Hanging in the UC Press offices in Oakland, CA is a broadside that was designed by Bay Area architect, designer, and artist Ernest Born and printed to celebrate the acquisition, renovation, and dedication of the headquarters building—then in Berkeley—for the Press in the year of our ninetieth anniversary (UC Press was located at 2120 Berkeley Way for 30 years). This is the first of five hundred signed and numbered letterpress copies, which include a transcription from Beatrice Warde and note from Albert Sperisen. Noted for a lifetime of service and work on behalf of typography, Warde is perhaps most remembered for the text of her inspired inscription below published in 1932.
This is a printing office
Cross-roads of civilization
Refuge of all arts
Against the ravages of time
Armoury of fearless truth
Against whispering rumour
Incessant trumpet of trade
From this place words may fly abroad
Not to perish as waves of sound
But fixed in time
Not corrupted by the hurrying hand
But verified in proof
Friend, you stand on sacred ground
This is a printing office
THIS inscription was written by Beatrice Warde. Born Beatrice Becker in New York City, 20 September 1900, she was the only child of two famous parents: May Lamberton Becker, for forty years a noted columnist of the New York Herald, and Gustav Becker, a gifted pianist, professional musician, and composer.
At Barnard College Beatrice developed the consuming interest in calligraphy and formation of the printed letter that shaped her life and career. Her search for advanced knowledge in these areas soon carried her to a promising source in a seemingly unlikely location: the American Type Founders Company in New Jersey.
You have an extensive background in publishing and the industry, as an Editor, an Author, an Editorial Director, and now an Executive Director. What are you excited to bring to UC Press as you shepherd the organization through its next phase?
Job one is to fulfill the mission of the press, broadly conceived. Our formal mission is “To drive progressive change by seeking out and cultivating the brightest minds and giving them voice, reach, and impact,” but I prefer to think that our job is to make as big a progressive shaped dent in the world as we can given the tools at our disposal. Everything else flows from that – who we publish, what we publish, and how we publish. I think being “progressive” can encompass everything from the fact that we’re still actively publishing humanities monographs to our open access programs to the way our criminal justice and sociology programs are constructed. I’m tremendously excited to be a part of taking that vision forward.
Second is a focus on publishing fundamentals: the basic detail-oriented blocking and tackling that is necessary to get great ideas into the world, whatever form they take. UC Press has great fundamentals, but creating the space where we can take a breath and think and talk about our books more is part of my job.
Third is the chance to experiment. We’re clearly in a time of great changes in communication in general and scholarly communication in particular. We don’t know where it’s going to go, but we are charged with figuring out how to observe weak signals, test new models, and learn how to proceed through careful and rigorous experimentation. Exploring and developing new models – open access and others – must go hand in hand with the basics of great publishing.
At this point in time, what qualities do you see that differentiates UC Press from other university presses/publishers in general?
Well, we can go back to the mission. There are few scholarly publishers that embrace a mission like ours so explicitly – that’s important for its moral and ethical weight, I think, but for its strategic possibilities. Differentiation is the path to long-term success. Being best in class by doing the same thing as everyone else is tough to pull off; logically, it’s impossible for everyone to be best-in-class. But doing something that’s meaningfully different, that plays to our strengths, and respects our authors and readers – those seems necessary to me. As part of that differentiation I would include our location: within the largest public university system in the world, and in California. Those both set us apart from the rest of the field.
What do you see on the horizon for UC Press?
Great publishing in its many manifestations – at least as I’ve laid it out above.
What do you think UC Press will look like in 125 years from now?
I have no idea. I don’t think that University of California President Martin Kellogg, who endowed the press in 1893, could have imagined the changes that the publishing industry and the press have undergone in the last 125 years. I hope that he would be impressed by the quality of what we do and how we’ve responded to the changes we’ve witnessed and participated in. The press already looks radically different than it did 25 years ago.
Yet the folio form of the book has survived for hundreds of years. Given the fact that it’s a great container for knowledge and argumentation – I’m tempted to say a perfect one – I kind of think it will still be going strong. But given the changes that digital communication has wrought broadly on media business models and scholarly research, I’m sure we’ll have lots of new ways of connecting our authors with their readers. What those will look like, I’m not sure. It is incumbent on us to figure it out.
What I feel completely sure about is that the press will still be full of dedicated staff who want to make a difference in the world.
What are your favorite UC Press books?
That’s like asking me to choose among my children.
What would your dream job be if you didn’t work in publishing?
John Lane founded The Bodley Head, a UK publishing house, in the 1880s. (He was the uncle of Allen Lane, one of the founders of Penguin.) He named the firm after a bust of Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, that appeared above the door to the shop. In the introduction to one of Bodley’s book that he was reprinting, he wrote, “I have always been in doubt whether the writing of a great book or the capacity to appreciate it were the finest thing in the world; but I am convinced that next in importance after the writing and the appreciating is the publishing of it.” I second the notion, and I have no idea what would come in fourth.
In bringing the Journal of Popular Music Studies (JPMS) over to UC Press, one of the things we’re especially looking forward to is the ability to broaden both both the content and audience for the journal by including writing beyond just peer-reviewed academic articles. We remain committed to publishing the latter, as we always have, but we would also like to follow the lead of entities such as IAPSM-US and the annual Pop Conference in Seattle to embrace other forms of popular music content, be it music reviews, roundtable discussions, and essays by pop music researchers outside of conventional academic circles. To that degree, we’ve been inspired by UC Press’s long tradition with trade journals such as Gastronomica and Film Quarterly, both of which have found a strong balance in the kind of writing they publish.
Popular Music Studies has undergone tremendous change over the past 30 years and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that, not that long ago, this kind of work hadn’t been fully embraced in more traditional disciplines. However, as popular culture research, in general, has become seen as more and more central to any understanding of societies around the world, both historically and in the current moment, there are few subject areas more vital than pop music. It serves as an identity beacon, as the social glue that creates/holds communities together, as the terrain upon which class/race/gender/etc. tensions are engaged and tussled over. Exploring these issues have always been the focus of our journal and we look to only grow the scope of our content with our new publishing partner.
February 16th will mark the quasquicentennial of University of California Press, celebrating 125 years of scholarly publishing since our founding in 1893.
From the start, UC Press has disseminated scholarship which has undergone a rigorous vetting process by committee, championing work that influences public discourse and challenges the status quo in multiple fields of study. Today, we publish approximately 200 books and 30 multi-issue journals each year that address society’s core challenges.
The following is a letter from J. Harmon Bonté, secretary of the Board of Regents, to Martin Kellogg, president of the University of California from 1890 to 1893, establishing the publishing program with a modest annual budget of $1000.
University of California,
Berkeley, Feb. 16,1893
President Martin Kellogg,
The following is a copy from the report of the Committee on Internal Administration submitted at the meeting of the Board of Regents held the 14th instant:
Your Committee, believing that it is often desirable to publish papers prepared by members of the Faculty, begs leave to submit the following recommendations:
The sum of $1000 shall be appropriated in the annual Budget for the printing of monographs, etc. prepared by members of the Faculty of the University.
There shall be a Committee of five members of the Faculty to be appointed by the President who shall himself be a member and ex-officio chairman of such committee, whose duty it shall be to pass upon all papers submitted for publication, and to determine all questions arising with reference to the same.
“As the money provided in the foregoing plan will not be available until after July 1, 1893, any member of the Faculty having, in the meantime, a paper which he thinks worth of immediate publication may submit it to the Committee which shall be appointed at once, and the Committee shall make such recommendation to the Board to meet the expense of publication as it may deem proper.
J. Harmon Bonté
On the occasion of our 125th anniversary, we reflect not only on the Press’s milestones and illustrious publishing history but also look ahead to see the work to be done, true to our mission. Throughout the year, join us in celebrating this landmark occasion—one that bolsters our commitment to driving progressive change by seeking out and cultivating the brightest minds. Follow along on social media: #UCP125
UCP: Dr. Nina Hall, you worked with a research team evaluating wind farm development in Australia. Renewable energy sources are broadly popular with the public. Given this support, why have wind farm development initiatives sometimes gone wrong?
NH: We investigated the many ways that companies developing and operating wind farms in Australia engage with local communities. Certainly many factors can influence the way that a community responds to a wind-farm proposal. However, we did find that over the long term, face-to-face communication and relationship-building activities through trusted representatives have a huge impact on the support that communities voice for local projects.
UCP: What concerns do local communities express about wind-farm developments, and how can those concerns be addressed?
NH: We found that understanding each community—each of which is different—was really important. And then it’s important to respond to community concerns in a collaborative way. For example, wind-farm developers can provide the community with a say in how decisions are made, being clear about how the community can influence the design or operation of a development. Also if developers give communities a stake in a project or some kind of ownership—financial or otherwise—such actions are big influencers in resolving concerns about a project. I should note that we saw some fantastic examples where companies had success by being flexible in their approach, taking a big-picture approach, and trying new ways of doing things that were focused on face-to-face communication and relationship building.
UCP: Your research focuses on wind development, but I was struck by the contrast between your formula for successful renewable energy development (context/trust/people/face-to-face interactions/community influence) and the approach that theenergy company Corridor Resources took with their secrecy and lack of engagement around an offshore exploration and development project in Canada’s Old Harry Prospect. Beyond renewables, do you think there are lessons for the broader energy-development sector?
NH: Sure. You are likely right in that many lessons from this research could be considered in other large infrastructure developments. In particular, one clear outcome from our research was that a large, visible project does not necessarily mean less community support. The way engagement is carried out and how you work with the local community can have a dramatic impact on local support and should not be overlooked. In our research projects, we saw that engagement that focused on openness, inclusivity, and less secrecy certainly yielded positive results.
Case Studies in the Environment is a journal of peer-reviewed case-study articles, case-study pedagogy articles, and a repository for editor-reviewed case-study slides. The journal informs faculty, students, educators, professionals, and policymakers on case studies and best practices in the environmental sciences and studies.
As 2017 draws to a close, we’ve compiled ten blog posts that resonated most with our readers over the past year. Popular blog themes closely mirrored current events, and the state of global political realities — immigration, inequality, fascism, and environmental issues; additionally, readers were taken by posts on critical thinking, “slow” cinema, indigenous and world poetry, and the secrets unearthed from an ancient metropolis.
Have a happy new year, and see you in 2018, the 125th year of UC Press’s founding!
Immigration historians from across the United States launched the website #ImmigrationSyllabus to help the public understand the historical roots of today’s immigration debates, inspiring us to follow suit with a list of UC Press suggestions to provide further context to the ongoing conversation. View the Immigration Syllabus: UC Press Edition.
Raj Patel & Jason W. Moore’s A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things focuses on seven areas that are the foundation of modern commerce: nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives. In this excerpt, find out how the cheapening of care has made the world safe for capitalism: #7CheapThings: Cheap Care
In Trump’s Transgender Crisis, Jack Halberstam, author of Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability, responds to Donald Trump’s tweeted policy change banning trans soldiers from the military to ask: at a time when the visibility and acceptance of transgender people has never been higher, why this ban, why now?
In today’s fast-paced political news cycle, terms like “fascism” and “populism” are often used, but not always clearly defined. This excerpt from Federico Finchelstein’s From Fascism to Populism in History, explores the origins of these ideologies, their significance, and the important distinctions between them: Fascism or Populism? Playing the “Democratic Game”
One of the earliest, largest, and most important cities in the ancient Americas, Teotihuacan is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited archaeological site in Mexico. Take a Look at Teotihuacan to see some of the rare and awe-inspiring artifacts featured in the exhibition and accompanying catalogue Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire.
Peter M. Nardi, sociologist and author of Critical Thinking: Tools for Evaluating Research, addressed the importance of looking beyond the “two-sides-of-the-coin” perspective when responding to complex issues in his post False Balance, Binary Discourse, and Critical Thinking.
Releasing in May 2018, Paul Schrader’s seminal text Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyerwill be reissued with a substantial new introduction representing his experiences and ideas as a filmmaker that have evolved over time, giving the original work both new clarity and a contemporary lens. Hear Schrader discuss some of the techniques and attitudes of slow films in Transcendental Style in Film Revisited.
During the 2017 International Open Access Week, we interviewed Interim Director Erich van Rijn to survey the landscape of OA publishing at UC Press, discussing the progress and future of Luminos (our OA monograph program), and Collabra: Psychology and Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene (our two OA journals).
What is a case study, and how can case studies positively impact critical thinking and knowledge acquisition, as well as inform research in academia and training in professional practice? In the post The Case for Case Studies, Case Studies in the Environment Editor-in-Chief Wil Burns explains what case studies are, and how they can provide an important bridge to understanding important environmental issues.
IASPM-US President Steve Waksman is excited about the new partnership: “University of California is a publisher that shares our priorities. We plan to continue publishing cutting-edge scholarship on popular music while bringing in more voices from outside academia proper, capturing the interdisciplinary energy of a field where music writers of various stripes—scholars, journalists, bloggers, discographers, cultural critics—are engaging in regular dialogue.”
Co-Editors of the journal, Diane Pecknold and Oliver Wang echo the sentiment: “We’re looking forward to working with UC Press to pull together exciting new issues that maximize the potential from this new partnership.”
David Famiano, Journals Publisher at University of California Press shares this enthusiasm: “UC Press is absolutely delighted to partner with IASPM-US and to work with such a passionate and dedicated team to continue the publishing legacy of such an important journal.”
About Journal of Popular Music Studies: Journal of Popular Music Studies is one of the three top scholarly journals devoted to the study of popular music internationally. It was originally established in 1988 with the title, Tracking, under founding editor Steve Jones of University of Illinois, Chicago, and Reebee Garofalo of University of Massachusetts, Boston, who was then co-chair of IASPM-US. The change of name to Journal of Popular Music Studies took hold in 1993 and has remained in place ever since.
When it was founded in 1988, Tracking was self-published by IASPM-US. Its status as a self-published enterprise went unchanged until 2001 when the journal entered a short-lived agreement with Taylor and Francis. In 2003, the journal established a more long-standing arrangement with the Malden, MA-based Blackwell, which evolved into a deal with prominent academic publisher Wiley, now Blackwell’s parent company. Wiley will continue to publish the journal through the end of 2017 and all back issues will remain hosted on the Wiley web portal.
About University of California Press:
As one of the world’s most forward-thinking publishers, UC Press gives voice, reach, and impact to innovative research and exceptional scholarship. With a global circulation in over 80 countries, our journals span the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, with subject areas that include history, literature & criticism, film & media, music, religion, and sociology.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene was founded by BioOne in 2013 through a partnership with five research universities: Dartmouth, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington. Please visit our Founders page for the full history.
In our first post in the series, we sit down with Interim Director Erich van Rijn to survey the landscape of OA publishing at UC Press.
UC Press made a bold move into OA scholarly monograph publishing two years ago, in summer/fall 2015. How is Luminos progressing in 2017?
EVR: Luminos continues to experience growth. Thus far, we’ve published 40 titles in the program. We tend to count publications by fiscal year, and by that measure, Luminos is entering its third year of publication and every fiscal year has seen an increase in the numbers of titles published, with 14 titles released in the program’s first year and 20 in its second, and projections are for 25 titles to be released in this fiscal year.
We’re also pleased to see continued growth in the Luminos Member Library program, whereby libraries who support OA publishing contribute to the direct costs of publishing monographs in the humanities and social sciences, through annual member fees, so that both the benefits—unfettered global access to important research—and the costs of publishing are shared across stakeholders. We currently have 22 supporting libraries who have contributed $158,000 in funding that has been applied to the production costs of Luminos titles.
With print books, success can be measured in book sales, but how do you measure the success of free open access books?
EVR: One metric we track closely is usage. To date we’ve tallied 84,575+ book and chapter downloads for Luminos titles. That’s an average of well over 2,000 downloads per book. These are impressive numbers, especially when compared against the average sales figures for a traditional print monograph. And in the coming year, we are undertaking a partnership with KU Research, JSTOR, Michigan, UCL Press, and Cornell to evaluate Luminos usage data in order to improve reporting and our understanding of how scholars and other readers are using Luminos books.
How are readers finding Luminos titles? Do you have strategies to improve discoverability?
EVR: In addition to making Luminos titles discoverable at DOAB and available on our own platform, we’re hosting Luminos titles for download on Books at JSTOR and on OAPEN, where additional readers have the opportunity to find these books. We’ve been impressed with the activity we’ve seen for Luminos titles on these sites. Books at JSTOR, in particular, has been influential in bringing a larger audience to these titles—we first made titles available on Books at JSTOR in September 2016 and are now seeing 68% of title downloads coming from Books at JSTOR.
What do we have to look forward to in terms of future Luminos content?
EVR: We have a number of new academic publishing partners who have launched book series with Luminos and some of the first titles in these series will be published in the coming year. This spring will see the publication of inaugural books in the Global Korea series (published in partnership with University of California Berkeley’s Institute for Korean Studies) and in the Islamic Humanities series (published in partnership with the Institute for Islamic Humanities at Brown University). Jinsoo An’s Parameters of Disavowal will look at colonial representation in South Korean cinema, while Shenila Khoja-Moolji will examine the interplay of gender, race, religion and power in transnational contexts in Forging the Ideal Educated Girl. Also coming this spring is Eternal Dissident, in which David Meyers, who edits the UCLA Leve Series in Jewish History and Culture, looks at Leonard Beerman, one of the most controversial Reform rabbis of the twentieth century. We’re excited and pleased to be working with esteemed publishing partners in the Luminos program and look forward to bringing future publications in these and other series to Luminos readers over the coming years.
In addition to Luminos, UC Press also has an open access journal program called Collabra that currently publishes two journals, Collabra: Psychology and Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. How has the Collabra program progressed in recent years?
EVR: UC Press first entered open access journal publishing in 2015 with the launch of a multidisciplinary mega-journal called Collabra. The plan for Collabra, even as a mega-journal, was to create a journal that puts the academic community first—in transparency and openness, in scientific and scholarly rigor, and in fair pricing and ethical business practices. Our journals program evolved and expanded in 2016 when Collabra transitioned its research focus to psychology as Collabra: Psychology, and when UC Press acquired Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene from BioOne—but our community-first values remain central to our open access program. Both Collabra: Psychology and Elementa have unique business models that share value with editors and reviewers, and give them the option to keep their earnings or pay them forward to the academic community; both journals also include APC waiver funds for authors who cannot pay the APC; and both journals are fully led by their respective academic communities, and are committed to transparency and open science.
How has UC Press worked to innovate and improve the landscape of open access journals publishing?
EVR: In addition to structuring our journals with high levels of integrity, both academically and in business practice, we are delighted to have partnered with the Coko Foundation to develop an open source journal management system—“xpub”. (eLife and Hindawi are additional partners.) Currently the focus is on the submission and review process, and journals, but this project will not be limited to pre-acceptance process, nor journals, in the longer term. Beyond technological innovation, we have also helped make more people accustomed to open peer review, at Collabra: Psychology, whereby review comments are published alongside accepted articles if the authors chose this option. Open peer review can mean many things in the current scholarly publishing landscape, but Collabra: Psychology’s version of it has been more successful and more adopted than we anticipated—fully 77% of article authors have opted for open peer review—so we are pleased to be incrementally changing norms in the service of more transparent science and publishing.
Does UC Press have plans to launch new open access journals in the Collabra program?
EVR: Yes, we are working on a number of OA journal projects, including one called Civic Sociology, which is related to an idea in sociology which is already gaining popularity, about promoting scholarship oriented toward more effective, ethical interventions into systemic social problems, globally, via a better understanding of local and regional particularities. Watch this space for more!