Archive for the 'Publishing' Category

Is the new impact agenda the excuse you’ve been waiting for to use your research to make a difference?

Sharon Wright and Peter Dwyer, researching the impacts of Universal Credit since 2013 as part of the collaborative ESRC Welfare Conditionality project, reflect on their recent experience of contributing to the Universal Credit debate, to argue that impact activities can be most meaningful if they are aimed at making a difference that really matters.

Dr. Sharon Wright

Prof. Peter Dwyer

The news that research impact will account for a quarter of a unit’s score for the REF2021 research excellence rankings has piqued the interest of cash-hungry University leaders across the country.

With the most significant and far reaching impacts bringing in around £324k, pressure is building for academics to strike into uncharted knowledge-exchange territory to secure elusive high-earning 4* impact case studies.

But if the thought of money as a motivator leaves you cold – and the more familiar competing pressures of teaching, administration and research offer space for little else – is there an alternative way of looking at the new drive for impact?

“Impact activities can be most meaningful if they are aimed at making a difference that really matters.”

In October 2017, Universal Credit (UC) hit the headlines with public outrage at claimants unable to afford to eat and at risk of losing their homes because of the built-in delay of 6 weeks for the first payment.

One of the greatest injustices is that Universal Credit was sold to the electorate as a reform aimed at simplifying the system and making work pay, and as such, it was originally welcomed widely. However, design flaws are being exposed as contributing to rising foodbank use, homelessness and destitution.

House of Commons

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke, has been resistant to calls for urgent action to restore UC in line with its original policy aims. On 18th October 2017, a unanimous group of opposition MPs won the landmark House of Commons vote, 299 to zero, to ‘pause and fix’ the Universal Credit roll-out.

Decisive to the vote and the ongoing debate, were SNP MP Neil Gray’s authoritative parliamentary speeches, which used cutting edge research evidence, including our article on ‘Ubiquitous Conditionality’, alongside the experiences of his constituents to substantiate compelling arguments for reform:

“The Government should review the cuts to the work allowances, which are acting as a disincentive to work and making work pay less; review the cuts to housing benefit, which are driving up rent arrears […]; and review the cuts to employment support, which are denying help to those who need it most, and they should fully review and then scrap the disgusting sanctioning policy, which could have cost the life of my constituent, Mr Moran, and has cost the lives of others. That was the subject of an excellent paper by Sharon Wright of Glasgow University and Peter Dwyer of the University of York in The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice.” Read the full transcript of the debate here. 

How did we achieve this impact? Sharon met with Neil Gray on a panel discussing ‘Rethinking Poverty’ at the SNP Conference in Glasgow. Following this, she watched a clip of Neil’s first Universal Credit speech and let him know that our research published in The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice (including the article that was featured in a free collection at the time) backed up several of the points he had made. Via Twitter and email, Sharon sent Neil a link to our recent blog and responded to a follow-up query with additional research evidence. Neil then used the evidence in his subsequent speeches and said:

“Academic and well researched evidence on the impact of
Universal Credit is crucial for persuading government to
change its mind and fix the system as it is being rolled out.

Neil Gray

Sharon’s research and input has been invaluable for me in
setting out the case that I have in the House of Commons.
The government can try to dismiss or ignore political debate,
but personal testimony and independent academia is harder
to ignore.

I hope Sharon and others will continue to look at issues like
the social security ‘reforms’ so that government policy can
be effectively challenged and hopefully overturned, to help
people who desperately need that support.”

As an impact activity, the process was quick, easy and direct. The result was Neil’s exemplary use of research evidence for accurate and well-informed debate that continues to feed into meaningful changes to policy and practice.

“…exemplary use of research evidence for accurate and well-informed debate that continues to feed into meaningful changes to policy and practice.”

The focus throughout was straight-forwardly on the issues that matter. For us as academics, the current importance placed on impact activities offers legitimacy to carve out the necessary time to do exactly what we have always wanted to do – proactively engage with policy makers, in a policy field where robust evidence has gone against the grain of dominant political preferences, to use research to make a difference.

 

Universal Credit, ubiquitous conditionality and its implications for social citizenship from The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, is FREE to read on Ingenta until 31 December 2017.

Policy Press has always worked closely with authors to ensure their work gains the social impact it deserves alongside academic impact. Find out more here.

Please speak to your marketing contact at Policy Press for advice and support, or email pp-marketing@bristol.ac.uk

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Image: UK Parliament, ‘House of Commons: MPs debate 2013 Queen’s Speech‘ Flickr Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0

Policy Press Social Atlases on the Exact Editions platform

Exact Editions is a new platform for digital reading which is particularly suitable for researchers and teachers because:

  • all the content is delivered exactly as it is in print;
  • each print page is also a web page and is therefore easily cited;
  • the collection can be easily searched as a group of books;
  • the licensing is for the whole institution and allows for unlimited reading by simultaneous users;
  • licences are available for individuals or institutions

Policy Press is delighted to announce that it has licensed its seven Social Atlases as a collection through the Exact Editions platform:

Continue reading ‘Policy Press Social Atlases on the Exact Editions platform’

Open access: A publisher’s perspective

Julia Mortimer, Journals Director at Bristol University Press/Policy Press, explores the benefits, opportunities and challenges of open access (OA), one of the most significant publishing developments since the invention of the printing press.  

Julia Mortimer

Julia Mortimer

 

Unleashing potential

There have been extraordinary benefits from OA in furthering scientific endeavour, innovation, business development and public knowledge. Lives have been saved because medical research and datasets have been openly available. Digital access has made this all possible and has enabled research outputs to reach a broader audience beyond a paywall.

For Policy Press, and the newly created Bristol University Press, as a not-for-profit publisher with a social mission, OA is crucial in helping the work we publish have a greater impact on society and for public good.

Just some of the benefits to authors are:

Visibility & impact: OA makes research more widely and easily visible to researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

Usage: A number of studies and reports have shown that OA journal articles are viewed more often than articles available only to subscribers (See this article in the BMJ for example).

Collaboration: OA publication fosters greater dialogue across disciplinary and geographical boundaries.

Social Justice: OA reduces inequalities in access to knowledge due to lack of institutional funding. Continue reading ‘Open access: A publisher’s perspective’

Up to 80% off 100s of books in the Policy Press January Sale

sale-booksUntil the 31 January 2017 we are offering up to 80% off over 250 titles, while stocks last! This is a great opportunity to catch up with books you may have missed in your field.

Browse by subject area or discount here.

You can stay up-to-date with new books, offers and more news from Policy Press, and receive a 35% discount on all our books, by signing up to our newsletter here.

What is the future of social justice? A Policy Press event

Answers to this question were offered at the Policy Press The Future of Social Justice event held on Monday 5th December in association with the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

The Great Hall in the University of Bristol’s Will’s Memorial Building was packed with over 800 audience members who heard Danny Dorling, Owen Jones, Kayleigh Garthwaite and Melissa Benn speak about the most significant successes, challenges and opportunities for social justice.

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The exciting event began with the official launch of University of Bristol Press by Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol.

Inspiring contributions from the speakers followed, expertly chaired by Alison Shaw, Director of Policy Press and University of Bristol Press.

Amongst the many points made, Melissa Benn focused on segregation in schools and the way this feeds into a lack of understanding and knowledge about others. Danny Dorling examined housing policy, highlighting the urgent need for rent control. Kayleigh Garthwaite highlighted that allowing charity to become ‘normal’ and acceptable is not the way forward. Finally, Owen Jones reminded us that we need a collective thought process in order to solve collective issues. One of the key message of the evening was that we need to step out of the ‘bubble’ and into communities.

2016 has been a dark year but this event inspired optimism and hope. What will we say to future generations when they ask what we did at at time like this? It’s time to come together and be active in our opposition to injustice.

 

Didn’t get a chance to attend? You can listen to the event in full on Soundcloud here.

Read Danny Dorling’s full speech on the housing crisis and hope for the future from the event.

Read Kayleigh Garthwaite’s full speech on foodbanks and why we need a new conversation about poverty.

Keep up-to-date with Policy Press/University of Bristol Press news and events by signing up to our newsletter. Subscribers also receive a code for 35% discount on all our books.

2016: a good year for publishing with a purpose

It’s rare that there’s something positive to say about 2016, given the recent political upheaval, but we’re thankful that it has been a good year for Policy Press.

Alison Shaw

Alison Shaw

We celebrated 20 years, won an Independent Publishers Guild award and are about to host a high-profile Festival of Ideas event. Most significantly, October saw the announcement of the new University of Bristol Press, an exciting new venture in collaboration with the University of Bristol.

Here, Director Alison Shaw explains the developments, highlights key moments from 2016 and describes what they mean to her.

Creating the University of Bristol Press

ubp-landing-page-image

The formation of University of Bristol Press (UBP) is the beginning of an exciting new era. When I created Policy Press (PP) 20 years ago I never dreamed that we would have achieved so much. UBP represents a wonderful recognition of our team’s achievements, and an opportunity to take what we have learned into new disciplines.

With the creation of UBP we will be able to expand into new areas – economics, politics and international development, business and management and law – whilst continuing our commitment to high quality scholarship and author care. We will also be expanding our publishing in sociology, criminology and social geography under UBP, keeping the Policy Press imprint focused on social problems and social action.

“…new opportunities for our authors and their work.”

The world has changed dramatically since 1996. The world of scholarly research dissemination, teaching and learning especially has changed and, with UBP, we can help support the international academic community through these developments. Flexible formats, Open Access and digital developments are all roads we are travelling down, allowing us to offer new opportunities for our authors and their work.

We are delighted to be part of the thriving University Press sector here in the UK. I believe there is a resurgence in support for University Presses, both among scholars and educational institutions, as publishers from within the scholarly community working for the scholarly community. It is extremely important to me that we continue to operate as a not-for-profit press focused on this community and not shareholders.

The social mission at the heart of what we do

social-mission-titles

I was not shocked by Brexit or by the election of Donald Trump. I am afraid the work we publish led me to predict that both votes would happen. I believe that when people see their standard of living fall and no clear future ahead, they retract into their own communities and fear those that are ‘other’ than themselves.  There are many other factors behind both votes, but the outcome is the that the ‘left behind’ in our globalised world have made their voices heard.

I am equally unsurprised by the continued lack of care for the most vulnerable in our society we saw with the announcements in last Wednesday’s autumn statement. The gap between rich and poor is ever growing and policy, unfortunately, continues to benefit the better off. In these cruel times of austerity and political turmoil, we will continue our ongoing commitment to social change through our publishing under the Policy Press imprint.

“I was not shocked by Brexit or by the election of Donald Trump.”

Making a difference and finding ways for research to reach an audience where it can help policy and practice to address social issues and improve individual’s lives has remained fundamental to the development of the business. Policy Press will keep its focus on these social action aspects where UBP will focus on the more traditional scholarly work across all the core social science disciplines.

Winning the IPG award

ipg-win-banner-new

Winning the IPG Frankfurt Bookfair Independent Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year award was a turning point for Policy Press.

This recognition by our industry means so much to me, and to the team. It means that all the hard work over 20 years incrementally building a business from its tiny start was a goal worth pursuing.

It says ‘thank you’ to the amazing authors, editors and partners that we work with and without whom we could not have won the award. It also shows that the faith the University of Bristol has shown in us has been repaid a little.

Why we’re hosting ‘The Future of Social Justice’ event

festival-of-ideas-event-banner-web

On 5 December we are hosting ‘The future of social justice’ event in Bristol, with Melissa Benn, Danny Dorling, Kayleigh Garthwaite and Owen Jones speaking. It’s a huge privilege to bring together these speakers and the general public in a debate that I’m sure will present some hope for the future.

This will also be the final event in our 20 year celebrations and the official launch of University of Bristol Press by Professor Hugh Brady, University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President.

And the future?

I am optimistic about the future for publishing and fundamentally believe that if we continue to publish great quality books and journals well, University of Bristol Press and Policy Press will continue to go from strength to strength. We will be there to help researchers, teachers and professionals to get their work read and used.

“Every single book or journal article we publish educates and, in so doing, has the potential to change the world”

Over the next few years the team is going to grow significantly, with new staff from commissioning to marketing and sales. This will bring exciting new opportunities for creative collaboration and product development as we become stronger in our existing subject areas and emerge in those that are new. Policy Press, as an imprint, is now in a better place than ever to produce books that can really make a difference.

Every single book or journal article we publish educates and, in so doing, has the potential to change the world a tiny bit. That’s the beauty of publishing – particularly academic publishing – and of being a press dedicated to making a positive difference.

It’s in this that a more hopeful, socially just, future lies.

Keep up-to-date with developments at Policy Press/University of Bristol Press by signing up to our newsletter. You will also receive a code that gives you 35% off all our books when ordered at www.policypress.co.uk.

Open Access FREE content for #openaccess week

oaweeklogo1

Policy Press are proud to offer a range of Open Access options for our authors across books and journals.

In celebration of Open Access Week – 24-30 October – here is a collection of some of our recent open access content for you to enjoy…
From Families, Relationships and Societies:
House, home and transforming energy in a cold climate
Authors: Janette Webb, David Hawkey; David McCrone, Margaret Tingey

 

From Policy & Politics:
Against the tide of depoliticisation: The politics of research governance
Authors: Sarah Hartley, Warren Pearce, Alasdair Taylor

 

From Evidence & Policy:
Concepts and practices for the democratisation of knowledge generation in research partnerships for sustainable development
Authors: Cordula Ott, Boniface Kiteme

 

From the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice:
Gamers or victims of the system? Welfare reform, cynical manipulation and vulnerability
Authors: Del Roy Fletcher, John Flint, Elaine Batty, Jennifer McNeill

 

From Critical and Radical Social Work:
Franco Basaglia and the radical psychiatry movement in Italy, 1961–78
Author: John Foot

 

From Voluntary Sector Review:
Transforming the world and themselves: the learning experiences of volunteers being trained within health and social care charities in England
Author: Sarah Darley

 

Open Access Monograph:
Rethinking sustainable cities: Accessible, green and fair
Author: David Simon

 

Why publish open access?

 

  • Visibility & impact: Open access makes your research more widely and easily visible to researchers, practitioners and policy makers;
  • Usage: A number of studies and reports have shown that open access journal articles are viewed more often than articles available only to subscribers (See for example, Wellcome Trust, Research Information Network);
  • Collaboration: Open access publication fosters greater dialogue across disciplinary and geographical boundaries;
  • Social Justice: Open access reduces inequalities in access to knowledge due to lack of institutional funding.

To find out more about open access publishing at Policy Press, including information about our APC discounts and waivers, please see our website.

 

You may also be interested in this recent blog post: Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference


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