Getting the University Presses Back in the Game | The Scholarly Kitchen
"The 'game' in the title of this post is journal publishing. University presses are primarily known as book publishers, as well they would be: the combined output of the university press community monograph programs represents a cornerstone of our civilization. But the presses have long been active in journal publishing as well. By my count about half of the American presses publish journals, for a total of around 200. Add Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press to the mix and the total approaches 1,000. That’s about 4% of the total number of research journals, not a negligible number. For comparison’s sake, open access (OA) publications comprise only about 2.3% of the total spending for journals, and we talk about those OA publications endlessly. The fact is, though, that the university press world has had a mixed record in recent years with journal publishing. Some presses have seen professional societies defect to other publishers, leaving a large hole in their programs. I was serving as an advisor to The University of California Press a few years ago when the American Anthropological Association left to work with John Wiley, effectively cutting California’s journal program in half in one blow. Other journals have moved from other presses as well; the typical path (I have written about this before) is from smaller presses to larger, with the grand imperial embrace of the major commercial publishers always waiting for a journal or clutch of journals to add to their programs. At times the presses compete aggressively among themselves. One member of the press community had strong words for Oxford University Press, which had poached a journal from the program of another university press; she used the epithet that is tossed around so often concerning OUP: a commercial publisher in all but name. I find such moralistic talk to be amusing. This is the marketplace, guys, not an anti-war protest. If you want to stop the 'bad guys' from doing bad things, you have to do a better job yourself ..."