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.

oalogo

All change

OA has created radical change in the publishing industry and has turned the supply chain on its head. The target audience shifts from reader to author and publishing infrastructures all geared towards selling to libraries and bookshops have needed drastically reassessing.

Introducing OA means publishers have to implement new processes and invest in new systems – this is much more challenging for traditional publishers who are managing OA alongside their existing processes than for OA start-up publishers.

It is also certainly not a case of ‘make everything open and people will find it’. Marketing OA content is arguably more important than marketing other types of content, since it may conversely be harder to find due to problems with integrating OA into discovery tools.

Emerging from journals publishing, OA is starting to gain far more importance for books now too. Monographic and book submissions for the next REF (sometime in the late 2020s) will have to be available in an OA form. This represents a sea change for humanities and social science book publishers (to set it in context, currently only around 5% of history books are published in some kind of OA form).

Why isn’t OA free?

It’s important to note that OA isn’t the same as free (a common misconception). Free content is made available at the discretion of the publisher, is free to access (often temporarily), but not free to reproduce, sell or modify. OA content is both forever free to access and reuse, and sometimes sell or modify (depending on the conditions of the specific Creative Commons licence that is applied).

The costs of publishing OA are hidden from the reader so the perception is often that there is no cost. In many discussions of OA and the backlash against the large corporate publishers the important role publishers play in production and dissemination is often overlooked.

It’s true to say that as much work goes into publishing an OA article or book as one in a traditional format. Read 96 things publishers do on The Scholarly Kitchen for an insight. In fact, digital means we now do more than we ever have done – not less.

In brief publish OA with us and we will:

• Provide support and guidance during the commissioning stage of a product, substantially helping to shape the final product and continuing help throughout the publishing process;

• Manage peer review and feedback and offer further guidance;

• Carry out copyediting, proof-reading, typesetting and production services, all by UK-based staff;

• Provide systems and platforms to support your work eg online submission systems for journals, hosting platforms, services to help maximise and measure the impact of your work;

• Ensure your work is covered in abstracting and indexing systems and OA resource discovery databases;

• Market your book or article to our extensive networks.

Just as we do for all our traditional publishing formats! In additional OA involves extra work in meeting the requirements of funding bodies.

Who pays for OA then?

All of the above has to be paid for, of course, even with a not-for-profit publisher. There are many different financial models for OA which currently include:

Gold – fully funded by an Article Processing Charge (APC) for journals often paid for from a grant or by an institution. This works in much the same way for journals and books;

Platinum – fully funded by donations from institutions or funders without APCs or by voluntary work – eg Wellcome Open Research, postgraduate journals run by volunteers, predominantly library-funded models like Knowledge Unlatched and the Open Library of the Humanities;

Mixed models where the costs are shared between funder types eg The University of California Press’ journal and book OA initiatives (Collabra for journals and Luminos for books) which are part funded by the institution, libraries and authors and Liverpool University Press’ Modern Languages Online from Liverpool – start up funded with help from the library but also charging APCs;

Green OA policies (ie self-archiving) mean no one has to pay but there are risks to publishers‘ business models especially as the archived versions becomes more discoverable and where embargoes are short.

So what does the future look like?

Whilst OA can bring huge benefits it is not always the right publishing model for all types of content and traditional publishing methods still have a significant role to play.

Many current projects have been set up with generous short-term funding and are nowhere near breaking even. What happens if/when this money runs out?

At Policy Press and University of Bristol Press we want to continue to expand our OA offerings and experiment with new models, but in a way which is sustainable and ensures a long term future. As a University Press we want to support the research community in the best ways possible and are still committed to publishing in traditional models where we think they are necessary. For example we are launching two new subscription-based journals this year (International Journal of Care and Caring and the Journal of Gender-Based Violence) in subject areas where OA funding is just not extensive enough.

It is very difficult to predict the future with such a rapidly evolving landscape (not to mention the political earthquakes taking place) but whatever happens, a mixed model of OA and traditional publishing seem likely to coexist for the foreseeable future.

For information on Policy Press’ OA publishing see here

To discuss potential OA projects contact Julia Mortimer (julia.mortimer@bristol.ac.uk)

We offer a range of discounts on our standard APCs. Find out more here.

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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