University Presses Award Sustainability; Prix Voltaire Deadline Is Friday

In News by Porter Anderson

Industry Notes: In the UK, a new university press award supports the UN Sustainability Goals, and in Switzerland, the IPA’s 2020 Prix Voltaire nominations close this week.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

University Press Award Deadline: January 15
Timed to coincide with its March 17 and 18 biennial University Press Redux Conference, the UK’s Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and Cambridge University Press have opened a new award program intended to highlight publishing relative to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The University Press Redux Sustainability Award program is to recognize “any new initiative, publication, product, or project which is aimed at addressing one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or the broader concept of sustainable development goals.

In a prepared statement for Tuesday’s (January 7) announcement, Mandy Hill, managing director of academic publishing at Cambridge, is quoted, saying, “University presses are both communicators and facilitators of research, knowledge and data. This gives us the potential to play a key role in addressing today’s global issues.

“We want to recognize some of the innovative ways publishers address these grand challenges, from important books, journals, and policy documents, to new digital solutions–projects that support and drive the change toward achieving sustainable development globally.”

The theme of the 2020 Redux conference dovetails with this approach, focusing on the question of what roles university presses should play in 2020.

Speaking for the ALPSP partnership, the association’s chief Wayne Sime is quoted in media messaging, saying, “We look forward to bringing together university press publishers at the Redux conference in Cambridge this March,” an event that he says, will showcase “innovative initiatives.”

The jury for the new award is to include Hill from Cambridge and David Good, who directs research at Cambridge Global Challenges, a research unit which focuses its work on “the poorest half of the world’s population.” A third juror is expected to be added but has yet not been named.

Following the January 15 deadline, the trio of jurors will select three finalists for the competition. Those finalists will then each have a chance to make a 15-minute presentation at the conference on March 18.

Information required in the submission process includes “detail on the background, business model, resources, development, operation of the product, any partnerships related to the product, and what you hope the product will achieve or facilitate.”

An applicant must also specify which one or more of the 17 UN goals pertains to the entry.

Entries will address questions including:

  • “What are the main features and functions of the product?
  • “What was the background and research behind its development or launch?
  • “What resources went into its creation?
  • “What makes it significant and innovative?
  • “What value does it offer, and how is this measured?
  • “What is its business model, and what is the scope for further expansion?”

On the Cam River at the University of Cambridge. Image – iStockphoto: Owen Price

Prix Voltaire Deadline: January 10

The International Publishers Association (IPA), based in Geneva, is to close nominations for its 2020 Prix Voltaire on Friday (January 10)

The honor, which comes with a purse of 10,000 Swiss francs (US$10,110), is to be awarded on May 28 at a congress dinner in Lillehammer with the Norwegian Festival of Literature as part of IPA’s 33rd International Publishers Congress.

Previous Prix Voltaire recipients include the Egyptian publisher Khaled Lotfy, the Swedish Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai (2018),Turkish publisher Turhan Günay and publishing house Evrensel, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (2016) and Belarusian publisher Ihar Lohvinau (2014).

Deliberations and decisions are made by the IPA’s Freedom To Publish committee.

At issue in the Prix Voltaire program is recognition of—and advocacy for—publishing’s people who show valor in the face of threats and often retaliation for exercising their freedom of expression.

According to the prize’s messaging, “Nominees will have recently published works despite pressure, threats, intimidation or harassment, whether from governments, other authorities or private interests. Alternatively, they may be publishers with a distinguished record of upholding the values of freedom to publish and freedom of expression. For the purposes of the IPA Prix Voltaire, we define ‘publisher’ as an individual, collective or organization that provides others with the means to share their ideas in written form, including via digital platforms.”

Individuals, groups, or organizations can make nominations using this form. The association asks that rationales be written in English but they can accommodate other languages if need be. To communicate with the program, write to .

Sponsors who fund the monetary award for the Prix Voltaire include:

More from Publishing Perspectives on the IPA Prix Voltaire is hereMore coverage of the International Publishers Association is here. More from us on publishing and book awards is here. More of our Industry Notes series is here. Publishing Perspectives is the international media sponsor of the IPA’s 33rd International Publishers Congress.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.