‘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

 

Open Access reaches readers round the world

By Lara Speicher, on 2 June 2016

When UCL Press launched in June 2015 as the UK’s first fully open access university press, we did not have a sense of the level of readership we might attract. We were confident that via open access we would reach a wide readership and we knew from other open access publishers the kind of figures they were achieving. We also knew that downloads of articles and PhD theses on UCL Discovery, where UCL Press’s titles are stored, were very encouraging.

Now, just over eight months since UCL Press’s first titles were published, it is a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved in that time. The total download figures for eight books in eight months has now reached nearly 16,000 copies in over 150 countries. That number might not mean much out of context, so it is interesting to look at the figures for the individual books and the length of time they have been published:

Total Downloads @ 8 Feb 2016 Pub. date  Downloads
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: Characters and Collections by Alice Stevenson et al 04-Jun-15 4005
Temptation in the Archives: Essays in Golden Age Dutch Cultureby Lisa Jardine 04-Jun-15 3629
Treasures from UCL by Gillian Furlong 04-Jun-15 1208
Burning Bright: Essays in Honour of David Bindman by Diana Dethloff et al 11-Sep-15 1224
Poems of 1890: Herman Gorter translated by Paul Vincent 02-Oct-15 747
Biostratigraphic and Geological Significance of Planktonic Foraminifera by Marcelle K. BouDagher Fadel 22-Oct-15 1396
Suburban Urbanities: Suburbs and the Life of the High Street by Laura Vaughan et al 12-Nov-15 2603
Participatory Planning for Climate Compatible Development in Maputo, Mozambique by Vanesa Castan Broto et al 13-Nov-15 1170
Total 15982

With typical print sales for scholarly monographs now often estimated at around 200-500 copies worldwide, and the difficulties of access to print books in some parts of the world, open access can clearly be seen to deliver on readership. The reasons for the variance in download figures between the individual books are numerous and can not always be easily pinned down, but can include: the size of the potential market, the promotion undertaken, associated events and anniversaries that help promote the book, and the author’s involvement in promotion.

John Byron, executive director of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, cautioned that ‘a failure to disseminate research will be read as a failure of quality’. The goal of UCL Press and other open access publishers is to disseminate research widely and these figures show encouraging results after just a few months.

This post previously appeared as UCL Press news. 

Open Access reaches readers round the world

By Lara Speicher, on 11 February 2016

OA Logo (300px)

When UCL Press launched in June 2015 as the UK’s first fully open access university press, we did not have a sense of the level of readership we might attract. We were confident that via open access we would reach a wide readership and we knew from other open access publishers the kind of figures they were achieving. We also knew that downloads of articles and PhD theses on UCL Discovery, where UCL Press’s titles are stored, were very encouraging.

Now, just over eight months since UCL Press’s first titles were published, it is a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved in that time. The total download figures for eight books in eight months has now reached nearly 16,000 copies in over 150 countries. That number might not mean much out of context, so it is interesting to look at the figures for the individual books and the length of time they have been published:

Total Downloads @ 8 Feb 2016 Pub. date  Downloads
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: Characters and Collections by Alice Stevenson et al 04-Jun-15 4005
Temptation in the Archives: Essays in Golden Age Dutch Cultureby Lisa Jardine 04-Jun-15 3629
Treasures from UCL by Gillian Furlong 04-Jun-15 1208
Burning Bright: Essays in Honour of David Bindman by Diana Dethloff et al 11-Sep-15 1224
Poems of 1890: Herman Gorter translated by Paul Vincent 02-Oct-15 747
Biostratigraphic and Geological Significance of Planktonic Foraminifera by Marcelle K. BouDagher Fadel 22-Oct-15 1396
Suburban Urbanities: Suburbs and the Life of the High Street by Laura Vaughan et al 12-Nov-15 2603
Participatory Planning for Climate Compatible Development in Maputo, Mozambique by Vanesa Castan Broto et al 13-Nov-15 1170
Total 15982

With typical print sales for scholarly monographs now often estimated at around 200-500 copies worldwide, and the difficulties of access to print books in some parts of the world, open access can clearly be seen to deliver on readership. The reasons for the variance in download figures between the individual books are numerous and can not always be easily pinned down, but can include: the size of the potential market, the promotion undertaken, associated events and anniversaries that help promote the book, and the author’s involvement in promotion.

John Byron, executive director of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, cautioned that ‘a failure to disseminate research will be read as a failure of quality’. The goal of UCL Press and other open access publishers is to disseminate research widely and these figures show encouraging results after just a few months.

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.).