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Annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)

Wojciech AJanik13 December 2018

Last week I had an opportunity to attend the 2018 Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in Boston, Massachusetts. ASEEES is the leading international organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe in regional and global contexts.

ASEEES convention.

It is one of the largest gathering of professionals (academics, librarians, publishers, etc.) working in the field of Eastern Europe and Eurasia in the world, so it was great opportunity to meet colleagues from a plethora of organisations, to exchange ideas, make new links, and discover new opportunities, and of course the right place to highlight our own work and achievements.

Round table The Global Encyclopedia of Informality: Towards Understanding of Social and Cultural Complexity at the 50th Annual ASEEES convention.

The convention lasted four days and was filled with panels and meetings. I was able to attend a number of panels, ranging from “Russian Imperial Cultural Heritage Abroad: 1917-1945”, chaired by Edward Kasinec from Columbia University, to “Copyright and Related Rights: A Look at the State of Play in Publishing, Music Licensing, and Broadcast Media” chaired by Janice T. Pilch, a library colleague from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I found the panels, and especially the discussions that followed, to be very useful and informative. I also attended a UCL SSEES and UCL Press related event: round table “The Global Encyclopedia of Informality: Towards Understanding of Social and Cultural Complexity”, which was chaired by Elena Denisova-Schmidt from the University of St. Gallen and attended by Predrag Cveticanin from the University of Nis, as well as Eric D. Gordy, Michal Murawski and Alena Ledeneva, all from UCL SSEES.

Finally I participated in the roundtable panel: “Leveraging E-resources to Foster Access for Libraries”. The panel was chaired by Angela Cannon from the Library of Congress and my roundtable partners were: Liladhar R. Pendse from the University of California, Berkeley, Zina Somova from East View Information Services and Gudrun Wirtz from the Bavarian State Library. Among other issues we discussed how scholars researching Eastern Europe are using new publishing technologies and initiatives to disseminate their output and to reach new audiences. I used this opportunity to highlight research output related to Slavonic and East European studies/themes that can be accessed via UCL Press or UCL Discovery. Finally, at the ASEEES Committee on Libraries and Information Resource Membership Meeting, I provided a summary report on behalf of the Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services (COSEELIS) of which UCL SSEES Library is a part.

The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library.

I also had an opportunity to visit the Widener Library, an important part of the Harvard College Libraries that is also home to Harvard’s Slavonic collections, where I met library colleagues working in the Slavonic section of the Widener Library.

The convention provided me with the opportunity to discuss some potential projects with colleagues. The project met with interest and offers of support from colleagues from Harvard Library, the Hoover Institute, the New York Public Library and the Bavarian State Library.

All in all I found my participation at the convention as very helpful and informative. Both the knowledge and professional contacts gained during the conference will be very useful in my work and future projects.

 

Boston. View from the Massachusetts Bridge.

Frankfurt Book Fair, October 2017

AlisonFox24 October 2017

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

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the oldest and largest book fair in the world. Founded in 1454, it has taken place regularly ever since, and it attracts more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and over 278,000 visitors annuallydownload(2016 figures). It has five separate halls each with several floors. The Fair has a dual purpose: for most international publishers it is a trade fair where they come to do business every year: to sell international rights, and meet with suppliers and other collaborators and colleagues, and that is what the first three days of the Fair are devoted to. For many of the German publishers, it is very much a Fair to promote their new books to the public, and visitors come at the weekend to see the displays of books and attend author presentations.

Each year there is a country of honour, and this year it was France. The Fair was opened by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron, demonstrating the importance of the Fair to international trade and culture. Every day on the German news there are reports from the Fair’s activities, showing the central place it holds ifbfn the country’s calendar.

This year was the first year that UCL Press exhibited. We had a small stand in Hall 4.2 where we were surrounded by other UK and European university presses, and other science publishers and small scholarly publishers. I attended for the first three days then Jaimee Biggins, UCL Press’s Managing Editor, came to look after the stand for the weekend and attend a Convention of International University Presses (see here for more).

I had over 25 meetings during the three days I was there, and among those I met were other university presses and other institutions with whom we have collaborative projects already happening or in development, such as Chicago and Cornell University Presses; other university presses for sharing of knowledge and information, such as Sydney University Press and Wits University Press; publishing associations with whom we are collaborating such as the Association of American University Presses, the Association of European University Presses and ALPSP; our existing suppliers and distributors such as NBN, OAPEN, JSTOR and Science Open; and potential new suppliers and collaborators.

Among the most interesting of this last category was a company called Baobab who distribute both print and ebooks to African university libraries. As an open access publisher with a mission to disseminate scholarly research around the globe, I was particularly keen to hear whether Baobab might be able to help UCL Press distribute its open access books to African university libraries. It turned out that Baobab has an existing service that distributes free ebooks on behalf of NGOs and aid agencies that UCL Press can take part in. Although OA books are made freely available online, ensuring that they reach targeted communities is not always easy since OA supply chains for monographs are not fully developed. So this new partnership is very encouraging and exciting, and it meets one of the key drivers of UCL’s global strategic objective of ‘increasing independent research capability around the world’ by making high-quality scholarly research freely available.

All in all it was a very worthwhile event for raising UCL Press’s profile, strengthening our existing relationships, and forging new ones, and we are already planning Frankfurt 2018!

The International Convention of University Presses

AlisonFox23 October 2017

Posted on behalf of Jaimee Biggins, Managing Editor, UCL Press

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest trade fair for books. It takes place in October every year. UCL Press had a stand at the Fair this year where we could showcase our books, and have meetings with other academic publishers and suppliers. While at the Fair, I attended the 5th International Convention of University Presses. The Convention featured about 100 representatives from more than 22 countries and each year it offers an opportunity to discuss new trends in international academic publishing. It is a great way to network with other university presses and those working in academic publishing and gain an international perspective.

The topic this year was ‘Translation: Unlocking New Worlds of Ideas’. The day focussed mainly on foreign language authors who want to be translated into English. The keynote ‘What factors determine the circulation of scholarly books in translation?’ by Gisèle Sapiro (Director of Research at the CNRS –The French National Center for Scientific Research) set the scene for the discussion. It sparked quite a debate especially around the funding for translation of scholarly works. Scholarly books are costly to translate and do not sell many copies, so there is quite a dependence on subsidies. Other sources of funding are international organisations and private foundations. Also interesting to note is the trend of scholars choosing to write in English so they will be read right away – this is sometimes at the sacrifice of publishing in their national language. There is also a certain pressure by publishers on academics to publish in English to gain access to the widest readership possible.

In the round table discussion there was a presentation of different translation grant programmes, with speakers from organisations in countries such as Canada, Germany, Norway and France all outlining funding programmes that support translation. It was interesting to hear about schemes to support authors by offering grants which cover the cost of translation and also expenses such as book launches and promotional activities. All of the programmes aimed to make academic books more visible through translations. The criteria for this funding varied – for example the Council for the Arts, Canada, base their funding on the impact, merit and feasibility of the project. Unfortunately it is a trend that there are many more applications received than grants available. Astrid Thorn Hillig from the Association of European University Presses said that university presses need to come together collectively to claim the importance of translations and support more translations.

The day ended with pitching of a number of projects for translation by various publishers. Each speaker had two minutes to pitch their potential project, offering a synopsis of the book, and the selling points which provide a case for it to be translated. All in all the day was a real eye-opener into the world of translation and was a great way to connect with international colleagues.

Collections at Risk (CILIP rare books conference 2017)

GennyGrim18 October 2017

At the beginning of September I visited the University of Sussex to attend the CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group’s annual conference on the theme “Collections at Risk”. The three days of the conference covered different types of risk, from mice and silverfish to thefts to catastrophic floods. Terrifying, but very useful!

As in previous years, the attendees and speakers were from a range of libraries and institutions, from the keynote speaker Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan, consultant archivist at the UNESCO Memory of the World project, who spoke about using the UNESCO brand as a way to promote and protect collections, to Anastasia Tennant from Collections and Cultural Property – Arts Council England, who gave an informative talk on some of the ways export laws and tax breaks work to keep special collections material from being sold abroad.

This year’s conference was largely practical, looking at ways to prevent and mitigate risks to the collections whether within the library or out and about. There were, however, two sessions that particularly stood out to me.

First, Sarah Bashir, who is the Preservation Manager at Lambeth Palace Library, shared some of the work she and her team do to look after their collections with a very small budget. It’s easy to say “prevention is key” in the abstract, but she put prevention in context. I think we all know that regular cleaning is important to prevent mould and pest infestation, but when was the last time anyone saw the powerboxes on the floors being cleaned? She also reiterated the importance of monitoring – not only does regular monitoring help ensure that early problems are nipped in the bud, tracking the results of your monitoring provides valuable data in the event of a major problem (or, as another attendee pointed out, when trying to secure funding for building works!).

Second, Adrian Edwards, who is Head of Printed Heritage Collections at the British Library, gave a talk about preventing thefts. While much of his talk was about the sorts of things you’d expect, from having a good policy on bags and coats to excellent invigilation, I was surprised at the emphasis he placed on the role of good cataloguing in securing library collections. Without good records of holdings, you can’t be 100% certain of what you’ve got. And without those same records and records of reader access to the collections, you can’t prove that a stolen item was really yours in the first place.

Adrian summed up by explaining how the best security policies are embedded in all aspects of library work, from reader services to cataloguing; I think it fair to say that the well-being of our collections generally ought to be embedded in all aspects of our work.

COASP – Conference of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (Lisbon, 20-21 September 2017)

AlisonFox27 September 2017

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

The annual conference organised by OASPA took place in Lisbon this year, and for the first time members of UCL Press were there to present a paper and to attend the conference. Now in its 9th year, COASP presents a key opportunity for publishers and affiliated colleagues – such as librarians, funding agencies, government, academics and higher education communities – to gather and discuss developments in open access for scholarly research.

This year’s conference started with an inspiring talk by Jean-Claude Burgelman, Head of Open Data Policy and Science Cloud for the European Commission, who outlined the Commission’s vision for open access to scholarly research. This included an announcement that the Commission would start to publish articles themselves and would be seeking a partner to provide a journal publishing platform with fast publication times and open peer review, along the lines of that adopted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust (both of whom use the F1000 publishing platform).

Sessions followed on open infrastructure, APCs, research evaluation and assessment and peer review, with speakers including the Head of Scholarly Communications at Cambridge University Library, Danny Kingsley, the Publisher for PLOS, Louise Page, and the Head of Open Research for the Wellcome Trust, Robert Kiley. Interspersed, were panel presentations featuring related initiatives in OA infrastructure, policy and publishing.

The conference and the society are geared towards scientific journals, and there was therefore very little on OA monograph publishing. I was on the only panel discussing OA book publishing, focussing on peer review for OA monographs, along with Anke Beck, CEO of De Gruyter, and Aina Svensson, Head of the Electronic Publishing Centre at Uppsala University Library. Many delegates commented after our presentations on how different peer review is for books than for journals, since it involves considerably more editorial development and discussion, and often makes a significant contribution towards the shaping of the overall book, rather than simply evaluating quality.

Overall, it was an immensely useful couple of days and, as always at conferences, it was also a chance to see our many colleagues and partners in the industry who come from far and wide and who we don’t see very often, and to meet new publishers and hear about other initiatives and practices from around the world. I was particularly interested to meet the university presses of the University of Technology Sydney and Adelaide University, who both have thriving OA book and journal publishing programmes. It was also great to meet the Head of University of Missouri Library’s Open Scholarship and Publishing Services, who have a fantastic open access textbook programme that has seen great success so far, and from which UCL Press’s developing OA textbook programme can draw inspiration.

UCL Press to host and curate University Press Redux 2018

AlisonFox7 June 2017

We are delighted to share the news that UCL Press will be hosting the second  University Press Redux Conference in February 2018. We will be the second Press to take up the programming challenge. The conference was launched and hosted by Liverpool University Press in 2016, and has become a biennial event.  From 2018 onwards,  the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) will be supporting the organisation of this biennnial event from now on to build on its success.

Find out more about the 2018 conference at https://www.alpsp.org/UPRedux.

The 2018 Conference will take place over two full days at The British Library Conference Centre, London on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 February 2018. Registration will open Autumn 2017. Confirmed speakers so far include:

  • Peter Berkery, Executive Director, Association of American University Presses
  • Amy Brand, Director, MIT Press
  • Richard Charkin, Executive Director, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Max Landry, Chief Executive, The Conversation, UK
  • Frank Smith, Director, Books at JSTOR
  • Jan-Peter Wissink, Managing Director, Amsterdam University Press
  • Timothy Wright, Chief Executive, Edinburgh University Press

Find out more at https://www.alpsp.org/UPRedux.

JISC Institution as e-textbook publisher project workshop

AlisonFox17 May 2017

UCL Press is delighted to be taking part in JISC’s Institution as e-textbook publisher project workshop on Friday 16 June 2017 at Radisson Blu Birmingham. This event is free to attend, and focuses on the four-year institution as e-textbook publisher project which investigates the viability of higher education institutions publishing their own e-textbooks.  Book now to reserve your place.

Projects have been undertaken by UCL Press,  University of LiverpoolUniversity of Nottingham and University of the Highlands and Islands with Edinburgh Napier University. The overall objective is to assess whether the textbooks that have been created provide:

  • A more affordable higher education for students
  • Better value for money than commercial alternatives
  • An improved, more sustainable information environment for all

During the project, participating institutions are creating eight textbooks covering a range of subjects, applying business, licensing and distribution models and reporting back on the impact, value and viability of the models they choose.

Workshop overview

The four project teams will reflect back on the last three years of the project under a number of broad themes:

  • Costs: how long did the books take to write, what were the hidden costs?
  • Benchmarking: cost benefit analysis and evidence to invest in more e-textbooks
  • Technology: the technology used including lessons learned and issues faced
  • Licensing: issues encountered including CC licenses, 3rd party copyright issues
  • Dissemination, distributions and discovery: concepts and process behind the dissemination, uptake, and wider adoption of the e-textbooks
  • Uptake: evidence of usage by students and courses
  • Feedback: Would the authors do it again, would they act as champions?
  • Implications of implementation: What are the implications for the wider adoption of the e-textbooks at other institutions?

Delegates will be encouraged to make notes on these areas and to contribute thoughts and ideas in relation to their own institutions in the afternoon workshop. This will allow participants to discuss the themes and look at the notes made by others. These ideas will help shape a proposed toolkit for institutions, which will be a major outcome of the project.

The workshop will appeal to potential authors, librarians, learning technologists and senior university staff who may wish to consider publishing their own e-textbooks. Find out more here.

London Book Fair 2017

AlisonFox31 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

12th International Digital Curation Conference

DanielVan Strien10 March 2017

A few weeks ago I attended the 12th International Digital Curation Conference (http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/idcc17) in Edinburgh along with my colleague Myriam, and members of UCL Research IT Services. The conference takes place annually with international attendees with interests in Digital Curation, Digital Preservation and Research Data Management. This year the theme of the conference was “Upstream, Downstream: embedding digital curation workflows for data science, scholarship and society”. The theme of Data Science is obviously a hot topic but I was pleased to see that sessions were nuanced about the limits to data science methodology and emphasised the importance of data being well managed and presented in order for it to provide useful insights. The attendees of the conference work in a broad range of different institutions, countries and disciplines which were useful for thinking about the different needs and services being offered to support Research Data Management.

Edinburgh_Castle_Rock

In the interest of brevity, I won’t cover all of the sessions I attended. Some of the highlights of the conference included:

“Rich Information: Hides in Missing Data” – Maria Wolters

This session focused on issues associated with missing data. Maria Wolters argued that missing data can potentially be meaningful and useful for research when the reasons for missing data are known.  Examples focused on missing data in health research contexts. Sometimes missing data in this context could reveal problems with the study design or the way in which data was being collected. It could also reveal a change in the health of the patient which was meaningful and predictive of a particular outcome. From the perspective of Research Data Management, the talk highlighted the importance of good documentation around study design and principles. This is especially important for making data reusable for others who may not have the same background information on how information was collected and why some data may be missing.

Next-Generation Data Management Plans: Global, Machine-Actionable, FAIR – Stephanie Simms & Sarah Jones

Data Management Plans were a recurring theme of the conference. Helping researchers write Data Management Plans is a key area in which the Research Data Support Officers in the library work to support researchers. These plans are currently documents which with a bit of luck are updated during the project to reflect changes in data management needs. There is an increasing interest in using these Data Management Plans to interact with other systems and automate aspects of the data management process through ‘Machine-Actionable’ plans. Using ‘Machine-Actionable’ plans may allow for things like automatic storage allocation, initial metadata for the project to be shared across other systems and for researchers to receive more tailored guidance as they write their plans. These plans are being considered in the ongoing development of DMPOnline and online tool that helps researchers write their plans. Currently, we are working on introducing a customised version of DMPOnline for UCL. The potential for integrating DMPOnline with other services and systems within UCL offers presents an exciting opportunity.

Curriculum & Training strand 

The strand of the conference focusing on Research Data Management training was useful for helping develop further ideas about developing and building on the training we are offering in Research Data Management. Of particular interest was the session on researcher training on spreadsheet curation. Spreadsheets form a large part of research data outputs at UCL so developing practical training in best managing spreadsheets could be a useful area for the service to develop in the future.

The conference was a great opportunity to gain ideas through the presentation and workshops but also through discussion with other participants. Over the next year, I hope to turn some of the ideas gained from the conference into new or improved services for the researchers we support at UCL.

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

AlisonFox7 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.