Posts Tagged 'publishing'

Open access: A publisher’s perspective

Julia Mortimer, Assistant Director of Policy Press/University of Bristol 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 University of Bristol 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’

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.

Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference

In this guest blog post about the publication of her book ‘Being a scholar in the digital era‘ with Jessie Daniels, Polly Thistlethwaite reflects on why she believes information should be able to be widely accessed and shows how publishers can help to make this happen.

Chapter 2 of Being a scholar in the digital era is free to download here (pdf), or from the Policy Press website during October. Subsequent chapters will be available over the coming months.

polly-thistlethwaite

Polly Thistlethwaite

Jessie Daniels’ second book Cyber Racism came out in 2009, published by an academic press that sold books mostly to academic libraries in paper and ebook formats that were entirely closed, locked behind paywalls. Interested readers had to either buy a copy or be affiliated with university libraries to get it.

Then, Jessie discovered the whole world of ‘torrents’. This is the practice that students call ‘ripping’ but what publishers call ‘illegal downloads’. She notified her publisher about the unauthorized downloads, but the publisher, to her surprise, didn’t intervene. She scoured the websites to find contacts herself and emailed site owners to take down unauthorized copies of her book. One person in the UK had posted the book on his blog. Jessie contacted the administrator of the blog network to point to this violation of their terms of service and asked that the copy be taken down. It was. Time passed…
Continue reading ‘Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference’

It’s Open Access Week!

Policy Press has been offering authors the chance to make their articles Open Access for a number of years now. Our journals are all hybrid, which means authors can pay to have their articles made free under a CCBY licence of their choosing, but they don’t have to. Most of our authors choose not to (that probably says something about funding into social science research…), but we are seeing increases year on year.

You can see all our Open Access articles at http://www.policypress.co.uk/OAarticles.asp.

padlock-146537_1280The Open Access movement has shifted considerably in the last ten years, with governmental mandates coming into force around the world supporting the notion that publicly funded research should be free to read. Most if not all publishers now offer Open Access in some form, whether its hybrid (like us), or making journals completely Open Access. Most of the wholly Open Access journals are within the scientific, technical and medical (STM) disciplines, as this tends to be where the majority of funding resides. There remains lots of controversy about almost every aspect of Open Access, with strong arguments on all sides.

Policy Press offers two Open Access options, either Gold or Green. Gold is the one you pay for, and makes the version of record free at point of use. Green is where the article remains behind a paywall, but the author can post a version on a subject or institutional repository after a short embargo period. Green is free, and all our authors can take advantage of this option. You can find more information on our Open Access policies at http://www.policypress.co.uk/OA.asp.

We’re also delighted to announce we’re now able to publish monographs on an Open Access basis. Costs are determined on a case by case basis, so if you’re interested in finding out more please email our Assistant Director Julia Mortimer (julia.mortimer@bristol.ac.uk).

To find out more about our journals, check out our website here and why not look at the individual journal pages to find out more about our institutional free trials…

Can ugly fonts help us to learn and remember?

A new study has refuted the suggestion that we learn better when information is written in an easy to read font. Research carried out by psychologists from Princeton tested schoolchildren’s ability to remember information presented to them in both a conventional and less legible font. Results showed that a significant number of those tested could recall more information from the passages which were written in the unusual typefaces rarely used in text books such as Comic Sans Italicized.

The study suggested that introducing ‘disfluency’ by making information superficially harder to understand deepens the process of learning and leads to better retention. The research raises questions over how much fonts like Times New Roman and Arial, which are used in the majority of academic books, help readers revise for tests.

American author and psychologist Jonah Lehrer had written about the idea of disfluency in his Wired.com blog before the research was published. He believes that the study showed the whole history of typography had missed the point when it comes to learning and that e-Readers like the Kindle are making matters worse.

Lehrer said:

“When we see a font that is easy to read we’re able to process that in a mindless way, but when we see an unfamiliar font, one full of weird squiggles, we have to work a little bit harder. That extra effort is a signal to the brain that this might be something worth remembering.”

He also has wider concerns:

“My larger anxiety has to do with the sprawling influence of technology. Sooner or later, every medium starts to influence the message. I worry that, before long, we’ll become so used to the mindless clarity of e-ink – to these screens that keep on getting better – that the technology will feedback onto the content, making us less willing to endure harder texts. We’ll forget what it’s like to flex those dorsal muscles, to consciously decipher a literate clause. And that would be a shame, because not every sentence should be easy to read.”

The research “Fortune favours the Bold (and the Italicised): Effects of disfluency on educational outcomes” was conducted by Connor Diemand-Yauman, Daniel M. Oppenheimer and Erikka B. Vaughan and published in the Princeton journal Cognition (no doubt in a fairly legible font!).

Read more of Jonathan Lehrer’s related blogposts here:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/01/the-benefit-of-ugly-fonts/

and here:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/the-future-of-reading-2/

What do you think? Should publishers be enlisting the services of David Carson as Lehrer suggests??

Julia Mortimer, Assistant Director, The Policy Press


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