News: Academic Publishing Weekly

A Duke University Press profile, Pearson's price tag, and the rise of GetFTR

By Choice Staff
Academic Publishing Weekly: the latest curated news from around the industry. Purple background, white lettering.

Spotlight on Duke Press’s Ken Wissoker

This week in the New Yorker Jennifer Wilson profiles Ken Wissoker, famed editor at Duke University Press. Wilson charts Wissoker’s illustrious career, focusing on his interest in cultural studies and how the subject area has grown in academia in the past decades. Looking at the press in particular, Wilson also unpacks the prestige and characteristics of Duke’s titles—sleek cover designs, crossover appeal, ahead-of-the-curve topics. In addition, Wilson digs into Wissoker’s psyche and worldview, asking about the formation of the Duke University Press Workers Union, the overarching decrease in university tenure appointments, and the signatories of Duke authors in support of Harvard’s John Comaroff, a professor accused of sexual harassment and threats of retaliation. [New Yorker]

I imagined the possibility that a person could fight so long to move ideas out of the margins that he could lose sight of the moment when they had finally made it close to the center. 

Jennifer Wilson, New Yorker

Publisher Updates: Pearson Dips and HarperCollins Expands

Pearson’s shares took a 12 percent dip this week after rejecting private equity firm Apollo’s third offer, which valued the education publishing company at nearly $9 billion. The Pearson board stated that the bid “significantly undervalued the company and its future prospects,” while Apollo announced that it does not plan to make a fourth offer. The Guardian provides context on Pearson’s journey, reminding readers of the company’s decline in revenue that only recently redirected itself. In other news, HarperCollins announced a new publishing imprint Harper Select, which “will focus exclusively on memoir and narrative nonfiction titles with [Matt] Baugher acquiring, managing, and editing each book project.” As senior vice president and publisher, Baugher hopes to “hand-select an exclusive number of projects each year that are uniquely positioned to capture the interest of the reader through amazing experiences and the people who’ve lived them.”

The Growth of GetFTR

Get Full Text Research (GetFTR) announced that it has reached the milestone of supporting over 51 percent of global research output. As a refresher, GetFTR works to enhance discoverability by streamlining access to journal articles. The service is backed by major publishers like Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley and “[holds] partnerships with over 35 publishers and integrators.” Just this year, GetFTR teamed up with IOP Publishing, Elsevier’s Scopus, and the digital library platform DeepDyve. GetFTR’s Dianne Benham noted, “We are incredibly proud of the growth and strength in partnerships, additional use cases, and breadth across the scholarly communications ecosystem that we have and continue to build.” [Research Information]

In the Name of Open Scholarship: US Academic Leaders, Assemble!

Helios isn’t just the name of the sun god. Leaders from over 60 universities have come together to form HELIOS, the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship. The goal of the project includes increasing transparency and community in academia, as well as “[ensuring] that as many students, faculty, practitioners, policy makers, and community members as possible have access to, and a voice in, research and scholarship.” HELIOS members will begin meeting “imminently” and plan to work closely with campus stakeholders to advance their goals, among other action points. [Research Information]

Gearing Up for History’s Biggest Night

The Cundill History Prize announced its jury chair this week, passing the torch to JR McNeill, a Georgetown University environmental historian. McNeill, who has published several titles with Harvard, Cambridge, and more, will be instrumental in preparing the annual prize’s shortlist, coming later this year in the fall. The Cundill History Prize plans to announce the finalists in October and the winner (of $75,000!) in December. Publishers may submit works until the May 6th deadline. [Publishing Perspectives]