University Press Week Blog Tour: Innovate/Collaborate

University Press Week is November 8-12. The UP Blog Tour will feature entries all week long that celebrate this year’s theme, “Keep UP.” This year marks the 10th anniversary of UP Week, and the university press community will celebrate how university presses have evolved over the past decade.  

Honoring today’s theme, Innovate/Collaborate, we post about Temple University Press’ imprint, North Broad Press, a University Press, Libraries, and Faculty Collaboration for Open Textbooks.

For well over a decade, Temple University Press has been reporting to Temple University Libraries, and in 2018 we partnered to launch the collaborative imprint North Broad Press. 

North Broad Press (NBP) publishes open-access works of scholarship, both new and reissued, from the Temple University community. Our current focus is on open textbooks. NBP supports Temple faculty in the creation of a textbook specifically tailored to their course that is free for all students. NBP titles decrease the cost of higher education and improve learning outcomes for students. All books are peer reviewed and professionally produced with print-on-demand copies available at cost.

An important part of the Press’s mission is to educate, and with NBP we are shaping the approach to teaching and learning at Temple through the creation of custom textbooks. Authors write, organize, and present content in a way that aligns with teaching methods they know to be successful. In addition, we hope NBP titles will be used in courses beyond Temple, and peer reviewers are asked to consider this as they assess the projects.

NBP is part of the Libraries’ Center for Scholarly Communication and Open Publishing.  Its creation supports the Libraries and Press in achieving and advancing a strategic action named in the current strategic plan: “Explore new opportunities in publishing and scholarly communication: The Libraries will engage in deep collaboration with Temple University Press, with Temple faculty, and with other organizations and academic institutions to identify and adopt new approaches for sharing scholarly products, for exploring sustainable economic models for university publishing, and for connecting local publishing initiatives with Temple’s faculty.”

NBP’s work is based on the following core principles:

  • We believe that the Libraries and the Press are critical resources for publishing expertise on campus.
  • We believe that the unfettered flow of ideas, scholarship and knowledge is necessary to support learning, clinical practice, and research, and to stimulate creativity and the intellectual enterprise.
  • We support Temple faculty, students, and staff by making their work available to audiences around the world via open access publishing.
  • We believe that the scholarly ecosystem works best when creators retain their copyrights.
  • We believe in experimentation and innovation in academic publishing.
  • We work to decrease the cost of higher education and improve learning outcomes for students by publishing high quality open textbooks and other open educational resources.
  • We believe in the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and promote these values through our publications.
  • We commit to making our publications accessible to all who need to use them.
  • We believe place matters. Our publications reflect Temple University and the North Philadelphia community of which we are a part.

NBP has filled a previously unaddressed need. We issued annual calls for proposals in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and the response from Temple faculty has been enthusiastic. We received 58 proposals over the three calls; 20 were selected for publication, an acceptance rate of 35%. Of these, three titles have been published and 17 are in process.

Temple faculty are committed to  improving student success by authoring  textbooks that are better suited for their courses than what’s currently available. They understand the financial challenges posed by expensive commercial textbooks and they have jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with the Press and Libraries.

University Press Week Blog Tour: Surprise!

University Press Week is November 8-12. The UP Blog Tour will feature entries all week long that celebrate this year’s theme, “Keep UP.” This year marks the 10th anniversary of UP Week, and the university press community will celebrate how university presses have evolved over the past decade.

 

Today’s theme is Surprise! We celebrate with a rundown of what others in the University Press community are doing.

Texas A&M University Press One big surprise of the past 10 years is the major inroad made by TAMU Press (and UPs in general, especially smaller UPs) into the general trade market, with our trade books taking their place alongside commercial publishers in terms of popularity.

University of South Carolina Press Guest blog from author Mary Martha Greene, author of The Cheese Biscuit Queen Tells Allan astounding (and wonderfully surprising) success.

University of Virginia Press Guest blog from Grace Mitchell Tada, coeditor with Walter Hood of Black Landscapes Matter, which went into its third printing recently.

MIT Press A guest post from a Press editor on our new diverse voices fund.

University Press Week Blog Tour: Manifesto

University Press Week is November 8-12. The UP Blog Tour will feature entries all week long that celebrate this year’s theme, “Keep UP.” This year marks the 10th anniversary of UP Week, and the university press community will celebrate how university presses have evolved over the past decade. 

 

Honoring today’s theme of Manifesto, we provide a brief history of Temple University Press and how it is has evolved over more than 50 years.

On the occasion of the founding of Temple University Press in 1969, Director Maurice English composed the following lines:

At a time when universities are under assault
from the outside and from within
from the forces of repression and from those of confrontation,

The creation of a new university press is an event.
It is a notable event when the new press bears the name
of Temple University
and is therefore meeting a double challenge—

To fulfill its original commitment to urban education,
and simultaneously to foster
that passion of inquiry
which is the essence of scholarship.

For that passion, in the end, determines what men truly know
and therefore how they will act,
if they act well.

Over the subsequent decades, Temple University Press has continued to complement the University’s commitment to urban education English described by publishing more than 2000 titles for scholarly and regional audiences.

In April 1969, nearly 18 months after its approval by the Board of Trustees, the Press was formally established, with Maurice English as its Director. English came to Temple from the University of Chicago Press, where he had been senior editor.

University President Paul Anderson, in consultation with the faculty and the deans, appointed the first Board of Review, responsible for evaluating manuscripts for proposed publication by the Press and upholding a high standard of scholarship.

Temple’s earliest books were tied to the activities of faculty members. The first title put out by the new Press was Marxism and Radical Religion: Essays Toward a Revolutionary Humanism (1970), edited by John C. Raines and Thomas Dean, assistant professors in the Religion Department, who revised the papers presented at a symposium held at Temple on the same subject. Raines continued his relationship with the Press for a number of years, serving as a member of the Board of Review.

Other titles from the first year included Charles Darwin: The Years of Controversy; The Origin of Species and its Critics, 1859-1882 (1970) by Peter J. Vorzimmer, a professor in the Department of History; and Gandhi, India and the World: An International Symposium (1970), edited with an introduction by Sibnarayan Ray, based on another symposium held at Temple.

The productivity of the Press and the quality of its publications did not go unnoticed by its peers; Temple’s rising status was acknowledged when it was elected to full membership in the Association of American University Presses, now the Association of University Presses, in 1972, its first year of eligibility.

David M. Bartlett succeeded English as Director in 1976.  During his tenure, the Press expanded its list and settled into the publishing areas that have come to define its identity.

In keeping with Temple’s mission as a center for urban education, the Press also focused its acquisitions on urban studies and other allied fields, although it did not limit its editorial program to the social sciences. The Press also published in world literature and communications and continued to complement the University’s role as a Philadelphia institution by building a strong list of regional titles.

During the tenures of Directors Lois Patton (1999-2002) and Alex Holzman (2003-2014), the Press’s reporting line shifted from the Provost to the University Library, with the goal of developing joint projects and raising the profile of the Press on campus and in the region.

The Press continues to enjoy this relationship with the Library under Director Mary Rose Muccie, who was hired in 2014. Muccie’s knowledge of electronic and open access publishing helped launch North Broad Press, a joint publishing imprint between the Press and Library. Publishing open textbooks from members of the University community, North Broad Press published its first title, Structural Analysis by Felix Udoeyo, in 2019, and has since published two additional titles.

Muccie was at the helm as the Press returned to publishing journals. The first, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, edited by Press author George Lipsitz, launched in 2014 and publishes biannually on behalf of the University of California Santa Barbara’s Center for Black Studies Research. The open-access journal Commonwealth: A Journal of Pennsylvania Politics and Policy, published in partnership with the Pennsylvania Political Science Association, soon followed.

Current Editor-in-Chief Aaron Javsicas continues to broaden the scope of the Press’s list of regional titles, and has launched several new series, including The Political Lessons from American Cities, edited by Richardson Dilworth, which publishes short books on major American cities and the  lessons each offers to the study of American politics. Editor Ryan Mulligan has introduced Studies in Transgressions, which publishes books at the crossroad of sociology and critical criminology, and Shaun Vigil, the latest editorial hire, has expanded the Press lists in ethnic and disability studies.

Temple’s current list reflects the traditional commitments of the University, the changing terrain of contemporary scholarship, and the shifting realities of the publishing industry. As a child of the 1960s, Temple was quick to recognize the scholarly value and social importance of women’s studies, ethnic studies, and the study of race. The Press has published several notable titles by many of the key figures in these disciplines. Temple’s chair of the Africology and African American Studies department Molefi Asante authored the groundbreaking book The Afrocentric Idea (1987), which was heralded by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Temple was also one of the first presses to become active in the field when it published Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and their Social Context (1982) by Elaine Kim. Under the supervision of then Editor-in-Chief Janet Francendese, Temple launched the groundbreaking book series Asian American History and Culture.

The Press enjoyed tremendous success with the publication of the first edition of The Eagles Encyclopedia (2005), by Ray Didinger and Robert S. Lyons. The book was an instant best seller and generated two subsequent editions, The New Eagles Encyclopedia (2014) and The Eagles Encyclopedia: Champions Edition (2018).

In addition, Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell (2002), More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell (2006), and Philadelphia Mural Arts @ 30 (2014) established the Press’s relationship with Mural Arts Philadelphia.  The relationship continued with the publication of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia (2019).

Other Press best sellers include Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith’s autobiography, Silent Gesture (2008); Envisioning Emancipation (2013) which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work—Non-Fiction and was a Top 25 Choice Outstanding Academic Title; Frankie Manning, a memoir by the famed Lindy hopper (2007); and The Audacity of Hoop (2015), tracking the role of basketball in the life and presidency of Barack Obama.

Temple earned the support of city government, Philadelphia public schools, and area corporations in producing P Is for Philadelphia (2005), a richly illustrated book featuring student art about various aspects of life in the Philadelphia region, from A to Z. The project promoted literacy and civic pride and raised public awareness of the Press and the University as integral parts of the community.

Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America (2010), chronicling the first American civil rights movement, is one of many Press titles on both African American history and social justice. The book, by Daniel Biddle and Murray Dubin, was reissued as a paperback in 2017, in conjunction with the unveiling of a new statue commemorating Catto, the first statue on Philadelphia public property to recognize a specific African American.

The Man-Not (2017), by Tommy Curry, which introduced the conceptual foundations for Black Male Studies, was a crossover success, winning the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award and inaugurating Curry’s Black Male Studies series.

In 2019, the Press showcased its relationship with the University with Color Me…Cherry & White: A Temple University Press Coloring Book. The 60-page coloring book features more than twenty iconic Temple University landmarks and is a keepsake for the Temple community worldwide.

More than fifty years from its founding, Temple University Press continues to thrive, pursuing its mission as a prominent voice for socially engaged scholarship and a leading publisher of books that matter to readers in Philadelphia and beyond.

A Transition From Purchasing to Collaborating: The Relationships Behind Open Access 

This week in North Philly Notes, we celebrate Open Access week with a post by Ryan Mulligan, acquisitions editor at the Press, about our open access initiatives.

This week is Open Access Week, which celebrates the producers and distributors of information who remove the barriers to entry, namely cost but also legal apparatus, facing the potential readers who are trying to access scholarly work. There are plenty of open access models that attempt to resolve the impasse of cost-bearing, turning from readers as bearers of those costs to libraries, grant institutions, and universities themselves, the institutions that ultimately hold the standard for scholarly productivity. Temple University Press is acutely aware that the benefits of book publishing as a means of public scholarship—editing, design, and marketing, that work to lift the most urgent and rigorous signals above the noise in the sea of information available to seekers— come at a cost. In traditional publishing, costs lie with the reader, often represented by a library, seeking the information. As library budgets have either shrunk or been allocated to high-priced journal subscriptions, individual readers—be they scholars or students—have had to cover more of the cost. Unsurprisingly, many readers find themselves unable to bear that cost and the gap between those who can and cannot furthers inequality in academia.

To that end and with an eye towards the future of scholarly publishing, Temple University Press engages with a number of open access publishing initiatives in an attempt to lift those costs from the shoulders of readers. The Press submits books each year to the Knowledge Unlatched program, in which participating libraries select the books to be added to the collection. Publishers are then paid a set amount to help subsidize production costs in order to release the book in an open access ebook edition. Temple University Press also embraces TOME’s Open Monograph program, in which academic authors are subsidized by their participating universities to publish with a participating university press like Temple. I personally love the concept of this program, because in many disciplines, it is the university itself that holds book publication as a standard for tenure and promotion. TOME reconciles the cost of that standard. Temple also has been able to publish books open access through funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities through their open books program, in particular books in the Press’s excellent labor history backlist. All of the Press’s open access books are available on our Manifold platform

University presses are non-profit, mission-based publishers who want to see the good scholarship they publish in as many hands as possible, just as readers and the librarians who serve them want to access that scholarship, and just as authors want to be widely read and cited. Scholarly authors may not typically derive much income from their royalties, but their institutions reward them for having vetted and published their work. Institutions want to have the best published, most knowledgeable faculties to offer their students, and the healthiest knowledge environments in which their students and scholars can share and communicate. Similarly, institutions have a role to play in preserving the scholarly publishing apparatus necessary to vetting and broadcasting the work of their scholars. The scholarly ecosystem continues to need the backing that once came through university library purchases to fund the production and circulation of knowledge. Open access publishing acknowledges that the onus on facilitating the continuation of good scholarship is not on the individual buyer of a book but on the full scholarly community. 

As our authors compose their books, they depend on a lack of barriers to engage with and build on the knowledge base of their discipline. No one produces knowledge out of whole cloth and no scholar is taken seriously who does not draw on the work of others with the expectation that others will draw on their work. They quote short text excerpts and create tables of data collected by their fellow researchers. They cite established theory or build on promising new hypotheses. They illustrate their books with maps and illustrations released into the public domain or Creative Commons by creators who don’t depend on individual sales to continue their work—they have an institution backing them up. Scholarly book publishing already depends on open access scholarship on some level. If the scholarly ecosystem that institutions depend upon is going to continue to be healthy, that level is going to rise and institutions are going to have to meet that cost, if not through individual purchases, then through open access funding. 

There is risk in shifting power and responsibility from a market to a collaboration. Readers’ needs and interests must continue to be protected even if their power in bearing costs shifts. The potential in that shift is in rethinking the responsibilities of the many organizations and institutional parties who have a stake in the knowledge ecosystem.

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