future. The removal of the titles had prompted widespread criticism, with a spokesman for The Library Association of Ireland, quoted in the Irish Examiner as stating that the move had caused high levels of disruption at the beginning of the academic year.
Oxford strikes new read-and-publish deal; acquires another journal
Oxford University Press has signed a three-year read-and-publish agreement with Qatar National Library. The deal, the publisher’s first in Qatar and its largest in the Middle East more generally, will provide researchers at fifty participating institutions with the ability to publish their work in all Oxford’s hybrid and fully open access journals, while also giving them online access to the Press’s complete collection of peer-reviewed journals.
OUP has also announced that it will be publishing the Academy of Political Science journal, Political Science Quarterly (PSQ) from the start of next year. Founded in 1886, the journal publishes articles and book reviews on government, politics, public policy, and foreign relations, and joins the Press’s stable of more than 500 academic journals. The deal will see OUP collaborate with the Academy to expand the journal’s readership and author network and consider possibilities for extending its engagement with open access.
The Press has also marked the sesquicentenary of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s birth by donating a collection of the composer’s materials to the British Library. The collection includes not only items amended by Vaughan Williams himself but also copyists’ scores for pre-publication performances, proof copies, manuscripts, and full scores annotated by works’ earliest conductors. Oxford publishes most of the work written by the composer in the three decades before his death in 1958.
Liverpool University Press acquires Sussex and a new garden
Liverpool University Press has acquired Sussex Academic Press and will take responsibility not only for its backlist – comprising more than a thousand titles – but also its forthcoming titles. Founded in 1994, the Eastbourne-based publisher originally focused on topics relating to the Middle East but has since extended its remit across the humanities and social sciences; under the umbrella title of Sussex Libraries of Study, it publishes several series in partnership with universities, in areas including First Nations and the Colonial Encounter, Leadership in Conversation, Peace Politics in the Middle East, and Spanish History. Print distribution of Sussex titles will move to LUP’s own distributors: Turpin Distribution in the UK and Ireland, and Oxford University Press in the Americas.
LUP has also completed one part of its bid to become the UK’s first carbon neutral university press, by transforming the courtyard at its office into a garden. Supported by funding from the University of Liverpool’s 2022 Sustainability Fund, the building’s Georgian flagged has been transformed into a pollinator-friendly space for staff to enjoy, yielding benefits for both the environment and mental health.
Alastair Horne is a lecturer in publishing studies at the University of Stirling.
Alastair writes our STM Publishing and our Academic Publishing Newsletters.