University Press Roundup: Special UPWeek Edition


Welcome to our University Press Roundup! As many of you know, this week was University Press Week, and many of the blogs we normally cover here participated in the #UPWeek Blog Tour, so we are making this the Special UPWeek Edition of our normal roundup. Each of the days of the UPWeek Blog Tour had a theme for those blogs posting, which is great for a roundup: it allows us to organize the posts both chronologically and thematically. We are highlighting quite a few posts, as one might expect, but all are well worth reading. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

Monday: Meet the Press
The UP blogs writing on Monday provided staff profiles and interviews in an effort to give a more detailed insight into how UPs do business, as well as to recognize the outstanding contributions to the scholarly process made by press employees.

McGill-Queen’s Press interviewed editors Kyla Madden and Jonathan Crago, Penn State Press interviewed “invisible” manuscript editor John Morris, the University of Illinois Press interviewed Editor-in-Chief Laurie Matheson, the University of Hawai’i Press profiled Journals Manager Joel Bradshaw, the University of Missouri Press introduced new director David Rosenbaum, the University Press of Colorado profiled managing editor Laura Furney, and the University Press of Florida interviewed editor Siam Hunter.

Tuesday: Future of Scholarly Communication
The ever-changing ways scholarly ideas are shared is a topic that academic publishers necessarily spend a lot of time considering. The Tuesday blog tour posts reflect the ways that different UPs look at the problems and opportunities created by the rapidly changing publishing world.

At the Duke University Press blog, Priscilla Wald discusses the changes in speed of communication that are offered by technological advancement. For Jeffrey Schnapp at the Harvard University Press Blog, the important question is a simple one: “What is a scholarly book?” Stanford University Press Director Alan Harvey looks to the future and discusses “the democratizing effect of technology” in publishing. Technological advancements and shrinking budgets have strained the relationships between university presses and university libraries, but Temple University Press Director Alex Holzman foresees a future where presses and libraries work together.

At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, editor Danielle Kasprzak takes a look at new “short” types of academic publishing, including the new UMP Forerunners series. At the University of Texas Press blog, Assistant Editor-in-Chief Robert Devens thinks that the future of scholarly publishing lies in relationships close to home as well as connections around the world. Finally, the University of Virginia Press blog features Holly Shulman’s take on the role of UPs in the digital humanities.

Wednesday: Subject Area Spotlight
The Wednesday post theme gave UPs an opportunity to highlight one or more of the academic fields in which they publish.

At the MIT Press blog, editorial director Gita Manaktala discusses the way the internet offers new venues for aural history, and interviews historian Emily Thompson about her Roaring Twenties website. Mary Elizabeth Braun claims that Oregon State University Press is proud of the way their books help to define the Pacific Northwest by publishing regional books in a variety of subjects. At the Texas A&M Press blog, Texan historian Charles Porter discusses the press’s commitment to publishing Texas history.

The University of Georgia is a proud publisher in the field of geography, and in their blog tour post, author Nik Heynen discusses the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series. Few presses can effectively publish in all subject areas, argues Penn Press Director Eric Halpern. Instead, Penn Press tries to build on the foundations laid by the press in the past. At the University of Toronto Press blog, Sales and Marketing Manager Brian MacDonald talks about the press’s long and acclaimed commitment to publishing in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. And at the WLU Press blog, series editor Cheryl Lousley tells the story of WLU’s Environmental Humanities series.

Thursday: The Importance of Regional Publishing
University Presses are often the standard bearers in regional publishing; while trade publishers can be leery of publishing academic books with a geographically limited audience, UPs recognize that regional publishing often is an important part of their mission and their relationship with their home universities.

Our neighbors at Fordham University Press do an excellent job of publishing books on both New York City and New York State, and Press Director Fredric Nachbaur explains his focus on regional publishing in his blog tour post. In their post, the LSU Press blog celebrates the benefits of being a regional publisher. Chuck D’Imperio has published six regional books (and a number of blog posts) with Syracuse University Press, and in a guest post he explains why he is proud to be a regional author. The University of Alabama blog delves into some of the economic realities of regional publishing, and explains why academic presses are crucial in the process of regional publishing.

At the University of Nebraska Press blog, Editor-in-Chief Derek Krissoff discusses how the best regional academic books “tend to be not simply about a particular place but about place-making more generally.” Mark Simpson-Vos, the editorial director at the UNC Press, argues that regional publishing is a “part of our institutional DNA.” Meanwhile, University Press of Kentucky regional editor Ashley Runyon claims that the reason UPK is such a good regional publisher is simple: nobody understands Kentucky like they do. And last but not least, University Press of Mississippi Marketing Director Steve Yates believes that that fact that regional publishing gives a voice to writers and scholars who would otherwise be overlooked is enormously important.

Friday: The Global Reach of University Presses
Today, the final day of the UPWeek Blog Tour, gave UPs a chance to discuss the international nature of their books, their authors, their subjects, and their missions.

We here at Columbia UP are proud of our long tradition of international publishing, reflected in both our own book list and in our international distribution client presses. Our neighbors at NYU Press also have a deep commitment to global scholarship, and Chip Rosetti highlights their Library of Arabic Literature series. Yale University Press has an acquiring office in London, and in his blog post, Ivan Lett discusses the value of acquiring overseas. The Georgetown University Press blog gives a rundown of GUP’s many international series and subject areas, giving particular attention to their popular Georgetown Languages imprint.

Indiana University Press has launched an initiative in collaboration with the IU Center for the Study of Global Change called Framing the Global, and Rebecca Tolen explains the value of studying the changing world as a whole. JHU Press takes a different tack in approaching the idea of “global reach”: they provide a number of short posts on the topic from different areas in the press. Translation is a crucial part of creating a global scholarly conversation, and Princeton University Press Director Peter Dougherty reflects on why they are such an important part of what UPs do. And finally, the University of Wisconsin Press blog provides a conversation between press director Sheila Leary and Jan Vansina, one of the world’s foremost historians of Africa.

Whew! Thanks again for reading this week’s marathon UPWeek blog tour roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

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