Academic newsletter - September 2017

Alastair Horne
Opinion - Academic Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Alastair Horne, in association with the London Book Fair, on CUP's China crisis and other news from the academic world


Cambridge deals with China crisis
The controversy over censorship of academic content in China continues, after the Guardian reported over the weekend that Cambridge University Press had refused to block articles from a second journal, the American Political Science Review, when asked to do so by a state-owned import agency. Cambridge had initially acceded to a request from one Chinese import agency to remove 300 articles - on subjects including the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square and the legacy of Mao Zedong - from its journal China Quarterly, ahead of a planned meeting with Chinese agencies at the Beijing Book Fair. However, following an outcry after the journal's editor Tim Pringle drew public attention to the decision, the University of Cambridge announced that the Press had reversed what it described as a "temporary measure" and reinstated the offending articles.

Cambridge's announcement of this change of heart was greeted warmly: its post on Chinese social media network Weibo received more than 2,600 shares and 500 comments, before it was itself deleted. However, the Chinese English-language tabloid Global Times responded combatively to the initial furore in an editorial suggesting that if Western institutions "don't like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us".

Liverpool achieves enlightenment
Liverpool University Press has announced a strategic partnership with the University of Oxford's Voltaire Foundation that will see the press assume responsibility for publishing 11 new titles annually in the Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment series in both print and digital formats, while also making more than 500 backlist titles in the series available digitally for the first time. The foundation was established in 1976 and publishes in both French and English.

De Gruyter to digitise entire backlist
De Gruyter has announced that it is to digitise its entire backlist of nearly 40,000 books, an archive which dates back to 1749 and includes works by writers ranging from Noam Chomsky to the Brothers Grimm. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2020, will replace the publisher's existing on-demand "e-dition" project, which has already made 10,000 formerly out-of-print books available in hardback and digital formats.

Emerald joins discovery initiative
Emerald Publishing has announced that it has become one of the first academic publishers to join the NISO Open Discovery Initiative, publishing a set of checklists explaining the steps it's taking to make its content more easily discoverable. The initiative is intended to provide both a way for libraries to assess content providers' participation in discovery services and a model for content providers to work with vendors of such services. Emerald has also signed up to guidelines published by the Center for Open Science on Transparency and Openness.

Academic publishing salaries below industry average
The bookcareers Salary Survey has reported that the average salary in academic publishing is £31,300, slightly below the wider industry average of £32,228, but also markedly lower than the average salary of £35,030 in STM. Overall, 85% of the survey's 1,023 responses were from women, who tended to earn 16% less than men, and 90% identified as white British, the lowest figure recorded since the survey began gathering such data in 2008.

@pressfuturist

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