Monday, November 29, 2010

More University Presses In The Future?

Some would be surprised to read that the Journal of Electronic Publishing, has issued a report that suggesting that there could more university presses, not fewer, in the future.

Many would suggest that university presses will be made redundant as more academics and researches publish direct or via their host institutions, but the point raised is that if the presses become closer aligned with their institutions and the academics and also view works not in terms of monographs and journals but more in terms of content then they could enjoy a revival and growth.

In 2009 the University of Michigan Press redefined itself as an academic unit of the campus library. To some this might have been seen as the beginning of the end for the press, but reality has been very different with them taking the lead in setting up an innovative university-based publishing system.

Key to the success of this approach on a wider scale will be the presses working closely together to exploit a handful of "platform providers," perhaps run by university consortia. This outsourcing and collaborative approach could handle the production, delivery and digital preservation and importantly offer the economies of both scale and scope to small presses.

It’s as if digital is on one hand offering major players to dominate and on the other a rebirth of the cottage industry with a new collaborative twist which enables presses to focus on more closely aligning themselves with the academic strengths of their host institutions and academics. The question is can this actually grow such that it threatens the smaller STM publishers?

Read the full article in the Journal of Electronic Publishing

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