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UCL’s innovative open access megajournal starts taking submissions

AlisonFox31 January 2019

Posted on behalf of Ian Caswell, UCL Press Journals Manager

UCL Press has launched its new open access megajournal ‘UCL Open’ and will start accepting academic research submissions from today (January 31, 2019).

It is the first university megajournal providing an open access and transparent end to end publishing model, enabling research to be accessible to everyone.

It is being piloted with UCL Open: Environment which focuses on environment-related research and will include contributions from life and earth sciences, as well as medical, physical, population, engineering, and social sciences. The model is expected to be developed and rolled out across a broad range of multidisciplinary research subjects.

Dr Paul Ayris, CEO of UCL Press and Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services), said: “UCL believes that the future of academic and scholarly pursuit is best served by an open science agenda and fully open access publishing because knowledge should be accessible to all, regardless of location or financial means.

“By establishing UCL Press and bringing the publication and dissemination of knowledge back into the academy, UCL will stimulate disruptive thinking and challenge prevailing scholarly publishing models across and beyond the university itself. We want to transform the way new knowledge is shared openly and without barriers.”

UCL first announced that it would be launching a new open access megajournal in January 2018, signalling its continued commitment through UCL Press to providing academics and students with ground-breaking research free of charge in a move that challenges traditional commercial publishing models.

Powered by the ScienceOpen discovery and publication platform, the megajournal aims to showcase radical and critical thinking applied to real world problems that benefit humanity.

The megajournal will champion the open science/scholarship agenda by openly and transparently reviewing and publishing articles that generate new knowledge, ideas and new ways of thinking.

Articles will be judged on the merit and scientific validity (sound science/scholarship) of the work. The journal is inviting submissions from any grade of researcher at and beyond UCL, at all career stages, including early career researchers, professionals, and mid to late career scholars. Editors are welcoming research from all parts of the globe that particularly focus on inter- and multi-disciplinary research.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), said: “UCL seeks to transform how knowledge is shared and applied to humanity’s problems. Only by sharing academic research as openly and widely as possible – with, for example, researchers, educators, students, policymakers, partners and members of the public – can its benefits to humanity be maximised. The traditional scholarly publication system is not fit for, nor does it intend to serve, this purpose.

“UCL Open is a further innovative step towards delivering our ambitions, building on UCL Press’s leading accomplishments in open access. Operating dually as an e-journal with a linked preprint server, accepted papers will first appear as open access preprints, then undergo Open Peer Review before the final article is published in the e-journal. In this way, the entire publishing process will be accessible, transparent, accountable, and faster.”

Stephanie Dawson, CEO of ScienceOpen, said: “Working with UCL Press to further develop the concept of the ‘megajournal’ within the context of an interactive discovery environment has been enriching for all. Drawing on the ScienceOpen infrastructure for preprints, open peer review and community curation, UCL Press is creating new ways to for scholars to interact with research results and rethinking the current publishing paradigm.”

Preprints are defined as scholarly articles that precede publication in a peer-reviewed journal. They speed the delivery and accessibility of academic research work and lead to faster reuse and collaboration by the research community.

UCL Open: Environment is now open and accepting new submissions. To read more about the megajournal, how it works and how to submit, as well as all its peer review and editorial policies, please visit ucl.scienceopen.com.

UCL Press joins Association of University Presses

AlisonFox6 December 2018

We are delighted to announce that UCL Press has been accepted as regular members of the Association of University Presses (AUP),  joining more than 140 other university presses worldwide.

Formally established in 1937 as the Association of American University Presses, AUPresses is a community of publishing professionals and institutions committed to the highest calibre of research-based scholarship. AUPresses advocates for the fundamental role of scholarly publishing in achieving academic excellence and in cultivating and disseminating knowledge.

For more information on the work of AUPresses, visit http://www.aupresses.org.

UCL Press announces first Publishing Services partnership with DCU

AlisonFox26 July 2018

Following the announcement by DCU of the launch of its open access university press (DCU news), the first open access university press in Ireland, UCL Press is delighted to announce that it will be providing publishing services to support DCU Press.

UCL Press started its consultancy and publishing services in late 2017 and has already provided consultancy to UTS Press (University of Technology Sydney), Helsinki University Press, TU Delft, Radboud University and DCU. DCU will be its first publishing services partner.

As a relatively new open access university press, UCL Press is in a unique position to help other universities establish a new press. Setting up an OA university press is a growing trend, and increasing awareness of the benefits of open access publishing, combined with national and funder requirements for open access in both Europe and the UK, have inspired several new open access presses in recent years.

One of the most important determinants of success for a new university press is to attract new authors and build a strong publishing programme, and DCU Press will now focus on establishing its new press and commissioning its first books and journals. UCL Press will work in the background to provide an end-to-end service, including guidance at the setting-up stage and with developing a publishing programme, a publishing platform, full editorial and production services, and open access and print distribution.

Christopher Pressler, University Librarian, DCU said, ‘DCU Press is a unique partnership in Irish universities between DCU’s libraries, research offices and faculties. It is a carefully considered response to change and a progression of the University’s heritage of innovation in open scholarship. Supported by a strong alliance and sound principles, Ireland’s first open access university press will ensure that Dublin City University continues to be at the vanguard of scholarly transformation. DCU and UCL share many of the same aims in terms of how universities must engage with the world and we are pleased to be working in partnership through UCL Press and DCU Press.’

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice Provost for UCL Library Services and CEO of UCL Press said, ‘We are delighted to work with DCU to establish their new open access university press. DCU is an ambitious university that shares many of the same goals as UCL. UCL Press has demonstrated what it is possible to achieve with an open access press and is delighted to bring its skills and experience to help others such as DCU achieve their goals.’

Join us for a Twitter debate: Open Access Books: The authors’ side of the story

AlisonFox21 June 2018

Hashtag: #OAauthors

Date: 27th June 2018 

Time: 14:00 – 15:00 BST

Open Access monograph publishing has been steadily gathering momentum over the last few years. Funder policies are being introduced to promote an increase in OA publishing, new OA publishers and university presses are being set up, and publishers around the world are escalating their OA output. As a result, scholarly content is now becoming readily accessible to an extremely diverse global audience, able to reach some of the most isolated and impoverished areas of the world.

Yet we rarely hear from academics and researchers about their experiences with publishing Open Access monographs. Why do authors choose to publish via OA? What are the main benefits they’ve witnessed? And how does publishing OA books and monographs differ from publishing traditionally?

In this compelling Twitter debate, host Alastair Horne will welcome a distinguished panel of academic authors from around the world and explore what it is like to publish their books via Open Access. Whether you are a researcher considering your publication options, a publisher wanting to know more about the academic’s perspective on OA, or an institution weighing up the pros and cons of OA publishing models, this session will provide a great insight into academic authors’ current attitudes towards OA.

Confirmed participants include:

  • Dr Paul Breen (University of Westminster), author of Developing Educators for The Digital Age (University of Westminster Press); @CharltonMen
  • Professor Owen Davies (University of Hertfordshire), author of Executing Magic in the Modern Era: Criminal Bodies and the Gallows in Popular Medicine (Palgrave); @odavies9
  • Professor Christian Fuchs (University of Westminster); author of Critical Theory of Communication (University of Westminster Press); @fuchschristian
  • Dr Haidy Geismar (UCL), author of Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age (UCL Press); (@haidygeismar)
  • Professor Bob Sheil (UCL), editor of Fabricate (UCL Press); @bobsheil
  • Professor Laura Vaughan (UCL), editor of Suburban Urbanities: Suburbs and the Life of the High Street (UCL Press) and author of the forthcoming book Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography (UCL Press); @urban_formation

 

“Global popularity proves Open Access is the future” says UCL Press as it hits one million book downloads milestone

AlisonFox23 May 2018

UCL Press, the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press, has announced that one million copies of its books have been downloaded around the world.

The announcement comes as the publisher celebrates its third anniversary since launching in 2015.

Its academic books – which feature monographs, edited collections and textbooks – have reached readers in 222 of a possible 223 countries and territories, giving readers in nations as far afield as North Korea and Haiti access to important academic research.

While traditionally published scholarly monographs sell an average of 250 copies per title, UCL Press’s Open Access monographs are downloaded free-of-charge approximately 12,500 times per title. This provides unequivocal evidence that publishing academic content via Open Access is the most effective way to reach a wider, more diverse and global audience.

The most popular title in the UCL Press list to date is How the World Changed Social Media by UCL Professor of Anthropology Daniel Miller and a collective of eight other esteemed global anthropologists.

The first title in the hugely popular 11-book Why We Post series has been downloaded an astonishing 227,336 times since it was published by UCL Press in early 2016.

Professor Margot Finn, Chair in Modern British History at UCL, and published UCL Press author, commented: “Our East India Company at Home volume was co-produced by academics, museum and heritage professionals and independent historians, and making the book open-access is essential to our dissemination plans. It’s a delight in this context to see that the book has already been downloaded in Algeria, Argentina and Azerbaijan as well as China, India and Japan.”

UCL Press’s pioneering publishing programme spans many of the major academic disciplines, from history to philosophy and the sciences to anthropology.

It has published 80 titles and launched eight journals since its inception, doubling its year-on-year output of scholarly monographs with the introduction of 31 new titles last year and expanding its staff head count to six.

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost at UCL Library Services, said: “Institutional Open Access publishing is transformative, being a completely new model of how universities engage with readers and with Society. In the fifteenth century, the invention of moveable type printing in the West transformed Europe. In the twenty-first century, Open Access publishing can do the same.”

Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager at UCL Press, stated: “We are delighted to have reached one million downloads and this achievement is testament to the vision and support of UCL’s senior management, the hard work and commitment of the UCL Press team, and above all to the authors who have chosen to publish their wonderful books with us. This milestone shows the power and potential of Open Access publishing and the global popularity of our books proves OA is the future.”

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris15 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

Pro-Vice-Provost

UCL Library Services

 

 

 

Brexit and Beyond book launch

AlisonFox30 January 2018

On the 29th January, UCL Press launched its new open access book Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, edited by and Benjamin Martill, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum, LSE and Uta Staiger, Pro-Vice-Provost (Europe) and Executive Director of the UCL European Institute, to a packed lecture theatre of around 180 people.

The event was organised in collaboration with the UCL European Institute (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/european-institute) and featured talks by some of the book’s contributors Chris Bickerton, Reader in Modern European Politics, Cambridge, Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies and Director of the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance, Loughborough University London, Simon Hix, Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science and Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor of International Relations, and Director of the Centre for International Studies, at the University of Oxford. It was chaired by Quentin Peel of Chatham House, and introduced by the book’s editors. A news article about the event and the speakers was featured on UCL’s homepage – read it here.

Given the highly topical subject of the book and the high-profile authors, both the editors and UCL Press were keen to publish the book as quickly as possible, and we sped up the production process to just 3 months in order to capture the wave of interest and to be as up-to-date and relevant as possible. This has paid off, as an extract from the book was featured in The Telegraph on 22nd January.

Hopefully the event and the combined promotional activities of UCL Press, UCL Media Relations and the UCL European Institute will generate more media interest, but in the meantime we highly recommend Brexit and Beyond to anyone following the Brexit debate who is keen to hear the views of leading academic experts from around the world. Download it free here.

November titles from UCL Press

AlisonFox31 October 2017

We are delighted to announce the publication of five new open access books from UCL Press in November:

New Open Access Books

Please don’t hesitate to contact the UCL Press team with any questions or queries about UCL press or any of our titles.

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.