Category Archives: Publishing

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Anthropology Group Will Test a Faster, Digital Approach to Book Reviews

It takes years to research, write, and publish a scholarly monograph. It can take just as long to get that book reviewed by a scholarly journal once it’s in print. But a review that appears years after the book does, even if it’s a rave, doesn’t help an author whose tenure clock is running. Nor does it help a publisher hoping to attract attention to front-list titles.

The lag time between publication and review “is, for lack of a better word, appalling,” says Oona Schmid, director of publishing …

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Who Ought to Underwrite Publishing Scholars’ Books?

New Orleans — At almost any gathering of academic publishers or librarians, you’ll hear someone float the idea—sometimes phrased as a question—that the model for publishing scholarly monographs is broken. Two sets of ideas aired at the Association of American University Presses’ annual meeting, held here this week, don’t say the model is damaged beyond repair. But the proposals, both from groups outside the university-press community, suggest that it needs to be retrofitted, at the least.

One po…

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In the Digital Era, Print Still Gets Plenty of Love From Scholars

New Orleans — Nothing gladdens a publisher’s heart more than hearing readers say they still like to buy books—and printed books at that. At the Association of American University Presses’ annual meeting, which wrapped up here this week, a panel of scholars talked about how much of their work was still print-based even as chatter at the conference focused on e-books, metadata, and new ideas about how to make it easier to publish monographs digitally.

The panel included associate and assistant pro…

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QuickWire: Another Higher-Ed Data Breach, This Time at a University Press

Duke University Press alerted users on Tuesday that its website had suffered a “security incident.” In an email blast to people with site accounts, the publisher said that usernames and encrypted passwords had been exposed as a result of the breach but that no financial information had been compromised.

According to a spokeswoman, the press learned of the breach on May 29 and had been working with the university’s Office of Information Technology in the weeks since then to gauge the extent of …

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Frustrated Scholar Creates New Way to Fund and Publish Academic Work

In 2011, Tim Peterson was your archetypal frustrated academic. He’d just landed a paper in the journal Cell but had grown disillusioned with the publishing process after nine months of back-and-forth among his team, the reviewers, and the editors.

“I was just totally disgusted by the whole process,” says Mr. Peterson, now 37 and working as a postdoctoral fellow in biology at Harvard University. “I remember when I stood up and said I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.”

So Mr. Peterson began…

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Law Professors Defend Students’ Right to Sell Used Textbooks

Responding to a campaign by law professors, a leading legal publisher said on Thursday that its new casebook-publishing program would not threaten students’ ability to buy and sell used textbooks.

The professors feared that Casebook Connect, a new offering from Wolters Kluwer’s Aspen Law imprint, would be a step toward the eradication of students’ first-sale rights, which allow book owners to do whatever they please with their copies of a book, including sell it. After the professors gathered mo…

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OpenStax Deal With College-Stores Group Will Trim Textbook Prices

The open-source textbook publisher OpenStax College, based at Rice University, has cut a distribution deal with a subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores that will lower prices on print versions of OpenStax textbooks.

OpenStax, a two-year-old nonprofit venture, offers open-source textbooks that are free online and that cost from $30 to $54 in print versions. Print prices are expected to drop by about 2 percent in 2015, thanks to the agreement with college-stores association. The…

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Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money…

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QuickWire: E-Textbook Provider CourseSmart Is Bought by Ingram

A big fish in the education-media world has been swallowed by an even bigger fish.

CourseSmart, a major provider of electronic textbook content, has been acquired by the Ingram Content Group, a media company that supplies books and music to thousands of retailers across the world. CourseSmart was created in 2007 by the “big five” textbook companies as an online marketplace for their digital content.

The Ingram group also distributes educational content, through Vital Source Technologies, a subsi…

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QuickWire: Anthropology Journal Moves to Open-Access Model

The journal Cultural Anthropology has just published its first free, open-access issue, which it says will help in “returning publishing to the commons, where academic life begins.”

“The editors hope this move will expand the audience of the journal to curious readers—academic or not—who would not normally have access to the latest research in anthropology,” the journal said in a news release. The release also said that the Society for Cultural Anthropology, which publishes the journal, hopes th…