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Archive for June, 2016

UCL Press – One Year, and 35,000 Readers On

By ucyllsp, on 13 June 2016

UCL Press infographic1As we celebrate our first year of publishing, it is apposite to pause for a moment and look back at all that has happened, before we launch into busy and exciting plans for the future. Most pleasing is the wide readership our books are reaching – in one year, our books and journals have reached a combined total of over 35,000 readers in over 160 countries round the world. That’s an average of nearly 3,000 downloads per book. In an age when many scholarly monograph publishers report sales figures of around 400 copies in print, it’s a really encouraging response.

Our open access model is proving to be very popular with authors too and we have had well over 150 book and journal proposals. Since we launched in June 2015 as the UK’s first fully open access university press, it has also been interesting to see the publishing landscape changing and more new university presses spring up, many of them also open access, including Westminster University Press, White Rose University Press and Cardiff University Press. Goldsmiths also launched its new press recently with a mission of publishing innovative and less constrained academic works.

We have published 14 books and 3 journals so far in a wide range of subjects including archaeology, anthropology, Jewish studies, urban studies and history, and

UCL Press infographic5the forward programme is building up quickly. In 2017 we are on course to publish 35 books and several more journals. Later this year and next year we look forward to publishing our first textbooks, on plastic surgery and public archaeology. We are publishing our first popular science book called Why Icebergs Float (Andrew Morris), a book that examines urban food production as a potential solution to the global food crisis (Sustainable Food Systems by Robert Biel), and our first BOOC (Books as Open Online Content), an innovative digital format that will launch with the outputs of the Academic Book of the Future project, an AHRC/British Library project led by academics at UCL and Kings College London investigating how scholarly publishing will look in years to come.

Here are a few key facts about our publishing since we started publishing in June 2015:

  • Our books have been downloaded over *35,000 times (that’s an average of 2,916 times each)
  • Our books have been downloaded in over 160 countries round the world, from Albania to Zimbabwe
  • Our most downloaded book is How the World Changed Social Media by Danny Miller et al, which was downloaded over 10,000 times between 1 March and 1 June 2016
  • Our books have been reviewed in THE, The Economist, The Atlantic’s CityLab, BBC World Service, BBC Today programme, LSE Review of Books and Wired, amongst others
  • This month sees the launch of our new interactive digital platform that offers scholars new ways of publishing their research in non-traditional formats

UCL Press infographic3There is a lot to celebrate, but most important of all is our authors and journal editors. We feel incredibly honoured that so many talented academics from UCL and beyond have chosen to publish with us, a new press with an alternative business model, and we look forward to working with them on more exciting projects in the coming years. And indeed, it is our business model that is driving our authors to choose UCL Press. As demonstrated in the figures above, open access means that books and journals are read and distributed globally in significant numbers. And what could be more important for scholarship?

In the words of Daniel Coit Gilman, founder of Johns Hopkins University Press:

It is one of the noblest duties of a university to advance knowledge and to diffuse it not merely among those who can attend the daily lectures but far and wide.

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

*At 1 June 2016


Open Access reaches readers round the world

By ucyllsp, on 2 June 2016

When UCL Press launched in June 2015 as the UK’s first fully open access university press, we did not have a sense of the level of readership we might attract. We were confident that via open access we would reach a wide readership and we knew from other open access publishers the kind of figures they were achieving. We also knew that downloads of articles and PhD theses on UCL Discovery, where UCL Press’s titles are stored, were very encouraging.

Now, just over eight months since UCL Press’s first titles were published, it is a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved in that time. The total download figures for eight books in eight months has now reached nearly 16,000 copies in over 150 countries. That number might not mean much out of context, so it is interesting to look at the figures for the individual books and the length of time they have been published:

Total Downloads @ 8 Feb 2016 Pub. date  Downloads
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: Characters and Collections by Alice Stevenson et al 04-Jun-15 4005
Temptation in the Archives: Essays in Golden Age Dutch Culture by Lisa Jardine 04-Jun-15 3629
Treasures from UCL by Gillian Furlong 04-Jun-15 1208
Burning Bright: Essays in Honour of David Bindman by Diana Dethloff et al 11-Sep-15 1224
Poems of 1890: Herman Gorter translated by Paul Vincent 02-Oct-15 747
Biostratigraphic and Geological Significance of Planktonic Foraminifera by Marcelle K. BouDagher Fadel 22-Oct-15 1396
Suburban Urbanities: Suburbs and the Life of the High Street by Laura Vaughan et al 12-Nov-15 2603
Participatory Planning for Climate Compatible Development in Maputo, Mozambique by Vanesa Castan Broto et al 13-Nov-15 1170
Total 15982

With typical print sales for scholarly monographs now often estimated at around 200-500 copies worldwide, and the difficulties of access to print books in some parts of the world, open access can clearly be seen to deliver on readership. The reasons for the variance in download figures between the individual books are numerous and can not always be easily pinned down, but can include: the size of the potential market, the promotion undertaken, associated events and anniversaries that help promote the book, and the author’s involvement in promotion.

John Byron, executive director of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, cautioned that ‘a failure to disseminate research will be read as a failure of quality’. The goal of UCL Press and other open access publishers is to disseminate research widely and these figures show encouraging results after just a few months.

This post previously appeared as UCL Press news.