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Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

By Paul Ayris, on 15 February 2018

2nd International Conference for University Presses (REDUX 18)

13-14 February 2018 saw ALPSP (Association of Learned and Society Publishers) in association with UCL Press host the second international conference for University Presses, called REDUX 18.

Between 200 and 250 attenders from all over the world joined the event. There was a particularly strong contingent of University Presses from North America.

The purpose of the Conference is to provide a venue for all University Press publishers to meet together every 2 years to consider current publishing practices, possibilities for future developments and the relationships between the Press and their parent University bodies. Many, but not all, University Presses are run through University Libraries – UCL Press certainly is. There are clearly advantages in such a close relationship and these became clearer during the course of the 2 days. Shared digital infrastructures, shared leadership, an understanding of issues common to both parties, such as metadata creation and discoverability – these are all areas where sharing adds value to Press activity.

The Conference was a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions. UCL was well represented in all these activities. Ilan Kelman from the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction was a brilliant panelist, looking at authors and their publishing experiences in a paper entitled ‘To Suffer the Slings and Arrows of Academic Publishing?’. Ilan edited the book Arcticness: Power and Voice from the North which UCL Press published in 2017. Ilan also gave one of the best academic assessments of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which UCL has signed. DORA says that the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) cannot be used as a measure of quality for individual articles. On day 2, Rozz Evans spoke in the Libraries session of the Programme and gave a very good analysis of UCL’s ‘New Approaches to Collection Management – What Might it mean for Publishers?’.

I myself did not speak at the event, but was honoured to be asked to chair the session on Open Access, with speakers from the USA and France. Peter Berkery from the Association of University Presses spoke on collaboration. Pierre Mounier from OPERAS spoke about collaborative publishing infrastructures and how his consortium, of which UCL Press is a key member, is trying to build just such a public infrastructure for Europe. Frank Smith from JSTOR described how Open Access books have helped change and develop the services which JSTOR offers to the community. This is certainly true for UCL Press, where our download figures have doubled through putting copies of UCL Press titles onto the JSTOR platform.

REDUX 18 was a great event, and a particular success for UCL Press. Lots of people at the Conference spoke to me of their admiration for the UCL Press model and the tremendous results we are getting in terms of downloads – currently 737,148 since June 2015 in 221 countries/territories. It all bodes well for the future of UCL Press and the innovative publishing models for research monographs, textbooks and journals/megajournals that we are developing to bring disruptive change to academic publishing.

Paul Ayris


UCL Library Services




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