Archive for the 'Anniversary' Category

Futures of academic publishing

By Alison Fox, on 5 June 2018

Today’s guest post is by Ilan Kelman, from UCL’s Institute for Global Health and Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, editor of Arcticness: Power and Voice from the North, and is part of a special series to celebrate UCL Press reaching one million downloads. 

Are the days over of roaming the dusty library shelves for sombre articles by world-renowned-but-never-seen scientific figures? Now, you can sit over ten kilometres up on an intercontinental flight downloading PDFs. Or seek the face of a prominent name through an image search or watching them lecture online.

No more must you queue at conferences to harangue them. On the same flight, or from your phone at home, drop them an email or social media message and skype across time zones.

Then, login to google docs from different hemispheres to co-author in real-time. Or use track changes and comments to edit with colleagues whom you have never met or spoken to.

Academic publishing is changing. New media and new ways of accessing media permeate science. With publishers, we can and should explore what could work or fall flat–while never diminishing world-renowned, cutting-edge, innovative science.

UCL Press already pursues personalisable and interactive PDFs. Images have long been part of manuscripts. Electronic publishing permits audio clips, videos, spreadsheets, GIS files, and other formats as embedded or supplementary material.

Patents and legislation are publication formats which academics can write and which are effectively peer-reviewed. Fine and performing arts accept non-written forms for academic credit, whether a composition, a performance, a painting, or a sculpture.

All disciplines should adopt similar approaches and beyond. Rather than being within, or supplemental to, a publication, different forms and formats could be the peer-reviewed academic publication.

A five-minute video of original choreography could express the islandness and urbanity of London or Bangkok as island cities. A dynamic holograph could illustrate decision-making under climate change. A computer programme could provide an online display which automatically collects, processes, and analyses real-time air pollution data.

Any such submission would have to be rigorously peer reviewed, as with papers, chapters, and books. The review process might require as much creativity and open-mindedness as the piece under review.

Other options require careful thought and implementation. Could material submitted for peer review, and peer-review processes, be crowdsourced with anyone contributing, as with wikis? Determining authorship could be challenging, but perhaps no more so than a paper for which the list of 5,154 authors is longer than the manuscript.

With a New Zealand river being granted some legal rights similar to human beings, could environmental features or processes be scientific co-authors? Isaac Asimov’s fiction writings set the stage for robots and other machines to be considered as peer-reviewed outputs and/or authors on them.

Nothing here mean eschewing the lengthy, erudite article or book with humdrum section headings. Nothing here means dismantling libraries or recycling the paper-based journals. It simply means different approaches, forms, and formats complementing and supplementing, not displacing, long-accepted scientific publication outputs.

We must continue standard approaches. We must also embrace and create futures of academic publishing without compromising scientific quality.

We can be creative, innovative, modern, and engaging without losing the positive aspects of what we have. All futures bring forward needed elements of the past.

Brexit and the democratisation of knowledge

By Alison Fox, on 31 May 2018

Today’s guest post is by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger, editors of Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, and is part of a special series to celebrate UCL Press reaching one million downloads. 

We started working on Brexit and Beyond in early 2017 when we realised there was a distinct gap in the market when it came to easily accessible yet scholarly works on Brexit. Full-length academic articles were often too lengthy and discipline-specific to appeal to the average reader. In any case, they take a rather long time to reach the market, such that by then the real world often has moved on. Nowhere more so than with Brexit! By contrast, the readily availabile opinion pieces and op-eds through which much of the ‘here and now’ of the Brexit debate took place lacked the rigour of academic works.

So we resolved to create a volume of short, accessible pieces on Brexit which would appeal to a general audience, while being informed by their authors’ long-standing scholarship. UCL Press embraced the idea with enthusiasm.

We also wanted to work with UCL Press because of the benefits of the open access model. Given the acrimony surrounding Britain’s changing relationship to Europe, we felt it was particularly important to bring rigorous discussion of the topic out of the academic ivory tower. To freely provide a volume with some of the biggest names in their field to students and interested citizens alike was, we believed, the easiest – and most direct – way to achieve this. The Brexit vote highlighted a yawning gap between academic debates and the concerns of many British citizens. Meanwhile, the social media ‘echo chambers’ have contributed to divided conversations and the polarisation of viewpoints. Breaking through these divisions and starting a shared conversation on the future of Europe was our aim with this volume.

UCL Press supported our book every step of the way. We had frequent meetings to discuss content, production and marketing, benefitting from the input of all the team members. The book itself came out in January and has been downloaded over 10,000 times in the past three months. What has been most heartening, though, is how pleased readers themselves have been about receiving their ‘free book’. One individual who approached us at our launch event in Brussels couldn’t believe – his words – that such a high quality product would be available for anyone to download. And, more pleasing still, he had sent copies to his friends and family. The hope is that, as more and more people engage with our contributors’ arguments, a greater number of citizens – of the UK and the EU – are brought into the detailed discussions we should be having after the referendum. Only in this way can we attempt to further the democratisation of knowledge. For facilitating these conversations – more and more every day – we are very grateful to the team at UCL Press.

Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe can be downloaded for free here.

A celebration of one million downloads

By Alison Fox, on 23 May 2018

On Monday evening, the UCL Press team were delighted to celebrate reaching one million downloads of its open access books and journals with authors, academics, senior university members and other honoured guests. The event took place in UCL’s beautiful North Cloisters.

Since the press was re-established as a fully open access press in 2015, its list has grown to 80 books and 8 journals in a variety of subject areas, and its publications have been widely praised, with reviews in The Telegraph, The Australian, Times Higher Education and many others.

Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research) congratulated the Press on achieving its remarkable impact figures and pointed out that UCL Press titles were now downloaded in 222 countries and territories across the world. Notable downloads include those from North Korea, where UCL Press titles have been downloaded 15 times.

Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost and CEO of the Press, congratulated the team on their achievements and told those gathered

how astounded he was by the download figures. One of the key questions when the Press was set up was what success might look like, said Dr Ayris, adding that, initially, he would have been pleased with ten thousand downloads in the first couple of years, but, this month, the Press achieved its millionth download. Dr Ayris also shared his passionate belief that the model that UCL Press pioneered can be emulated across Europe.

The party also marked the launch of the fourth edition of a landmark book about the history of UCL: The World of UCL.  The author of the book, Georgina Brewis explained that extensive work went into creating the new edition, which replaces one published in 2004. A new chapter has been added, and the number of images were reduced, and much work went into ensuring that UCL’s commitment to equality and diversity are reflected in the earlier materials in the book.

We were delighted to be able to celebrate with so many those who have contributed to the success of the press so far, and look forward to the next million downloads!

 

Note: UCL Press books and journals can be downmlaoded from ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press

1st Birthday Party for UCL Press

By Alison Fox, on 24 June 2016

Today’s guest post is posted on behalf of Paul Ayris, Director of Library Services at UCL and CEO of UCL Press.

UCL-Press-birthday-party-600x800

16 June 2016 was an auspicious day for UCL Press. This was the day when we held  a Birthday Party to celebrate 1 year of publishing activity.

100 people accepted the Press’s invitation to join them at the Party, which was held in Waterstone’s Bookshop. The Guest of Honour was Professor David Price, who spoke of his pride that UCL has established such an innovative publishing programme. UCL Press is the first fully Open Access University Press in the UK.

Following David Price’s speech, I gave a brief summary of the achievements of the Press in its 1st year of operation – over 30,000 downloads in over 160 countries. This is an amazing record for a young Press in its 1st year. I admitted that establishing the Press was my idea, but that it had needed the insight, expertise and support of very many people to make it happen. That the Press has achieved so much so quickly is really a testament to all their hard work.

The audience was then entertained by 6 UCL Press authors, who told us what they felt about working with the Press and why they had chosen UCL Press as their publisher. I was struck by two things. First, a number of authors who have published with us said they wanted to publish with us again. That is real praise. Second, some speakers spoke about the textbooks which they are publishing with UCL Press. I had a long talk with Deepak Kalaskar from the Royal Free about his forthcoming (July 2016) Textbook of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Commercial publishers have been slow to offer textbooks as digital textbooks, let alone Open Access textbooks. In its work on developing an Open Access digital textbook model, UCL Press is being truly innovative.

The audience toasted the 1st year of the Press, and wished it well in the next 12 months, with glasses of Prosecco. Cup cakes with the UCL Press logo iced on the top crowned a generous finger buffet, which was well received by those attending. The evening bodes well for the growing success of UCL Press.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services & CEO UCL Press

Housing – Critical Futures: ‘a critical issue at a critical time’

By Graham Cairns, on 17 June 2016

research programme led by AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society) and supported by UCL Press

The Housing – Critical Futures research programme confronts a critical issue at a critical time. In London, a leading capital of global finance, there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing for those that service ‘the service’ sector. The crisis is at levels not seen since World War II. In Beijing, capital of the 21st century’s political powerhouse, the displacement of long-standing communities is a daily occurrence. In Mumbai, thAmps finale biggest health risk faced by the city today has been identified as overcrowded housing, while in São Paulo, football’s 2014 World Cup took place against a backdrop of community unrest and the chronic living conditions of the poor. The private sector, the state and residents themselves are searching for solutions. Whether housing refugees in conflict areas, providing safe water to the households in the developing world, or ensuring key workers can live in the cities they support in the West, the question of housing is not only global, but critical.

In addressing these questions AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society) has partnered with institutions, organizations, individuals, activists, designers, theorists and, of course publishers. Our key publishing partner is UCL Press which has been fundamental in ensuring that the work of those we collaborate with reaches a wide and relevant audience on an open access basis. UCL Press has worked with us in developing a book series on housing that allows AMPS to bring together the ideas of diverse players internationally around the issue of housing. The Press is supportive of our interdisciplinary agenda meaning together we are able to present an amazing array of perspectives covering a range of issues. Whether it be architects dealing with design-led ideas, residents analyzing participatory processes, planners critiquing models of development, economists explaining financial frameworks at macro and micro levels, or activists campaigning for changes on government policy, UCL Press has worked with us to find dissemination routes.

The AMPS journal, Architecture_MPS is also published through UCL Press and while this is open to an interdisciplinary body of authors and is open to a much wider range of topics, UCL Press has welcomed our use of the journal to promote our housing agenda. We have developed a series of SIPs (special issue publications) with them and our first special issue, which will be published in September 2016, is focused on housing.

About the author

Graham Cairns is Director of AMPS and Executive Editor of the associated journal Architecture_MPS. He is currently based at Columbia University, New York, and is Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

More details:

Architecture_MPS journal: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/uclpress/amps

Housing Critical Futures Book Series: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/series/housing-critical-futures

‘We are all suburbanites’

By Laura S Vaughan, on 16 June 2016

Suburban Urbanities is an edited collection that is the culmination of over seven years’ research into the urban form and social logic of metropolitan suburbs. The research considered the factors that contribute to the long-term success of suburban town centres. In order to do this we studied a century’s morphological evolution and land use patterns of twenty outer London suburbs as well as, more generally, how cities IMAGE 4_Scottgrow and take shape over time. The research took a multi-disciplinary approach, integrating urban analysis (using space syntax) with ethnographic studies of people, organisations and places on the one hand, and historical studies of land uses and urban form on the other. Towards the end of our project we sought out a comparative set of examples from the UK and elsewhere around Europe and the Mediterranean. The book takes these examples and organises these into three themes: Suburban Centralities – which has a focus on city-wide transformations, showing that local places are shaped and formed over time according to their accessibility to long-term patterns of human, social and economic networks of activity across scales; High Street Diversity – which has a focus on the high street, the active centre of urban and suburban centres. The last section of the book is called ‘Everyday Sociability’.  In addition to the case studies themselves, the book has a clear agenda, to challenge the perception that urbanity only exists in the city. Opening with a pair of theoretical position pieces, it argues that urbanity exists in a continuum from urban to suburban. When discussing suburban life it is vital to get away from the binary choice between suburban versus urbane. Indeed, we are all suburbanites in one way or another, given that urbanism is a temporal process.

As an early adopter of open access through UCL’s repository, UCL Press seemed like an ideal choice for Suburban Urbanities, given that it is a university press dedicated to full open access. A surprising bonus has been the fast turnaround, from submission in April 2015 to publication in November 2015. At the same time the visual and material quality of both online and print version is excellent – indeed, one of the book’s reviewers commented that it is “a book that looks and feels beautiful”. Most important for me has been the immediate impact of the book. Alongside its thousands of downloads (3750 at last count) in eighty eight countries, it has had impact in all sorts of unexpected places: featuring in The Atlantic in its CityLab blog and an activist in New Zealand has been tweeting excerpts of the book at his local planning authority to raise various policy issues. My hope is that it will continue to resonate far and wide as we continue to battle with the complexity of suburban urbanity in future years.

About the Author

Laura Vaughan is Professor of Urban Form and Society at the Space Syntax Laboratory, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and editor of Suburban Urbanities. In addition to her longstanding research into London’s suburban evolution, she has written on many other critical aspects of urbanism today. Follow her on Twitter at @urban_formation.

Why one Early Career Researcher decided to publish in open access

By Nick Piercey, on 15 June 2016

I’m delighted to be working with UCL Press on the publication of Four Histories about Early Dutch Football 1910–1920: Constructing Discourses. This work will use some of the research I conducted for my doctoral studies, combined with new research and approaches, to provide four new histories about football in Dutch life in the early part of the twentieth century. The work interweaves concerns about the role and purpose of history today, with questions about the nature of modern sport and its interaction with culture, politics, and society. A central aim of the book Piercey 800pxis to promote a new form of history that acknowledges that the subjectivity of the author (and reader) is not only inevitable, but also useful in the development of history as a democratic tool for the future.

I was particularly keen to work with UCL Press because of their commitment to Open Access publication, which I see as a revolutionary development in academic publishing. Free online publication means that my work and ideas will be available to as many people as possible, without the barriers often in palace in traditional academic publishing models. I’m pleased to be taking part at an early stage in this change in academic publishing. In addition, Open Access publishing has given me the opportunity to provide additional data and content online which will encourage other individuals to create their own histories about the past – which is a central theme of my work.

As a young academic, and first time author, I have loved the encouragement given by everyone at UCL Press in this project, from the initial proposal to the final stages of publication. At every stage the team has always been ready to listen to suggestions and to guide me through the difficulties and surprises involved in bringing my ideas to a wider audience. While the staff are UCL Press are ambitious in developing an ever increasing number of titles, I have always felt that the team has taken a hands on approach to the process and both understand and value the deeply personal nature of their authors’ contributions. Happy Birthday!

About the author

Nicholas Piercey is Honorary Research Associate in UCL’s Department of Dutch in the UCL School of European Languages, Culture & Society. His first book, Four Histories of Early Dutch Football, 1910-1920: Constructing Discourses (UCL Press) will be published on October 2016. Find out more at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/four-histories-about-early-dutch-football.

‘We needed a Press with vision and ambition’

By Daniel Miller, on 14 June 2016

How the world changed social mediaFor our particular project, Why We Post, the creation of UCL Press was simply the perfect answer to a key question. We had already committed to open access. This is something I am personally very committed to and had previously published a paper advocating open access in an anthropology journal. I was very disappointed with the current models of Green and Gold and wanted what I think of as genuine open access, which inevitably means publication being taken back into the university system and thereby saving huge sums for libraries. I feel this strongly as anthropologist since we need to make our findings accessible to low-income people in low-income countries which are the populations that we typically study.

The additional headache was that we were committed to publishing 11 books. Having carried out nine different 15-month ethnographies we knew we had a vast amount of important new material about the use and consequences of social media, a topic of huge public interest. For us open access also means writing in an open and accessible style. But taking on 11 volumes is quite a commitment. So we needed a press with vision and ambition.

At this point we could not be happier with the result. We launched the first three books at the end of February and within a month we had over 10,000 downloads, which is almost unimaginable in traditional publishing. As people who work on digital technologies it’s great to see online books with hyperlinked chapters and endnotes that we can link to directly from our freeSocial Media in an English Village FutureLearn e-learning course and our Why We Post website. In addition, a topic such as social media is about the rise of visual communication and it was essential for us to have many colour images included.

We feel we have been supported throughout this adventure by UCL Press, especially with regard to advertising and marketing. I have published 37 volumes and was particularly impressed by the fast turnaround from submission of final manuscripts. We are happy that there are also relatively inexpensive offline paperbacks for those who prefer physical books. But if I was to pick out one particular achievement which matters to an anthropologist it is that our books are being read in 132 countries with over 100 downloads recorded for countries as diverse as Turkey, Russia, Poland, Japan and Mexico.

About the author

Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology at UCL and author of 37 books including Social Media in an English VillageThe Comfort of Things, Stuff, Tales from Facebook and A Theory of Shopping.  Find out more about the Why We Post series at  https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/why-we-post.

 

UCL Press – One Year, and 35,000 Readers On

By Lara Speicher, on 13 June 2016

UCL Press infographic1As we celebrate our first year of publishing, it is apposite to pause for a moment and look back at all that has happened, before we launch into busy and exciting plans for the future. Most pleasing is the wide readership our books are reaching – in one year, our books and journals have reached a combined total of over 35,000 readers in over 160 countries round the world. That’s an average of nearly 3,000 downloads per book. In an age when many scholarly monograph publishers report sales figures of around 400 copies in print, it’s a really encouraging response.

Our open access model is proving to be very popular with authors too and we have had well over 150 book and journal proposals. Since we launched in June 2015 as the UK’s first fully open access university press, it has also been interesting to see the publishing landscape changing and more new university presses spring up, many of them also open access, including Westminster University Press, White Rose University Press and Cardiff University Press. Goldsmiths also launched its new press recently with a mission of publishing innovative and less constrained academic works.

We have published 14 books and 3 journals so far in a wide range of subjects including archaeology, anthropology, Jewish studies, urban studies and history, and

UCL Press infographic5the forward programme is building up quickly. In 2017 we are on course to publish 35 books and several more journals. Later this year and next year we look forward to publishing our first textbooks, on plastic surgery and public archaeology. We are publishing our first popular science book called Why Icebergs Float (Andrew Morris), a book that examines urban food production as a potential solution to the global food crisis (Sustainable Food Systems by Robert Biel), and our first BOOC (Books as Open Online Content), an innovative digital format that will launch with the outputs of the Academic Book of the Future project, an AHRC/British Library project led by academics at UCL and Kings College London investigating how scholarly publishing will look in years to come.

Here are a few key facts about our publishing since we started publishing in June 2015:

  • Our books have been downloaded over *35,000 times (that’s an average of 2,916 times each)
  • Our books have been downloaded in over 160 countries round the world, from Albania to Zimbabwe
  • Our most downloaded book is How the World Changed Social Media by Danny Miller et al, which was downloaded over 10,000 times between 1 March and 1 June 2016
  • Our books have been reviewed in THE, The Economist, The Atlantic’s CityLab, BBC World Service, BBC Today programme, LSE Review of Books and Wired, amongst others
  • This month sees the launch of our new interactive digital platform that offers scholars new ways of publishing their research in non-traditional formats

UCL Press infographic3There is a lot to celebrate, but most important of all is our authors and journal editors. We feel incredibly honoured that so many talented academics from UCL and beyond have chosen to publish with us, a new press with an alternative business model, and we look forward to working with them on more exciting projects in the coming years. And indeed, it is our business model that is driving our authors to choose UCL Press. As demonstrated in the figures above, open access means that books and journals are read and distributed globally in significant numbers. And what could be more important for scholarship?

In the words of Daniel Coit Gilman, founder of Johns Hopkins University Press:

It is one of the noblest duties of a university to advance knowledge and to diffuse it not merely among those who can attend the daily lectures but far and wide.

Posted on behalf of Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager, UCL Press

*At 1 June 2016

 

The First Six Months of UCL Press

By Lara Speicher, on 21 December 2015

The six months since the launch of UCL Press have been extremely busy. During this time, UCL Press has managed to launch eight open access books, two journals and managed an extremely successful Open Access conference with over 120 delegates (with assistance from UCL Open Access and UCL Discovery). The UCL Press team have also spoken at a number of events- Society for Young Publishers conference, Academic Book of the Future projects showcase evening at the British Library and the Futurebook conference, to name but a few- and contributed articles about the press to UKSG enews andInsights.

Lisa Jardine

We were also deeply saddened to hear of the death of Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, and author of UCL Press’ inaugural title, Temptation in the Archives. Professor Jardine was a distinguished scholar, and we are honoured to have published her final work.

Books

The eight UCL Press books have managed to achieve in excess of 9500 open access downloads from over 100 countries. Titles published so far are varied and include:

We’re delighted to announce that our Spring list will include a number of titles from the Why We Post project, an ground breaking ethnographic study of social media in 8 countries worldwide. The series will contain 11 books, but Spring 2015 include How the World Changed Social MediaSocial Media in an English Village, and Social Media in Southeast Turkey. The project’s output will also include UCL’s first MOOC (via Futurelearn), and a website focusing on the project’s findings. To keep up-to-date on UCL Press activities, visit our website or follow us on Twitter @uclpress

Journals

Journals currently published by UCL Press include Architecture_MPS(Architecture Media Politics Society) which addresses the growing interest in the social and political interpretation of the built environment from a multi-disciplinary perspective and London Journal of Canadian Studies, an interdisciplinary journal specialising in Canadian history, politics and society. From early 2016, our rapidly growing journals programme will also include Jewish Historical Studies: Transitions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, which has been published since 1831.

Call for proposals

Spotlights series

Proposals for short monographs are invited from UCL authors wishing to make new or defining elements of their work accessible to a wide audience. The series will provide a responsive forum for researchers to share key developments in their discipline and reach across disciplinary boundaries. The series also aims to support a diverse range of approaches to undertaking research and writing it. We welcome proposals for books of 35,000 to 45,000 words from all disciplines that share any of these aims. The books will be published free in a digital Open Access form, and will also be available to buy in print at an affordable price.

Contact: Chris Penfold, Commissioning Editor, UCL Press

BOOC

The Men’s Union Reading Room

The AHRC/British Library Academic Book of the Future Project invites submissions for its BOOC (Book as Open Online Content), which will capture and publish outputs of the research project. The content will be published as a ‘live’ book on an innovative, online and open platform hosted by UCL Press.

Authors are welcome to discuss any aspect of academic publishing and its future; for example, peer review, the role of the editor, the academic bookshop of the future, copyright, libraries, open access, digital publishing and technology. Suitable content will undergo peer review before being published.

Formats may include, but are not limited to, videos, blogs, podcasts, short monographs and articles, and authors are invited from all areas of the academic publishing and bookselling communities. The BOOC will be launched in Spring 2016 and new content will be added throughout the year.

Contact: Sam Rayner, Principal Investigator of the Academic Book of the Future Project with abstracts of proposed content (500 word max.).