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London Book Fair 2017

Alison Fox31 March 2017

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

The London Book Fair is one of the highlights of the year for many publishers from all over the world, and is one of two key annual publisher trade fairs, along with the Frankfurt Book Fair held in October every year. This year, there were 1,577 exhibitors from 57 countries, showing their books and services and meeting with their business partners. For many publishers at the Fair, selling rights to publishers in other countries is the main purpose. UCL lbfPress had a stand this year on the IPG (Independent Publishers’ Guild) collective stand, and all UCL Press staff spent two or three days at the Fair, having meetings and attending seminars.

Altogether we had over 40 meetings over the three days, Lara took part in two panel sessions in The Faculty area (one on the Academic Book of the Future project, and one with Ingenta and Wiley on how to reach readers in a world of overwhelming content), and Press staff attended several seminars relevant to their roles. Our meetings were with existing partners and suppliers, freelance editors and designers, our counterparts at other university presses, as well as potential new suppliers and partners. We also had chance meetings with many others who saw our stand and came to talk to us – booksellers, sales representatives, editors etc. Even before the Fair, a number of meetings had already taken place with people who were in town for the Falbfir – Jaimee (UCL Press Managing Editor) met up with the Managing Editors and Production Managers of other university presses, a regular twice-yearly meet up for sharing knowledge, and Lara met up with the Association of American University Presses Director who are helping the Press with a number of interesting projects.

At such a critical point in UCL Press’s development, when we are in the process of appointing a North American distributor, developing a new website, expanding to 50 books a year, planning a major conference for university presses in 2018 (University Press Redux 2018), participating in a European OA infrastructure project (OPERAS), developing publishing services for other institutions and reviewing journal publishing models, the Fair was the perfect opportunity to advance all these projects with key people and potential new partners in one intensive block. It also enhances visibility for the Press via the stand, appearances on discussion panels, and articles and interviews by staff links.

We were also very proud to see the UCL Publishing Studies MA students launching the magazine element of their new student journal, Interscript, which is hosted on UCL Press’s OA student journal platform. With plenty of social media promotion, publicity at the Fair and a launch at the Association of Publishing Educators’ stand, it has got off to a very promising start. It’s inspiring to see the publishers of the future in action.

Altogether, the Fair provides a very exciting and collegial environment. As ever after the Fair, I have come away feeling that I have learnt a great deal, forged new relationships and been inspired by the sheer creativity and commitment of my fellow publishers.

Related Articles

New publication explores philanthropy and the soul of universities

Alison Fox27 March 2017

From the Enlightenment to the first Apple Mac, universities have been the driving force that change the world. Now a new publication from UCL Press explores the role of philanthropy in a rapidly changing higher education environment.

Dr Gerald Chan speaks at It's all academic launch

The publication brings to a wider audience the keynote speech given by investor and philanthropist Dr Gerald Chan, who spoke at UCL’s Insiders Day in July 2016 – a preview for close friends and supporters of the new Campaign for UCL which launched publicly in September 2016. Read about the launch here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/campaign/campaign-news/campaign-launch

Highlighting the vital need for philanthropic public-private partnerships, Dr Chan argues that the independence of universities is crucial for maintaining their dual role as engines of the economy and places of curiosity driven research. He concludes: “This is not a budgetary struggle, it is a struggle for the very soul of the university.”

Read the full publication here – https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/the-research-university-in-todays-society/

Payng tribute to Dr Chan in the publication’s foreword, UCL’s President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur says: “We could not have asked for a clearer and more cogent overview of the unique, far-reaching value of philanthropy.

“It is doing something completely different. It enables great researchers to be daring and disruptive, to follow a hunch, to end in a place completely different from the one they expected, to pursue the projects that, for a variety of reasons, public funding cannot support.

“It is this work that produces outcomes that shake society.”

This post originally appeared at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/campaign/campaign-news/Gerald-Chan-philanthropy-and-universities 

UCL Press wins UCL Brand Ambassador award

Alison Fox16 February 2017


UCL Press was thrilled to win the UCL Brand Ambassador award at the UCL professional services awards yesterday. The award was made for the global reach UCL Press’s books and journals have achieved, with download figures now close to 200,000 in over 200 countries since its launch in June 2015.

When UCL Press launched, it was the first university press to set up from scratch with an Open Access model. As such, it was a brave step, and since such a venture had never been attempted before in the UK, it was hard to predict the outcome. The idea for the Press was that of Dr Paul Ayris, Pro Vice Provost, UCL Library Services, a leader in OA advocacy for many years, and the Press was the flagship addition to strong OA services and policies already established at UCL.

From the outset, the reaction at UCL to the Press has been unfailingly positive: authors have submitted proposals in the hundreds, many of them already committed Open Access advocates with few other OA options for publishing their monographs. For those early adopters, and for the Senior Management team at UCL who supported the setting up of the Press, their belief is now paying dividends, as research published by UCL Press reaches a huge global audience. Many of those reading UCL Press’s books would not be able to access a print version, either because they would be unaffordable to individuals or to local universities, or simply because print book distribution to many countries around the world is severely limited or indeed non-existent.

UCL is committed to being a force for good and enlightenment in the world, and ensuring that the products of its research are made as widely available as possible helps to support that commitment. UCL Press is excited to be contributing to the institution’s global presence, and proud that its books and authors are acting as UCL Brand Ambassadors worldwide.

I would personally like to thank the whole UCL Press team, our wonderful authors, David Price, Paul Ayris and Martin Moyle for their unfailing support and encouragement, our colleagues in Library Services, and our colleagues around UCL who support us – all of them make this happen.

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

UCL Press And Academic Book Of The Future Announce Interactive Workshop To Celebrate Academic Book Week

Alison Fox17 January 2017

UCL Press and Academic Book of the Future are delighted to invite you to an event at the British Library to celebrate the publication of the Academic Book of the Future BOOC during Academic Book week. To register, please visit: http://bit.ly/2jFfLvm

UCL Press launched in June 2015, and it makes all its scholarly books and journals available freely online in open access form, as well as in print. Since it launched, it has published 30 books and 5 journals and its books and journals have reached more than 180,000 readers in over 190 countries around the world. As well as traditional monographs, UCL Press publishes innovative digital research on a browser-based platform, featuring articles and chapters of different lengths, different formats (blog, video, audio), and which are added over time – and so the BOOC was born (Books as Open Online Content). The first book in this format features the research outputs from the Academic Book of the Future project, an AHRC/British Library funded project led by researchers at UCL and Kings College London.

The UCL Press team will be available to:

• Demonstrate BOOC live:

• Answer questions about its open access model – or anything else about its publishing activity

• Show its books

• Present its new publishing services model for other institutions who wish to set up their own

• Presentation

A presentation about UCL Press will take place at 11 – 11.15, followed by a Q&A session.

To register, please visit: http://bit.ly/2jFfLvm

The 5th International Summit of the Book, Limerick 1-3 November 2017

Alison Fox7 November 2016

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

Last week I attended the 5th International Summit of the Book, held this year in Limerick. The Summit of the Book conference was initiated in 2012 by the Library of Congress, Washington, as an ‘annual global meeting to discuss and promote the book as a crucial format for conveying societies’ scholarship and culture’.

Speakers came from HEI and national libraries all over the world and included the Director of the Library of Alexandria, the Chief of Library Services at the UN office in Geneva, the Director of Scholarly and Educational Programs at the Library of Congress, the President of the African Library and Information Association, the Director of the National Library of Ireland, the President of LIBER, the Head of the European Library, and the Chair of IFLA’s Freedom of Access to Information Committee.

Along with many short presentations of case studies of practices and initiatives at libraries around the world, including the use of special collections for teaching, common reader programmes, the possibilities of digitization, and managing university libraries in different languages and cultures, the conference offered a global insight into the changes and challenges for libraries everywhere, some common to all and others particular to a country or circumstance.

I gave a presentation on the open access publishing model adopted by UCL Press, and the growing trend for libraries to set up their own open access publishing service. I described the global reach achieved by the Press’s books and journals since launching in June 2015 (getting on for 80,000 now) and the benefits that can accrue to an institution through making its research freely available to all. I hope that our experience might serve as an inspiration to other institutions of the transformative potential of having an open access press.

Schrödinger’s Catalogue

Scarlett Parker21 February 2015


“Look out! The shelvers are collapsing!”

NO, this isn’t a health and safety announcement. It’s true that shelves have been known to come tumbling down here in our libraries; and our safety representatives do keep a watchful eye on the shelving bays that remain standing, some of which emulate Pisa’s central tourist attraction. But take a moment to reread the warning above and you’ll notice it’s referring to people not planks.

NOW IT SOUNDS MORE SERIOUS. The shelvers are collapsing? Someone had better fetch a first aider, hadn’t they? And what are the shelving supervisors doing about it?

THE ANSWER: nothing. This might sound callous, but the truth is it’s exactly what the supervisors expect their shelvers to do. If we don’t see them collapsing during their daily two hour shifts, they’re not doing their job properly. And of course they oblige. Mostly because they’re a very industrious group of employees, but also because it’s straightforward stuff. It’s not rocket science. It’s basic quantum mechanics.

POPULAR SCIENCE neatly divides us into two groups: dog people and cat people. The dog people are enthralled by Ivan Pavlov’s work. They can’t help themselves. They’re conditioned to think that way. Those of a feline persuasion, however, are open to the possibilities highlighted by Erwin Schrödinger. They know all about the cat in the box, the put upon pussy for whom the non-Pavlovian bell tolls. Some say it’s radioactive poison, others a bullet, but the net result is the same: until the box is opened for an observer, or a measurement of relevant data is recorded, the cat is both dead and alive at the same time.

THIS PARADOX exists in the form of a wave-function. Until the wave-function is collapsed – either through the aforementioned observation or recording of data – the state of uncertainty persists. And as we all know, a library is no place for uncertainty. We can’t have our physical resources existing on a paradoxical plane; but the possibilities are there. Whenever a book is returned, misshelved, or left languishing in a reading room or corridor, it is simultaneously missing and available, lost and found, in and out of circulation. This is disastrous, verging on chaos. What kind of library is this? Somebody do something…before it’s too late! Will someone PLEASE collapse the wave-functions!

“Don’t worry! The shelvers are collapsing!

THE SHELVERS ARE VICTIMS. Victims of their own success. Whether it’s the Sisyphean task of returning the collection to the open shelf, or the collaborative efforts with subject librarians to reconfigure the stacks, or the first line enquiry service they provide while being in the thick of it…they do it with aplomb; and without fanfare. And for that, we’re very grateful.

NEXT TIME you see a shelver in action – you can spot them if you try hard enough, despite their ability to blend seamlessly with the stacks – give them a nod or a wave, or maybe ask how they’re doing. Collapsing bibliographic wave-functions is a relentless task, and it’s worth reassuring the shelvers it’s not a thankless one.