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.

Could you be our new admin assistant?

By Alison Fox, on 29 January 2018

We’re looking for a new admin assistant to help support the UCL Press team! Could it be you?

This is a rare opportunity to join a fantastic team who are incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and friendly, who have already made a splash in the academic publishing world. Reporting to the Publishing Manager, the postholder will mainly be responsible for assisting with the Press’s marketing and distribution activities as well as other general administrative duties to support the UCL Press team on a part-time basis.

The postholder will play a key role in the team,  supporting the Publishing Manager, Managing Editor, Commissioning Editor, Marketing and Distribution Manager and Journals Manager in a wide variety of tasks. The ideal candidate will be someone with some marketing and publicity experience, preferably in book publishing, with strong Excel and Powerpoint skills, social media and website experience, with excellent interpersonal skills who is highly organised and methodical.

The role holder will also be expected to undertake other related tasks such as updating the website, writing and commissioning blog posts, writing AIs, and other associated sales and marketing activities. This is a wonderful opportunity to play a key role in the early phases of a dynamic new university press at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Applications close at 23:59GMT on 13 February 2018.

For more information, to see a job description, or to apply, click here

Book Launch Event: Feminism and the Politics of Childhood

By Alison Fox, on 15 January 2018

Date: Wednesday 7th March 2018
Time: 18:00 – 20:00
Location: IAS Common Ground, Wilkins Building, UCL

To celebrate the launch of Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes?, we invite colleagues, friends and contributors to join us at the Institute of Advanced Studies on 7 March 2018 at 6pm. As well a brief overview of the book and an opportunity to hear from contributors, there will be wine and nibbles to enjoy.

Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? edited by Rachel Rosen and Katherine Twamley, is a collection of 18 chapters which together offer an innovative and critical exploration of perceived commonalities and conflicts between women and children and, more broadly, intersections and antagonisms between various forms of feminism and the politics of childhood. This unique collection brings into dialogue authors from a wide variety of geographical contexts, academic disciplines, activist organisations, and theoretical perspectives. Together the contributions offer new ways to conceptualise relations between women and children and to address injustices faced by both groups.

An open access edition of the book will be available to download free from UCL Press. Find out more at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/feminism-and-the-politics-of-childhood

Praise for Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes?

“This book is genuinely ground-breaking.” Val Gillies, University of Westminster

“Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? asks an impossible question, and then casts prismatic light on all corners of its impossibility.” Cindi Katz, CUNY

“This provocative and stimulating publication comes not a day too soon.” Gerison Lansdown, Child to Child

“A smart, innovative, and provocative book.” Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

“This volume raises and addresses issues so pressing that it is surprising they are not already at the heart of scholarship.” Ann Phoenix, UCL

Book Launch Event: Brexit and Beyond

By Alison Fox, on 10 January 2018

Date: Mon 29th January 2018
Time: 18:00 – 19:30
Location: G29 JZ Young Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Join us for the launch of a new book with contributions from 28 leading experts on Brexit and the future of Europe, edited by Uta Staiger and Benjamin Martill.

Brexit will have significant consequences for the country, for Europe, and for global order. And yet much discussion of Brexit in the UK has focused on the causes of the vote and on its consequences for the future of British politics. This volume examines the consequences of Brexit for the future of Europe and the European Union, adopting an explicitly regional and future-oriented perspective missing from many existing analyses.

Drawing on the expertise of 28 leading scholars from a range of disciplines, ‘Brexit and Beyond’ (UCL Press) offers various different perspectives on the future of Europe, charting the likely effects of Brexit across a range of areas, including institutional relations, political economy, law and justice, foreign affairs, democratic governance, and the idea of Europe itself. Whilst the contributors offer divergent predictions for the future of Europe after Brexit, they share the same conviction that careful scholarly analysis is in need – now more than ever – if we are understand what lies ahead for the EU.

Speakers:

Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies, Loughborough
Piet Eeckhout, Dean of the Faculty of Laws and Professor of EU Law, UCL
Simon Hix, Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, LSE
Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford

The panel discussion will be followed by a drinks reception.

About the editors:

Dr Uta Staiger is the co-founder and Executive Director of the UCL European Institute. Her research examines the relationship between culture and politics, drawing together insights from modern European thought, the arts, and the history of European integration. She is particularly interested in mid-twentieth-century German theory and philosophy that seeks to straddle aesthetics and the idea of the political. Uta also holds the position of Pro-Vice-Provost (Europe), a strategic role shaping UCL’s engagement with Europe, and acting as advocate for UCL’s work on the continent.

Dr Benjamin Martill is a Dahrendorf Fellow in Europe after Brexit at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research looks at how political ideology and party politics affect foreign policymaking, with particular reference to the politics of Cold War strategy in Europe. At LSE, Benjamin contributes to the work of the Dahrendorf Forum, a joint research venture between LSE Ideas and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He was previously Lecturer in Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University and Research Associate at the UCL European Institute.

Call for Nominations: The University Press Redux Award 2018

By Alison Fox, on 3 January 2018

Launching at The University Press Redux Conference hosted by UCL Press and ALPSP in February 2018, the University Press Redux Award will recognise an individual, team or university press that has made an outstanding contribution to university press publishing through innovation, providing inspiration and visibility for the sector as a whole, or challenging university presses to rethink or evolve their practice.

Nominations should state the individual/team/press name, an explanation in no more than 100 words of why they deserve the Award, and the name and contact details of the nominator (who will remain anonymous unless they choose otherwise). Nominators are encouraged to consider all aspects of university press publishing and to consider colleagues at all career stages.

A shortlist of four will be formed from those most frequently nominated, and conference delegates will be invited to vote by email to select the inaugural recipient. In this way the Award will democratically reflect the views of the university press community.

Nominations
Should be submitted by email no later than Friday 19 January to Lara Speicher at UCL – l.speicher@ucl.ac.uk

Shortlist
The shortlist will be announced and details of how to vote sent to delegates w/c 28 January 2018 (voting closes Friday 2 February)

The award 
The award will be announced at the close of day one on Tuesday 13 February at the University Press Redux Conference.

Please do not nominate or vote for your own press as this will invalidate your entry.