The future of UK university presses in the electronic environment
2011-04-06T08:30:27Z (GMT) by
Scholarly communication of all types is changing dramatically with the introduction of electronic technologies. This new environment means that standalone print publishing risks being left behind, and as many STM journals acquired or launched by commercial publishers have been subject to dramatic price rises in the last few years, there has been much talk of ways to by-pass commercial publishers. The scholarly publishing market is fertile ground for innovation and there has been a lack of objective research regarding the UK university press. Despite the many changes that have occurred in the scholarly publishing industry in recent years, university presses in the UK that have not been in the forefront of innovation have remained minor players. The research focused on the university press, it's current situation and it's role in the electronic future. The research included: case studies that were conducted at both UK and USA university presses, along with the corresponding libraries, a questionnaire which was sent to academic authors that had published with both a university press and a commercial publishing house, and both qualitative and quantitative questionnaires sent to all operating UK university press directors. The thesis argues that university presses (in particular the smaller presses), as not for-profit organisations, are in a prime position to increase their power in the scholarly publishing system and can make changes to provide valued services to the Higher Education Community. Findings show that university presses, both in the USA as well as the UK, have faced, and continue to face change. Lack of funding and HEI support continues to make the traditional publishing role of the university presses difficult, and, in many cases, has caused the closure and sale of university presses in the UK. The university press continues to play an important role, and will continue to do so in the near future. However, in order for smaller university presses in the UK to remain sustainable, they must continue to adapt to, and take advantage of, change, recognise the value they add to the scholarly communication system and not rely on others to improve their situation. They cannot remain static in a changing environment. Through the work with university presses three potential business plans are proposed for a UK organisation of university presses, along with two business models to help the presses adapt to the changing environment and continue to play a role that is required by the HEI. Based on the results and conclusions of the research recommendations are made to stakeholders and ideas for further research are identified.