X Close

UCL Press

Home

Menu

Archive for October, 2016

New University Presses

LaraSpeicher24 October 2016

On 12 October, some of the UCL Press team attended the launch of the first book published by the recently established University of Westminster Press, a fellow open access press. It was a well-attended event that took place in the beautiful Fyvie Hall in the Regent Street Campus. Speeches by the Provost, Professor Graham Megson, and the Press Manager, Andrew Lockett, described the motivations behind the setting up of an open access press. Professor Christian Fuchs, described as one of the world’s leading theorists of digital media, and author of UWP’s launch title, Critical Theory of Communication, spoke engagingly about the book, which offers a vital set of new insights on how communication operates in the age of information, digital media and social media. This is the first book in the Critical Digital and Social Media Studies series (edited by Professor Fuchs), which has a promising list of titles to look forward to.

University of Westminster Press is one of four new open access university presses that launched in 2015, of which UCL Press was the first, followed by UWP, White Rose University Press (a consortium of Leeds, Sheffield and York universities) and Cardiff University Press. In further UK university press developments, Goldsmiths Press launched its first title in May this year, and declares its interest in publishing non-traditional works that explore the very purpose of why academics publish. And just this week, Policy Press (established at Bristol University 20 years ago), announced that they would be expanding to establish University of Bristol Press, with a wider remit.

This revival of interest in university presses saw the establishment of a conference earlier this year, the University Press Redux, the first conference to be held in the UK dedicated to university presses, and initiated by the Academic Book of the Future project (we look forward to its report, due out later this year after a two-year study by academics at UCL and Kings College London). One-hundred-and-fifty delegates from UK, US and European university presses – large and small, new and old – gathered to discuss industry developments and challenges. Those discussions are reflected in a special open access issue of Learned Publishing, the journal of the ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers). Featuring articles by the heads of various university presses including California, Manchester, Liverpool, UCL, Westminster and Goldsmiths, the issue is a fascinating snapshot of the university press scene and scholarly publishing at a pivotal moment in its history. Read more here.

Lara Speicher

Publishing Manager, UCL Press

24.10.16

Call for Proposals: FRINGE series

Chris JPenfold17 October 2016

The aim of the FRINGE Series is to integrate elusive subjects (‘fringe’) within the the discipline of Area Studies into existing research agendas (centre). Our belief is that reconceptualising the fringe-centre relationship can contribute to breaking down the implicit dichotomy these terms currently represent. ‘Problematising the fringe-centre relationship’ in this context means seeking insight into the complexity of particular contexts, on the one hand, and mastery of discipline-based analysis, on the other

The FRINGE series seeks to publish collective volumes and invites proposals that:

  1. Suggest innovative take on area studies;

  2. Resolve tensions between contextualisation and comparison;

  3. Host research that is trans-regional and cross-disciplinary;

  4. Build a research agenda by focusing on subjects deemed ‘fringy’ yet essential for understanding the workings of the centre:

    1. Fluid
    2. Resistant to articulation
    3. Invisible
    4. Neutral, or residing in
    5. Grey zones,
    6. Elusive in other ways.

Please contact Akosua Bonsu or visit this page for more information.

Taking Why We Post to China

DanielMiller12 October 2016

Taking Why We Post to China

Although the Why We Post project is primarily an attempt to study the use and consequences of social media, there were other broader aims. Particularly, the hope that the project would show that while the discipline of anthropology might have originally developed for the study of tribal peoples or ethnic minorities, it is also the most effective means of understanding a global, contemporary and highly dynamic phenomenon such as social media. This would be an especially important message for the largest population of the world, China, where anthropology retains a rather conservative position within the university systems and there is a real chance that it will not survive let alone take its proper position as an effective and vanguard approach to the contemporary world.

As it happens, it is hard to think of two more effective means of making this point than our two books on social media in China. In particular, Tom McDonald’s study in rural China has a consistent narrative about how even such small rural towns are actually thoroughly imbued with digital transformations and tend to have better connectivity today than the village he comes from in Yorkshire. It is a still clearer point for Xinyuan Wang who effectively demolishes most stereotypes about Chinese society – for example the commitment to education and kin – by showing the distinctive nature of not some small exception, but the 250 million Chinese represented by her study of new factory workers. The comparison between these two books, Social Media in Rural China and Social Media in Industrial China, showcases the diversity of contemporary Chinese society and how can we better grasp the nuance and depth of a changing society through a contextualised understanding of the evolving nature of Chinese social media.

IMG_9462_2-496x279

To share our findings we organised a trip to four major centres (Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai) and nine separate institutions. At a major anthropology and sociology department such as in Hong Kong University, Sun Ya-sen University in Guangzhou, and the Chinese Academy of Social Science in Beijing we could highlight our key point about this potential for anthropology itself in working with dynamic and shifting new media. But it was equally important to talk to Communication Departments such as at the Baptist University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Communication University of China in Beijing so that students in that discipline were exposed to the potentials of ethnographic fieldwork. Our audiences ranged from arts and humanities at NYU in Shanghai, to philosophy students in Fudan University of Shanghai. We also visited the People’s Press who had published Xinyuan’s translation of the Digital Anthropology book and where I realised that my fellow authors included both the present and all the past presidents of China.

IMG_9522-496x372

We carried out a live online book launch from Hong Kong (which you can watch again here) and opened an exhibition about the project at Hong Kong University where Tom now teaches. We also made sure that all the films on the Chinese version of our website were stored on UCL servers, rather than on YouTube which is blocked in China, so that students in mainland China could access them. Our trip attracted interest from Chinese local media including two of the largest Chinese online news agents, PengPai news and Tencent News, as well as the most popular English TV channel in Shanghai, Shanghai ICS, helping our message to reach more than ten thousand Chinese people within a few days.

IMG_9560_2-496x372

On a more personal level there were two striking responses. One was the delight of audiences when they realised that Tom would be lecturing in Chinese which was important to convince them that he could be an effective fieldworker in China. The other was the way young female students were clearly inspired by the elegant and articulate but also poignant presentation by Xinyuan and they made clear that they didn’t just want to emulate our way of working, but saw her as a model for what women in China could become in the future.

This post, by Daniel Miller, originally appeared on the Global Social Media Impact Study blog and is reposted with permission.

Open Access Drop-In Session for UCL Staff

AlisonFox10 October 2016

The UCL Open Access Team and UCL Press would like to invite all UCL staff to a drop-in session to find out more about open access options and support available at UCL.

Find out more and register your interest at uclopenaccess2016.eventbrite.co.uk

15:00-16.45 Drop-in Session

Drop in to meet the Open Access Team and UCL Press to learn more about the HEFCE mandate for REF2020 and publishing with UCL Press, the UK’s first fully open access university press.

Staff from UCL Open Access and UCL Press will be on hand to show you:

  • How to upload your paper to RPS for REF open access
  • The process of applying to have gold APCs paid for by the UCL OA funding
  • How to promote your book/journal via social media
  • The submissions process to publish a book with UCL Press
  • Display of UCL Press books published so far

16.45-17:00

Presentation for the 10 millionth download from UCL Discovery to Professor Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology).

17:00-18.30 Speakers and book launch / drinks reception

Speakers

  • Andrew Morris, Honorary Fellow at UCL IOE, and author of Why Icebergs Float: Explaining Science in Everyday Life.
  • Nicholas Gold, Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science

Find out more about the impact of open access publishing on the careers of guest speakers, and about UCL’s leadership in the open access arena.

Join UCL Press for the launch of Why Icebergs Float: Explaining Science in Everyday Life, a brand new open access book that explains how science can solve life’s mysteries.