As we noted here on Tuesday, this week the Association of American University Presses has been celebrating the second annual University Press Week, an event driven by a shared desire to remind the public of the critical role played by AAUP member presses in the development and dissemination of new ideas and new ways of understanding our world. Along with that public-facing campaign, though, the week is also a time for university presses to learn from one another, and the UP Week Blog Tour (ably organized by Indiana University Press) amounts to a veritable master class on the state of academic publishing. Here, then, is some of what we learned this week.
The Johns Hopkins University Press used the occasion to detail the extent of their global reach, and, in particular, of Project MUSE. Two years shy of its 20th birthday, MUSE now sees just 42% of subscriptions and purchases originating in North America. MUSE journals are accessible in 80 countries worldwide, with pricing tiered according to World Bank World Development Indicators in recognition of the unique needs of libraries in economically disadvantaged countries. At JHUP they also work to mitigate the intermittent electricity, aging technology, and low-bandwidth internet often found in developing and transitional nations by maintaining a website that is as streamlined and compatible as it can feasibly be.
Further to international reach, Princeton University Press Director Peter Dougherty wrote of the importance of translation in the dissemination of scholarship, and of the organized chaos of the Frankfurt Book Fair, international hub for the buying and selling of foreign rights. For Dougherty, that week of meetings each fall is a chance to take stock of PUP’s most recent offerings:
A week at a rights table in Frankfurt gives a publisher a glimpse into its soul. Just how good are we? Are certain lists as strong as we think they are? Are we current or are we yesterday’s news? Do our lists have the three Ds–depth, dimension, and durability–or are we publishing mere ephemera? The five-day stress test in front of the world’s hard-bitten foreign publishers answers those questions, sometimes painfully, other times reassuringly.
Regional publishing is not a significant element of what we do here at HUP, so it was a particular treat this week to read a collection of posts from presses dedicated to serving specific areas of the country. Especially notable were the University Press of Kentucky’s GIF-tastic tour of their bluegrass state bona fides and the University of Nebraska Press’s reflection on how a focus on “an individual chunk of the globe” can prompt new understandings of the world at large.