UCL Press: the UK’s ‘first fully open access’ university press

“The purpose of this article is to set in context the launch of University College London Press (UCL Press), which describes itself as the UK’s first fully open access (OA) university press. The drivers for this launch are bound up with the global movement towards open access and open science – developments in which UCL is acknowledged as a European leader. The first part of the article looks at these movements and relates them to the relaunch in May 2015 of the UCL Press imprint as an OA imprint. This analysis has been undertaken by Dr Paul Ayris, Director of UCL Library Services and Chief Executive of UCL Press.  The second half of the article is a personal account by Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager at UCL Press, of the relaunch of the Press. This section looks at staffing structures, business models, technical infrastructures, publishing programmes and content.  In the final part of the article, Paul Ayris draws some conclusions from the history of the relaunch of UCL Press and sets these in the context of the global open science discussion …”

Monographic Purchasing Trends in Academic Libraries: Did the ‘Serials Crisis’ Really Destroy the University Press?

Abstract:  This article describes an exploratory study examining one contentious aspect of the relationship between university presses and academic libraries: the trends in purchases of university press books by academic libraries. The study provides an empirical basis for evaluating the frequent claim that the declining fortunes of university presses can be blamed primarily on declines in monographic purchasing by academic libraries. Our analysis indicates that this relationship is not clear-cut for at least three reasons: first, to the extent that purchasing reductions have occurred, they have occurred much more recently than many accounts have suggested; second, purchasing trends vary significantly between different sizes of libraries; and third, purchasing trends for university press books are very different from those for monographs in general. These findings cast substantial doubt on the proposition that changes in university library purchasing behaviour dating to the 1990s ‘serials crisis’ are principally responsible for the current economic malaise of university presses.