Archive for the 'Open Access' Category

New Open Access Books for August 2018

By Alison Fox, on 1 August 2018

Just a single open access book to tell you about this month: but it’s a corker!

Cities Made of Boundaries presents the theoretical foundation and concepts for a new social scientific urban morphological mapping method, Boundary Line Type (BLT) Mapping. Its vantage is a plea to establish a frame of reference for radically comparative urban studies positioned between geography and archaeology. Based in multidisciplinary social and spatial theory, a critical realist understanding of the boundaries that compose built space is operationalised by a mapping practice utilising Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Benjamin N. Vis gives a precise account of how BLT Mapping can be applied to detailed historical, reconstructed, contemporary, and archaeological urban plans, exemplified by sixteenth to twenty-first century Winchester (UK) and Classic Maya Chunchucmil (Mexico). This account demonstrates how the functional and experiential difference between compact western and tropical dispersed cities can be explored.

The methodological development of Cities Made of Boundaries will appeal to readers interested in the comparative social analysis of built environments, and those seeking to expand the evidence-base of design options to structure urban life and development.

New Open Access Books for July 2018

By Alison Fox, on 2 July 2018

This month we have two new open access books that will transport you to far-away places: Sri Lanka and Estonia.

On July 2nd, we bring you The Politics and Poetics of Authenticity: A Cultural Genealogy of Sinhala NationalismHarshana Rambukwella’s fascinating exploration of the role of cultural authenticity in the making of nations. Placing authenticity at the heart of Sinhala nationalism in late nineteenth and twentieth-century Sri Lanka, this book argues that the passion for the ‘real’ or the ‘authentic’ has played a significant role in shaping nationalist thinking and argues for an empathetic yet critical engagement with the idea of authenticity.

July 5th brings the fascinating Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia: An Anthropology of Forgetting, Repair and Urban Traces, the second book in the acclaimed FRINGE series. Written by Francisco Martínez, it’s a fascinating ‘transdisciplinary ethnography of post-socialist material culture and social change in Estonia’ that looks at a number of sites of interest to explore the vanquishing of the Soviet legacy in Estonia.

A fascinating read for anyone who’s ever wondered about the impact that the past has on the present.

Author Experience: Nick Piercey

By Alison Fox, on 28 June 2018

Today’s guest post is by Nick Piercey, author of  Four Histories about Early Dutch Football 1910–1920: Constructing Discourses , Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Sport History in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and an Honorary Research Associate in UCL’s Department of Dutch in the UCL School of European Languages, Culture & Society.

In September 2016, my first book Four Histories about Early Dutch Football 1910–1920: Constructing Discourses was published by UCL Press and 3 years after the first books were published I am delighted that my work is a very small part  of the nearly 1,000,000 UCL Press downloads from around the world. I am equally delighted that I have been given the opportunity to briefly reflect on my experiences of publishing with UCL Press with these milestones in view. As the figure suggests, the first 3 years have met with great success and to have such a large number of downloads is testament to the great work the team at UCL Press have put in. Indeed, my abiding memories of the process of publishing a book (if I ignore the sudden insecurities and panic over where to put commas) is the support given by each member of the team from proposal to publication. As a first-time author, the process of publishing research was initially daunting, however, at each stage of the process, members of the UCL Press team were on hand to ensure that mini-panics and concerns did not erupt into a full-blown crisis. It seems fitting to me that I should finally get the chance to thank Chris, Alison and Jaimee by name for their help in a way that I could not do in my book (I blame the publishing deadline!)

Beyond the personal support the team offers before, during and after publication, I believe that UCL Press’s new model of Open Access Publication is something that all academics should welcome. Looking back on a blog I wrote in 2016, I remain as convinced now as I was then that UCL Press’s commitment to freely accessible, innovative, world-leading publications is something that will revolutionise academic publishing. Hopefully more universities and presses will see the benefit of making new knowledge available to all and providing young scholars with a path to publication. From a personal perspective, the opportunity to publish my work in both Open Access and low-cost hard copies has allowed my ideas to spread much further and faster than they would have done with a traditional academic publishing model. In a time when academic quality is often measured by metrics and statistics, being able to demonstrate that my work has been viewed around the world in sizable numbers is a significant advantage. As more universities and funding bodies require research to appear in an Open Access format, to have a book published by UCL Press that fulfils these requirements is also enormously beneficial (having a ‘free book’ is also a pretty useful thing at conferences too!)

It is, I think, not often that such ambitious projects can provide both practical results and remain focused on providing a personal service, which can ensure that new research and researchers find their voice. I hope that I can be part of this in the future and contribute towards the next 1,000,000 downloads.

Author Bio

Nick Piercey is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Sport History in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and an Honorary Research Associate in UCL’s Department of Dutch in the UCL School of European Languages, Culture & Society.

New open access books for June 2018

By Alison Fox, on 15 June 2018

June brings adventuring archaeologists, cattle herders and a fascinating look into the British Library’s collection of Canadian photography.

Knowledge Sovereignty Among African Cattle Herders (20th June) argues that indigenous knowledge can be viewed as a stand-alone science, and that a community’s rights over ownership should be defended by government officials, development planners and policy makers, making the case for a celebration of the knowledge sovereignty of pastoralist communities. It’s a fascinating argument, informed by Zeremariam Fre’s experiences as the founding director and former head of regional NGO, the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (PENHA).

Amara Thornton’s Archaeologists in Print (25th June) has received one of the best endorsements we’ve ever read.  Dr Samantha Rayner, Dirctor of the UCL Centre for Publishing said:

‘This beautifully written book will be valued by all kinds of readers: you don’t need to be an archaeologist to enjoy the contents, which take you through different publishing histories of archaeological texts and the authors who wrote them. From the productive partnership of travel guide with archaeological interest, to the women who feature so often in the history of archaeological publishing, via closer analysis of the impact of John Murray, Macmillan and Co, and Penguin, this volume excavates layers of fascinating facts that reveal much of the wider culture of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The prose is clear and the stories compulsive: Thornton brings to life a cast of people whose passion for their profession lives again in these pages.

Warning: the final chapter, on Archaeological Fictions, will fill your to-be-read list with stacks of new titles to investigate!  This is a highly readable, accessible exploration into the dynamic relationships between academic authors, publishers, and readers. It is, in addition, an exemplar of how academic research can attract a wide general readership, as well as a more specialised one: a stellar combination of rigorous scholarship with lucid, pacy prose. Highly recommended!’

Finally, Canada in the Frame (18 June) explores a wonderful photographic collection held at the British Library that offers a unique view of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Canada. The collection, which contains in excess of 4,500 images, taken between 1895 and 1923, covers a dynamic period in Canada’s national history and provides a variety of views of its landscapes, developing urban areas and peoples.

Written by Philip Hatfield,  Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies and former Curator for Canadian and Caribbean Collections at the British Library , the book asks key questions about what it shows contemporary viewers of Canada and its photographic history, and about the peculiar view these photographs offer of a former part of the British Empire in a post-colonial age, viewed from the old ‘Heart of Empire’. Case studies are included on subjects such as urban centres, railroads and migration, which analyse the complex ways in which photographers approached their subjects, in the context of the relationship between Canada, the British Empire and photography.

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

New Open Access Books for May 2018

By Alison Fox, on 1 May 2018

From polar ghosts and country houses to how data can be used for good and digital museums, we’ve got an exciting host of new publications this month.

First up on May 1, is the Shane McCorristine’s spooky The Spectral Arctic, a fascinating history of ghosts and dreams in the Arctic. In contrast to oft-told tales of heroism and disaster, this book reveals the hidden stories of dreaming and haunted explorers, of frozen mummies, of rescue balloons, visits to Inuit shamans, and of the entranced female clairvoyants who travelled to the Arctic in search of John Franklin’s lost expedition. Well worth adding to your Summer reading list!

Consumer Data Research follows on 2 May. Based on the work of the innovative Consumer Data Research Centre, it provides the first consolidated statement of the enormous potential of consumer data research in the academic, commercial and government sectors – and a timely appraisal of the ways in which consumer data challenge scientific orthodoxies.

The fascinating Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age by Haidy Geismar follows on 14th May. This book is sure to be essential reading for anyone in anthropology, archaeology, the heritage and museum sector and beyond. Drawing on the author’s extensive experience working with collections across the world, Geismar argues for an understanding of digital media as material, rather than immaterial, and advocates for a more nuanced, ethnographic and historicised view of museum digitisation projects than those usually adopted in the celebratory accounts of new media in museums.

Next up is Fonthill Recovered: A Cultural History on May 16. Wealth, collections, politics, power, sexual misdemeanours… this one has it all. If you’ve ever wondered what kinds of secrets a country house can tell you, this is a great place to start.

Finally, our last book of the month:  The World of UCL. Publishing on 21st May, this book charts the history of UCL from 1826 through to the present day, highlighting its many contributions to society in Britain and around the world, and its rise to becoming one of the powerhouses of research and teaching, and a truly global university.

Book Launch: Self-build Homes: Social Discourse, Experiences and Directions

By Alison Fox, on 29 April 2018

Join Michaela Benson and Iqbal Hamiduddin  for the reception style launch of Self-build Homes: Social Discourse, Experiences and Directions with an overview of the book, case study presentations and networking.

Date: Friday 11 May 2018
Time: 17:30 – 19:30
Location: G12 The Bartlett School of Architecture, 22 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0QB

Register your attendance

Published by UCL Press, Self-Build Homes is available in a variety of formats, including as a free Open Access PDF, and in print.

Self-Build Homes connects the burgeoning interdisciplinary research on self-build with commentary from leading international figures in the self-build and wider housing sector. Through their focus on community, dwelling, home and identity, the chapters explore the various meanings of self-build housing, encouraging new directions for discussions about self-building and calling for the recognition of the social dimensions of this process, from consideration of the structures, policies and practices that shape it, through to the lived experience of individuals and households.

This volume comes at a time of renewed focus from policy managers and practitioners, as well as prospective builders themselves, on self-build as a means for producing homes that are more stylised, affordable and appropriate for the specific needs of households.

Confirmed speakers

Michaela Benson (Goldsmiths)
Iqbal Hamiduddin (UCL)
Ted Stevens (NaCSBA)
Julia Heslop (Newcastle University)

Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

Please RSVP and for further enquiries contact Chantelle – clewi011@gold.ac.uk

To access the book – https://bit.ly/2v1S1LP

Register your attendance

Global Encyclopaedia of Informality Book Launch Event

By Alison Fox, on 20 March 2018

Join UCL Press and the FRINGE Centre for the launch of the two-volume Global Encyclopaedia of Informality, which marks the first publication in the FRINGE Series.

Date: Thursday 22nd March 2018
Time: 16:00 – 20:00
Location: IAS Common Ground, Wilkins Building, UCL

Register your attendance

Alena Ledeneva invites you on a voyage of discovery, to explore society’s open secrets, unwritten rules and know-how practices. Broadly defined as ‘ways of getting things done’, these invisible yet powerful informal practices tend to escape articulation in official discourse. They include emotion-driven exchanges of gifts or favours and tributes for services, interest-driven know-how (from informal welfare to informal employment and entrepreneurship), identity-driven practices of solidarity, and power-driven forms of co-optation and control. The paradox, or not, of the invisibility of these informal practices is their ubiquity. Expertly practised by insiders but often hidden from outsiders, informal practices are, as this book shows, deeply rooted all over the world, yet underestimated in policy. Entries from the five continents presented in this volume are samples of the truly global and ever-growing collection, made possible by a remarkable collaboration of over 200 scholars across disciplines and area studies.

An open access edition of both volumes of the book is available to download free from UCL Press, in addition hardback and paperback editions.