Academic Newsletter - April 2017

Alastair Horne
Opinion - Academic Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Alastair Horne, in association with the London Book Fair, rounds up the news from the academic publishing world


Yale makes history
It's been a very good month for Yale University Press, publisher of three of the six books shortlisted for the annual Wolfson History Prize, now in its 45th year. It's the first time that the prize, worth £40,000 to the winner, has issued a shortlist, and Yale's three nominated titles are Sleep in Early Modern England, Henry IV, and a study of the least-known Plantagenet monarch, Henry the Young King, 1155-1183; the other three books on the list are published by Penguin Random House imprints. The winner will be announced on 15 May at a reception at Claridge's in London.

Yale's new editorial director for trade and editorial books, Julian Loose, has been busy, signing his first titles for the press, including a collection of essays from Francis Spufford, and Roger Crowley's End Game of the Crusades: The Siege of Acre 1291. Both authors have followed Loose from Faber, where he was previously publisher for arts and non-fiction.

Mixed results for Blackwell's
Academic bookseller Blackwell's has revealed a mixed set of financial results. Losses of £2.9m for the year to June 2016 were up from the previous year's figure of £2.2m, but more positive news came with the announcement that year-to-date sales are up 10%, with e-textbook sales soaring by 250%, thanks to several deals with universities.

Bristol fills key roles
The UK's newest university press, Bristol University Press, is continuing to appoint new staff. Stephen Wenham and Paul Stevens are taking up roles as publisher for politics and international relations, and senior commissioning editor for economics, business, and management, respectively; both previously worked at Palgrave Macmillan. Shannon Kneis and Jamie Askew have also joined as editorial assistants, both from Taylor & Francis.

Cambridge branches out
Cambridge University Press has partnered with the US company American Journal Experts to provide a new service for academic authors, Cambridge Editing Services. Offering translation, formatting and figure preparation in addition to editing services, the standard service comprises editing by a "subject-area expert editor", while the premium service promises "unlimited free re-edits until your paper is published" - though not necessarily by Cambridge, since the site makes clear that "your article will still be subject to the same submission, selection and peer review process [as any other article] once you submit it to a journal".

Liverpool backs flipping journal
Liverpool University Press has announced a new partnership with open access publisher Open Library of the Humanities to flip its journal Quaker Studies from a subscription model to Gold open access - without author processing charges. LUP MD Anthony Cond said that as "a charitable organisation seeking to maximise access to peer-reviewed scholarship", OLH was "an obvious partner for university presses worldwide".

Academic content takes on fake news
In the United States, De Gruyter has partnered with several university presses to provide free content to libraries in nine key subject areas, including Constitutional History; Dissent, Truth and Ethics; Immigration and Urbanism; and Human Rights. The initiative will run until the end of 2017, and is intended, according to director of publishing partnerships Steve Fallon, to "enable more people to address these issues in an informed manner" and help to "combat false news sources, to consider the nature of truth and ethics, and to understand the struggles of all members of society".

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