Thursday 29 February 2024

University Press Collaborations Connect People and Ideas

By Annette Windhorn, Association of University Presses – Drinks Reception Sponsor for University Press Redux 2024.

The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) embraces this year’s University Press Redux theme of connecting people and ideas. As a global community of 160 mission-driven scholarly publishers, we celebrate and support our member presses’ essential work of connecting readers with authors’ ideas as well as their connecting with each other to collaborate and advance ideas of best publishing practice. 

We asked representatives of our UK and European member presses to reflect on the question, “How does AUPresses help your press connect people and ideas?” This is what they had to say: 

AUPresses President-elect, Anthony Cond, Liverpool University Press (AUPresses member since 2013)

“The University Press Redux conference was founded originally by Liverpool University Press to connect the people and ideas involved in university press publishing in the UK and Europe. Since that time, the Association of University Presses has expanded to become a genuinely international organisation, offering that same audience a point of global connection. Liverpool University Press has benefitted from AUPresses membership in budgetary terms—particularly through participating in shared stands at book fairs and conferences—and through knowledge-sharing that has ranged from accessibility guidelines to best practice in peer review. Above all, though, it is AUPresses’ collegiality that we value: presses thousands of miles apart are willing to share with and learn from each other. No two university presses are the same but most prevalent among their common threads is generosity.”

Charlotte Mason, Edinburgh University Press 
(AUPresses member 2004-2007, 2021-present)

“At the 2023 Charleston Conference, we participated in a successful, shared AUPresses stand. Not only did AUPresses reduce the cost and stress of organising and setting up the stand, they also helped facilitate the co-ordination of joint branding initiatives for the participating presses. Librarians appreciated having a central place to meet multiple publishers and our presses collectively had a visibly larger presence, and it was also a wonderful networking and collaboration opportunity to meet and talk to colleagues from other presses, libraries, and vendors. We greatly appreciate this and all support AUPresses offers us in delivering our vision of connecting people and ideas.”

Annemie Vandezande, Leuven University Press
(AUPresses member since 2005)

“As a European publisher, we are happy to take advantage of the rich range of AUPresses resources. 

“We participate in the University Press Week blog tour and gallery and reading list, using the week’s chosen theme as an opportunity to connect with our readers as well as our authors. 

“We submit books when appropriate to the AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show to underline the importance of book design. Academic work, we believe, also deserves a beautifully published book. It is a wonderful reward for both our authors and designers to see their creations selected.

“We advertise with AUPresses in the Academic Presses issues of the London Review of Books. Witnessing our titles alongside other notable publications from fellow university presses fills us with pride and strengthens the interconnectedness of our shared endeavors.

“In addition, AUPresses discussion listservs and its virtual and in-person Annual Meetings are invaluable for forging connections within the industry. These platforms provide a forum where we not only meet other professionals but also discover shared challenges and trends. While each press has its unique characteristics, the common ground fosters an environment for mutual learning and collaboration.”

Valarie Guagnini, Cambridge University Press 
(AUPresses member since 1950)

“Working with passionate people from various universities and colleges globally over the past few years—as a member of what was initially the AUPresses Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee and then as a co-chair of the Equity, Justice, Inclusion and Belonging Committee in 2022-2023—has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career. The ability not only to contribute my own ideas and experiences but also to hear and learn from my (now) friends and colleagues is very gratifying. I feel excited about the growth of AUPresses within the global community and am exhilarated by the future of what it represents in the university press sector.”

Jo Greig, Bristol University Press (AUPresses member since 2020)

“One of the challenges for UK-based university presses is building a brand reputation in the United States, so coming together as an AUPresses collective at the 2023 Charleston Conference was a win-win. The event provided a valuable introduction to industry experts and library consortia that will help shape our ongoing business strategies; it also gave us excellent networking opportunities through the generous AUPresses community, who are always willing to share advice.  

“University Press Week also offers us an incredibly valuable opportunity to showcase our press’s impact in the scholarly ecosystem. We enjoyed planning and contributing to the event whilst using it as the perfect time to profile our press through our own university communication channels as well.  

“We regularly consult AUPresses member resources when we need a non-UK point of view on sales and marketing approaches. Very often, serendipitous conversations pop up in a listserv or UP Commons channel that will spark an idea in the team, which is invaluable.”

Simon Ross, Manchester University Press 
(AUPresses member since 2013)

“We’ve participated in a few AUPresses collaborations like the TOME open-access monograph pilot, but I see the value of AUPresses in soft benefits like being able to meet with marketing, editorial, directorial, or other peers to share ideas and thoughts on industry issues, or how different university presses work with their home institutions, or how we as a group can function more efficiently and effectively to promote the distinctive value and relevance of university presses in a crowded, competitive market. It’s through addressing these wider issues in a collegiate and supportive community that we can fully serve our authors in connecting people and ideas.”

About the authors

About University Press Redux 2024

The 5th ALPSP University Press Redux returns as an in-person event on 15 & 16 May 2024, in partnership with Edinburgh University Press. This is part of EUP’s 75th anniversary celebrations and will be held at the John McIntyre Conference Centre, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. Book your place.

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