French historian Roger Chartier, speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair last month, to an international gathering of academic presses about the history and future of scholarly monograph publishing. His comments proved both insightful and provocative. Read more.
In collaboration with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and the Canadian Literature Centre, the University of Alberta Press launched Regenerations/Régénérations: Canadian Women’s Writing / Écriture des femmes au Canada. Almost 40 of us enjoyed Marie Carriere’s introduction of Patricia Demers, who then said a few words about the book. Both are co-editors of the collection of sixteen essays exemplifying the progress of interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and publishing surrounding Canadian women’s writing.
Then Marie introduced the two mentors of the Blue Pencil Café, who read their work to the delight of all present. Thea Bowering read from her new novel, Love at Last Sight, and Kimmy Beach read from her first collection of poetry, Nice Day for Murder, which celebrated its 20-year anniversary of publication that week.
There was a door prize of two tickets to the closing night of the Festival of Ideas, followed by a wine and cheese reception with lively conversation and book buying.
In 2014, the University of Alberta Press introduced a new concept in academic publishing, the Scholar-in-Residence. The purpose was to bring a professor’s voice to strategic planning at the Press and among administrators at the University of Alberta concerned with the future of scholarly publishing. Our first Scholar-in-Residence is Colleen Skidmore, a professor of the history of photography and a former senior administrator at the University of Alberta, most recently serving as Associate Vice-President (Academic).
The publishing and library sectors of public universities in Canada are engaged in deep and lively debates. Issues include present tensions and future forces on the timely and accessible dissemination of research findings, the evolving roles and structures of research libraries, expectations for new technologies, open access to and timely distribution of research findings, copyright and fair dealing, financial sustainability in academic publishing, and the future of the scholarly monograph.
Professor Skidmore wants to share what she is learning and thinking about the issues at play in Canadian scholarly monograph publishing with her colleagues: faculty, students, and independent scholars, as well as acquisitions editors at U of A and beyond. The blog, which launches today during University Press Week 2014, is one aspect of that work. Researcher-authors, students, and editors are the drivers of the future of book-length study, argument, and analysis that has been essential in the past to knowledge creation and social transformation. The debate about what is happening and how we will get there is of critical importance to the academy and one that UAP believes needs to be fostered.
Academic publishers from around the world gather each October at the Frankfurt Book Fair to buy and sell international publishing rights and licences, to seek information and compare notes on new publishing technologies and services, and to explore means by which to develop and improve their roles and value in the university enterprise to disseminate new knowledge. The modern Frankfurt Book Fair, established in 1949, is an ideal venue for this exchange. It attracts over 7000 exhibitors, including academic presses, trade publishers, and technology vendors, from 100 countries, as well as nearly 300,000 visitors and 10,000 journalists over its five-day assembly.
In 2014, the second annual, multilingual International Convention of University Presses took place during the fair. Latin American university press networks initiated the International Convention with the goal of establishing links among national and regional university press networks around the world. A roundtable discussion explored the purpose and potential of an international association of university press associations. Taking up the question were representatives from eight countries: Argentina, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico, France, South Africa, the United States, and Canada. Five Canadian university presses (Alberta, Ottawa, Wilfred Laurier, McGill-Queen’s, UBC) attended as members of the Association of Canadian University Presses (ACUP). Linda Cameron, Director of the University of Alberta Press and Past President of ACUP, represented Canada on the roundtable panel.
Among the issues debated, three stood out: 1) with the internationalization of knowledge and the emergence of a global knowledge economy, academic publishing needs better infrastructure to enable and support more translation; 2) more international publishing partnerships are needed to facilitate the wider dissemination of knowledge; and, 3) in support of both of these two issues, a shared understanding of peer review practices is needed, and perhaps international standards for peer review need to be articulated.
Linda Cameron proposed a well-received concrete first step: that group members establish a database of grants and other funding support available in each country for enabling translation into other languages. Later sessions on support for international awareness of the humanities as well as open access cited such an initiative as the type that an international network of university press associations could undertake to effectively support the international flow of knowledge.