By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Expecting the Partnerships ‘To Evolve Organically’Based in New York City, the Association of University Presses today (February 4) is announcing a new pilot program designed to pair member-presses with non-member campus publishing operations in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Stated goals of the effort is “to amplify the work of presses in the Global South” and “to expand the knowledge base of the university press community worldwide.”
Two pairings are being announced today:
- Cape Town’s open-access scholarly publisher named African Minds is being paired with the United States’ Duke University Press
- Kampala’s Makerere University Press is being partnered with the UK’s Liverpool University Press
In a prepared statement, Peter Berkery, the director of AUPresses, as the association is known, is quoted, saying, “By pairing individual presses operating in different national contexts, with the expectation of enhancing the practices and perspectives of both publishers, we advance the association’s mission as a global community of publishers committed to ensuring academic excellence and cultivating knowledge.
“We expect these partnerships to evolve organically as the participants discuss their goals and map out collaboration and knowledge-sharing that best suit their particular needs and priorities.”
During the year in which a pairing is in place, the non-member presses are offered services normally restricted to AUPresses member houses, “including access to its online resource library and discussion fora; subscriptions to its monthly bulletin; admittance to professional development webinars; and one complimentary registration to attend its annual meeting and member registration rates for additional attendees.”
At African Minds in South Africa, managing editor Francois van Schalkwyk says, “Because we aim to foster access, openness, and debate in the pursuit of growing and deepening the African knowledge base, my colleagues and I look forward to wide-ranging discussions with our counterparts at Duke, especially with regard to our mutual interest in open access publishing.”
Dean Smith, director of Duke University Press, is quoted, saying, “We are looking forward to collaborating with African Minds and learning from them. We have a strong list in African studies and are honored that they’ve chosen us as a partner.”
Liverpool’s Anthony Cond: ‘More Robust Structures’
It’s Anthony Cond, well known for his work in directing the Liverpool University Press—and a member of the AUPresses board—who has proposed the pilot program.
“We hope that this new initiative will become a forum for knowledge exchange for university presses,” Cond says in today’s media messaging, “and that it also will create more robust structures for the dissemination of research in and from the Global South.”
“As one of the pilot partners, the team at Liverpool University Press looks forward to both learning from and sharing with our colleagues at Makerere University Press,” he says.
“The past 12 months have reminded us all just how important global knowledge-sharing and academic rigor are for the challenges faced by humanity.”
And speaking for the Makerere University Press, managing editor Samuel Siminyu is quoted, saying, “The team looks forward to sharing experiences and exploring the opportunities and challenges of electronic publishing, including legal aspects of electronic publishing.
“We’re also interested in developing marketing and communication strategies for our products in a digital environment.”
- The Makerere program was “revitalized” in 2019 and publishes two books per year, with a goal of an output of 10 titles annually.
- The Liverpool house is the UK’s third oldest university press, with an output of some 150 books per year, along with 38 journals and five digital collections.
- Duke’s program, like Liverpool, produces around 150 books per year as well as 56 journals and several electronic collections.
- And African Minds, with its open-access approach to scholarly books, is based in social sciences and the humanities, most of its authors being African academics and other thinkers.
The program is asking that university presses in the Global South interested in being paired with member-presses of the AUPresses organization be in touch at GlobalPartner@aupresses.org.
The Association of University Presses reports it has more than 150 publishing programs in its membership, active “across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences.” Their work often includes not only scholarly work but literary titles.
The association was founded in 1937 as the Association of American University Presses. The change in its name to Association of University Presses is quite recent, having been voted by the board and membership in 2017.
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