Academic Publishing News Roundup: November 2015

IMG_2944 copyAcademic journal publisher profits might not last forever

Justin Fox’s article at Bloomberg View acknowledges the profits made by journal publishers who don’t have to pay for the content they publish. It examines academic publishing’s history and how journals have taken advantage of the monopoly environment to charge higher prices for journal subscriptions. According to Fox, the open access movement may be changing this model and could replace traditional, large publishers.

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Misconceptions about open access still abound

The University of California (UC) press viewed open access as essential to the future of publishing when they began considering it several years ago. Today digital monographs remain relevant to humanities and social sciences, and the UC Press hopes to ‘reinvigorate’ it with a new open access model. But educating and winning over researchers to open access publications is crucial to helping them see its benefits. Some factually erroneously view open access journals as ‘vanity publications in which one must pay to publish’.

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Richard Fisher addresses the monograph’s future

In two guest posts for the Scholarly Kitchen, Richard Fisher examines topics with a transatlantic appeal including the permanence of imprints, technological change and monographic demand. Fisher addresses misunderstandings and miscommunications between researchers and publishers.

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‘Ebook sales declining’ is not the whole story

The sixth annual Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Public Libraries, released last month, indicates that ebooks are becoming more entrenched in public libraries. Although the survey expects that a small percentage of libraries will never offer ebooks, it notes that 94 percent of libraries currently provide ebooks to users. This is down one percent from the previous year, but the article points out that ‘Ebook sales declining’ is a misleading statement.

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What do authors really expect from peer review?

Results from a survey sent to hundreds of Taylor and Francis authors show that most authors are still largely supportive of the concept of peer reviewing. However, Phil Davis, the author of this review, finds that it is not the concept of peer reviewing that needs to be evaluated, but rather the ‘toolbox’ of peer reviewing that must be evaluated.

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How can scientific publishing become more fair?

The use of publication consultants among scientific publishers has vastly increased over the years, leading to the question of why and how these consultants are used and cited. The Conversation’s article discusses the notion that the use of outside help in publishing should be transparent within the work itself in order to create more fair and transparent publishing system.

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Five open access predictions for 2016

Founder and director of Research Consulting Rob Johnson lists five important and thoughtful predictions on the future of open access publishing. Within this, Johnson lists the notion that peer reviewer identities will become more transparent, as well as interactions among authors, editors, and reviewers, a convergence on standard identifiers will emerge, and libraries will become more involved with the process of academic publishing itself.

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Academic Publishing News Roundup: October 2015

IMG_2944 copyColumbia University Press partners with Russian translation nonprofit

The literary nonprofit Read Russia, which seeks to present Russian classics, modern words, and genre fiction to English-speaking audiences, has partnered with Columbia University Press to publish 125 Russian titles into English. Overlook Press was previously attached to the 10-year project. An editorial board will choose the titles and translators. Executive director of Read Russia Peter Kaufman expects the first set to be released by December 2016.

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Are publishers really ‘hoodwinking’ academics?

Guardian published the story of an anonymous academic who claimed publishers ‘hoodwinked’ academics to write books unlikely to be widely read. An anonymous publisher explains commission motivation and combats the idea that they are ‘unseemly’.

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Why Conference Book Exhibits Persist

The online marketplace may play an important role in the academic publishing arena, but Greg Britton (editorial director of Johns Hopkins University Press) insists that ‘book exhibits persist because they are more than just places to buy a book’. These reasons include acting as a window into an academic discipline’s current state of affairs, a way to determine the impact of a book, and being a public marketplace itself. And, of course, the conference book exhibit is also a way to sell books.

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What Is “Publishing” if Even a Library Can Do It?

Hundreds of libraries are engaged in publishing, but few of these libraries have large staffing resources or paid product types. The Scholarly Kitchen posits that library publishing ‘will do everything it is setting out to do except to replace the publishing models that are based on end-user demand’ although there is a possibility of an increased role in future publishing dominated by open access.

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Academics: leave your ivory towers and pitch your work to the media

Could academics use a bit of journalism skills to get their points across to wider audiences? Lu Qi of Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health co-authored a headline-grabbing study linking spicy foods to longevity, yet he remains unknown by the public. This article explores the challenges of writing for the public, including first-person writing and speaking in public.

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Think. Check. Submit. (How to Have Trust in Your Publisher)

October 1 saw the launch of the “Think. Check. Submit” campaign, which aims to protect researchers from “predatory” publishers. The campaign includes a checklist of what to watch for, including who publishers a journal, if you have read it before, and if your colleagues recognize it.

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AUTHOR EVENT: A Conversation with Ralf Fücks

Speaking at an event hosted by Nesta on Friday, economist and green thinker Ralf Fücks presented ideas from his new book Green Growth, Smart Growth: A New Approach to Economics and the Environment. His casual yet enthusiastic manner belied the fact that was giving this presentation in English for the first time.

It was an opportunity for the former Green Party politician to share his vision based on his vast experience in areas including sustainable development and foreign policy. In Green Growth, Smart Growth, Fücks calls for a paradigm shift to ‘smart growth’ using efficient technology, smart energy policy, and proactive innovation.

Ralf Fücks

Fücks and Westlake at Nesta

In his lecture, Fücks focused on the dark side of growth and environmental overstretch, the energy revolution, and the ‘Green New Deal’. He emphasised the importance of decoupling growth from environmental degradation, focusing on efficiency and energy revolutions. Fücks also discussed the concept of a ‘Moral Economy’ based on fair trade, sustainability, and changing lifestyles.

In the Q&A session at the end, Fücks took three questions, including one on the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), saying that the outcome of it will matter but only if the necessary steps are taken to make it work, including providing funds for developing countries.

Ralf Fuecks

‘Green Growth, Smart Growth’

Conversations and discussions continued in the foyer after lecture over coffee and tea, with Fücks happily joining in.

Executive Director of Nesta’s Policy and Research Team Stian Westlake chaired the event, hosted by Nesta in partnership with Anthem Press and the Heinrich Böll Foundation (Berlin).

For more photos, check out Facebook.

Related: ‘Green Growth, Smart Growth’ Q&A with Ralf Fücks

Here’s How to Help Manage Local Climate Change Risks

This is a guest post by Professor Lawrence Susskind, Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative, the Director of the MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program (MSCP) and co-director of the Water Diplomacy Workshop.

Climate Change RisksWe’ve spent far too much time thinking about the global causes of climate change, and not nearly enough worrying about the local impacts that climate change is already having on coastal communities. The distinction is important. Most of the people pushing for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are environmentalists or experts worried about future generations. But there is a very immediate constituency – the people being hit with higher costs for insurance, water and electricity, and those facing substantial property losses or a drop in business income today because of increased flooding and water shortages.

People who live in a coastal community or on a river nearly anywhere in the world are a lot more worried about what’s happening right now, than what might happen to future generations if we don’t limit greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., China, India and elsewhere.  Climate change means too much water or not enough water in the wrong place at the wrong time! It means deadly heat waves. It means radical changes in natural places, animal and plant life and the onset of new diseases.

Our new book, Managing Climate Risks in Coastal Communities: Readiness, Engagement and Adaptation (by Lawrence Susskind, Danya Rumore, Carri Hulet and Patrick Field) tells the story of four coastal communities trying to take climate change-related risks seriously. What they are doing — and what we have helped them learn from their efforts — can help other cities and towns fast-forward the adoption of climate risk management measures that everyone agrees on.

Here are seven important things to know about this climate change project:

1. What we did

The “we” in this story is the New England Climate Adaptation Project (NECAP), a partnership based at the MIT Science Impact Collaborative and the not-for-profit Consensus Building Institute. Our close partners included the National Estuarian Research Reserve System, the University of New Hampshire, and four New England coastal communities. We prepared four Stakeholder Assessments—one for each partner town in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. These involved interviews with several dozen officials, activists, business leaders and scientists. The scientists on our team prepared a local climate change forecast (estimating likely temperature, precipitation and sea level changes in the near term, mid-term and long-term) using downscaled regional climate models and long-term data from local meteorological measuring stations.

We wanted to know if this approach to enhancing community readiness to address climate-related risks works.

With all this information in hand, we developed tailored role-play simulation (RPSs). These are “serious games” that ask participants to imagine that they are working in a community a lot like their own, trying to figure out what to do about possible climate risks. We organized several workshops in each of our four partner communities at which more than 100 – 150 people played the games in each place. Workshops were co-sponsored by a wide range of local environmental, business and public service organizations.  The press attended.  We used social media to generate as much interest as we could.

2. What we wanted to learn

We wanted to know if this approach to enhancing community readiness to address climate-related risks works. Does it give people a better understanding of the problems they face, the options open to them, the reasons that experts and locals think differently about what is happening and what ought to be done, and the costs of taking different actions?  Does this approach to public engagement build capacity and political momentum? Does it change anyone’s mind?  Does it legitimize the search for immediate “no regrets” actions as far as public spending is concerned?  Does it help the community see why adaptation is a local (not a state or a federal) problem?

To answer these questions, we used independent town-wide polling to establish a base line of public attitudes about climate change before and after the workshops, surveying more than 500 people. We held intensive debriefings with all participants at the end of each workshop. We interviewed almost 25% of the participants 4 – 6 weeks later to see what they remembered.  We did statistical analyses of the results across demographic groups within each community, between those who participated in workshops and those who didn’t, and then compared the four communities in the four states. We prepared detailed Case Studies summarizing what we learned in each town. In the book, we summarize all of our findings.

3. What our results were

A simple, but tailored one-hour game with a 30-minute debriefing can change minds with regard to the importance of climate change, the nature of climate risks, and the need for local action. People from almost all groups (except those so convinced that climate change is not a problem that they refused to participate) learned about the science involved, increased their sense that local governments need to act and became more optimistic that people in their community could and should act together to manage climate risks. Public officials and staff felt more empowered to take action in their respective spheres (public works, emergency response, health services, etc.) after seeing people’s hearts and minds change at the workshops.

Above all, communities must enhance their level of readiness if they expect to address climate risks.

4. What communities can do

Communities facing climate change-related risks have a few different options: they can do nothing and hope for the best. They can invest in emergency preparedness so they are better able to respond and recover from crises. They can “retreat” from the most vulnerable areas. They can try to defend themselves by building protective infrastructure and adopting new policies, such as land use regulations and building codes. They can mix and match elements of each of these strategies. Whatever they decide, they will need widespread support because it will take public and private cooperation and a continuous, not a one shot, effort to bring all but one of these options to fruition. Individual landowners, businesses, environmental activists, public agencies and taxpayer groups will have to work together.

5. What we learned

Above all, communities must enhance their level of readiness if they expect to address climate risks. They will have to provide opportunities for widespread public involvement in something other than a few “town hall” meetings at which pre-packaged information is handed out and people are lectured at. They will have to help taxpayers understand that there are “no regrets” moves they can make to reduce climate risks while simultaneously accomplishing other important objectives at the same time. For example, using this year’s open space preservation money to create natural barriers along the shore can provide storm protection for private property owners, reduce saltwater intrusion into freshwater wetlands (protecting underground water supplies), armor waste disposal and electricity infrastructure, and minimize flood risks.

6. What we took away

The sooner the U.S. shifts its focus to reducing local vulnerability to climate risks (so that everyone can see what the costs are going to be year after year as climate change accelerates), the sooner there will be more of a political constituency that wants to get at the source of the problem. So, unlike many who worry that any talk of adaptation detracts from global efforts to push for mitigation (i.e. reduction in greenhouse gases), we take just the opposite view.

Don’t wait for extensive state or federal direction — it’s probably not coming anytime soon.

We think the political pressure for mitigation is not strong enough to push for a global action plan or new US laws because people don’t recognize the costs to them today.  Now is the time to highlight what it’s going to take to help vast numbers of coastal and riverine communities all over the world avoid paying immense costs just to survive in the years ahead. When they see what it really costs to manage climate risks, we believe they will care much more about the underlying cause, and quickly become the missing constituency needed to push for global emissions reducing policies.

7. What can you do?

Get your community to play the serious games we have developed (or look for a range of local partners that will help adapt the games to your local conditions). Do a simple, anonymous assessment to understand what everyone’s real views are at present on issues of climate change (you might be surprised!).  Use our before-and-after surveys to document the shifts that occur once people start attending workshops and playing the right games.

Get local officials and community activists to be the first to play the games and talk about what the results suggest for your community. Involve the local media in reporting the story.  Adopt a consensus building approach to formulating a collective risk management plan for the community. Don’t wait for extensive state or federal direction — it’s probably not coming anytime soon. Emphasize the search for no-regret options — things you can do right away that are good for multiple reasons AND will reduce your community’s vulnerability to sudden climate change.

Managing Climate Risks in Coastal Communities: Readiness, Engagement and Adaptation is out tomorrow. Learn more about this project at This post was originally published on Professor Susskind’s blog ‘The Consensus Building Approach’.

Featured Series: Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series

Ninteenth Century Series titles

Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series is a collection that fosters connections between areas including history, science, religion and literary theory. The general editor of this series is Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Professor of English Literature at University of Oxford. He recently spoke to us about the series, proposals and writers who deserve more recognition.

What are the aims of this series, and who is the desired audience?

Nineteenth Century LiteratureRobert Douglas-Fairhurst: The main aim of this series is to find new ways of exploring and thinking about nineteenth-century literature and culture. That’s a challenging task, and in practice it means that we try to introduce our readers to unexpected cross-sections in the period, surveys of unjustly neglected genres, and original insights into more familiar authors and topics. We don’t have an exclusively academic audience in mind. Most readers are likely to be teachers, researchers, or students, but we also hope that our books will be written in the sort of accessible style that will appeal to anyone with an interest in widening their intellectual horizons.

What are the qualities you look for in a proposal?

RDF: The proposals that excite me are those that have clearly been written by someone who is similarly excited by the ideas they want to share with a wider readership. Some proposals are too narrow, and others are impossibly broad; the ideal project is one that can be explored thoroughly (if not exhaustively) within the limits of a single book. Beyond expertise in the subject area – we receive excellent advice on this from our team of peer reviewers – the other key feature I always look for is the writer’s style. Can they communicate effectively? Is their critical prose a pleasure to read rather than a chore? Would anyone other than the writer’s immediate family and friends actually want to read their book?

What are your current research interests / current projects?

RDF: I’ve just written a book on the creation and cultural aftermath of Alice in Wonderland, The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland, published by Harvill Secker in the UK and Harvard University Press in the USA. It was featured on Start the Week and BBC Breakfast, and was a Radio 4 Book of the Week, read by Simon Russell Beale; it was also the main source for a 60-minute BBC2 documentary on ‘The Secret Life of Lewis Carroll’ on which I worked as the historical advisor. Inevitably that has involved quite a lot of publicity work – most recently I contributed an essay to the programme for Damon Albarn’s new musical – and when that has finished my next project is a critical edition of A Tale of Two Cities for Norton. After that, who knows.

What topic would you like to see the series cover?

RDF: I think the series already covers an excellent mixture of topics, from Jane Austen to sensation fiction and science. However, I am always on the lookout for further high-quality monographs on individual authors, and book proposals that focus on the detailed workings of writing itself – genre, form, style – would be especially welcome.

Who is a nineteenth-century writer deserving of more academic recognition?

RDF: Good question. One of the big movements in the past 30 or 40 years has been to recover a number of authors who had sunk into obscurity. Much of that work – such as Christopher Ricks’s edition of James Henry’s idiosyncratic Victorian poetry – has been just and admirable. The only question that occasionally lingers over it is whether all the writers necessarily deserved to be brought back to life. I suppose my hope is that in the future some of energy that has hitherto been devoted to expanding the canon might also be given to widening our understanding of authors who by contrast have suffered through sheer familiarity. Many are far stranger than we tend to think.

We welcome submissions of proposals for challenging and original works that meet the criteria of Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series. Should you wish to send in a proposal for a new series or one of the following types of works — Monographs (mid-length and full-length), Edited Collections, Handbooks, Reference, Upper-Level Textbooks, Academic Non-Fiction — please contact us at:

New Australian Studies Titles Roundup!

After the success of this month’s Global Digital Humanities conference held in Sydney, Australia, we want to highlight some of our most recent releases in the Australian Studies field. New Anthem series include Anthem Studies in Australian Literature and Anthem Studies in Australian Politics, Economics and Society. Some of the most innovative research in Australian studies is being done by scholars in fields including literature, history, new media and digital cultures, and cultural studies and indigenous studies.

9781783083978Patrick White Beyond the Grave
(15 August 2015)
Edited by Ian Henderson and Anouk Lang

Patrick White (1912–1990) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973 and remains one of Australia’s most celebrated writers. This book represents new work by an outstanding list of White scholars from around the globe. This collection of diverse and original essays is notable for its acknowledgement of White’s homosexuality in relation to the development of his literary style, in its consideration of the way his writing ‘works’ on/with readers, and for its contextualizing of his life and oeuvre in relation to London and to London life.

9781783084036Christos Tsiolkas and the Fiction of Critique: Politics, Obscenity, Celebrity
by Andrew McCann

Christos Tsiolkas is one of the most recognizable and internationally successful literary novelists working in Australia today. He is also one of the country’s most politically engaged writers. These terms – recognition, commercial success, political engagement – suggest a relationship to forms of public discourse that belies the extremely confronting nature of much of Tsiolkas’s fiction and his deliberate attempt to cultivate a literary persona oriented to notions of blasphemy, obscenity and what could broadly be called a pornographic sensibility. ‘Christos Tsiolkas and the Fiction of Critique’ traces these contradictions against Tsiolkas’s acute sense of the waning of working-class identity, and reads his work as a sustained examination of the ways in which literature might express an opposition to capitalist modernity.

9781783084012Performing Non-Citizenship: Asylum Seekers in Australian Theatre, Film and Activism
by Emma Cox

This exacting study examines the theatre, film and activism engaged with the representation or participation of asylum seekers and refugees in the twenty-first century. Cox shows how this work has been informed by and indeed contributed to the consolidation of ‘irregular’ noncitizenship as a cornerstone idea in contemporary Australian political and social life, to the extent that it has become impossible to imagine what Australia means without it.

9781783082315_1_1Inside Australia Culture
by Baden Offord, Erika Kerruish, Rob Garbutt, Adele Wessell and Kirsten Pavlovic

‘Inside Australian Culture: Legacies of Enlightenment Values’ offers a critical intervention into the continuing effects of colonization in Australia and the structures it brought, which still inform and dominate its public culture. Through a careful analysis of three disparate but significant moments in Australian history, the authors investigate the way the British Enlightenment continues to dominate contemporary Australian thinking and values. Employing the lens of Indian cultural theorist Ashis Nandy, the authors argue for an Australian public culture that is profoundly conscious of its assumptions, history and limitations.