Innovation and Alternatives: UC Press Staff On Why Our Books Matter

UC Press entryway

The University Press Week blog tour continues, delivering many wonderful, thought-provoking pieces. Indiana UP, who spearheaded this effort, has been running daily trivia contests; Scott Esposito wrote about literary critic Wayne Booth for the University of Chicago Press blog; MIT Editorial Director Gita Manaktala discussed current shifts in scholarship and reading; Princeton featured a post from the perspective of its authors, and is your go-to spot for round-ups of other UP blog activity. And while not technically part of the tour, we had to give a shout out to Oxford University Press’s blog for this amazing explanation of how they chose their word of the year, “GIF,” told through GIFs. You can follow the UP Week blog tour with this schedule or the hashtag #UPWeek on Twitter.

And now, UC Press’s own employees offer our thoughts on why we come to work every day. Why do university presses matter to you? Let us know in the comments below!

“Why do university presses matter? Human society needs places where maximizing knowledge is more important than maximizing shareholder value.”
—Jody Hart, Network Systems Manager

“In an era of information overload, it is still important to cultivate and produce peer reviewed scholarship. If we are going to have an educated and informed public, we need to start with information that is based on sound research and scholarship, and university presses exist to make this information accessible to everyone.”
—UC Press staff member

“So why should university presses ‘matter’ to libraries? In a nutshell: We are on your side. Not only as a publishers of key scholarly research but as a potential partners in new and innovative scholarly publishing. We remain independent, not driven by financial return.”
—Rachel Lee, Library Relations Manager

“University presses serve as arbiters, curators, and enablers of scholarly ideas and innovation. At a time when many publishers have curtailed or abandoned serious nonfiction, university presses provide a rare forum for engaged intellectual discussion and debate.”
—UC Press staff member

“By publishing books with intellectual rigor and integrity, university presses provide a vital link between scholars and the greater world. The best of what we publish translates cutting-edge research and new ideas for scholars, students, and the world beyond. Simply put, our books matter.”
—Kate Marshall, Editor

“Most of today’s publishing is ruled by modern conglomerate media or private investment companies with decisions of what to bring to market being driven totally by concerns around shareholder value. University presses stand apart and should be protected as a foundation for the promotion and exchange of ideas that are essential to civilization.”
—Pamela Polk, Senior Marketing Manager

“Any organization that gives expression to in-depth thinking and research is invaluable, whether or not it makes a profit. Without them, we as a society become backward.”
—Claudia Smelser, Senior Designer

“University presses matter because they offer alternatives. In a world increasingly dominated by the corporate agenda, university presses make possible the dissemination of controversial and specialized topics which publishers subject to corporate pressure may not be willing to support. In an increasingly homogenized world, university presses are ideally situated to focus on regional issues. Finally, university presses uphold the standards and traditions of scholarly publishing while also innovating in the brave new world of digital products, with scrupulous attention to editorial detail and physical design.”
—UC Press staff member