From 11th to 13th June more than six hundred university press publishers gathered in the Michigan city of Detroit for the annual meeting of the Association of University Presses. This impressive meeting brings together staff from presses across North America as well as representatives from publishers around the world.

Newgen’s Managing Director for UK and US operations Jo Bottrill attended this year’s event, representing Newgen and networking with customers and prospects. As sponsors we are proud to support the great work the association does in representing and supporting our customers and their staff in challenging and somewhat uncertain times.

The event centred around an impressive programme of talks, panel discussions and seminars. Topics covered the full range of issues facing university presses, from cover design through to fundraising and the challenges in launching a new journal. Consistent through many of the sessions were the issues of open access, equality and accessibility.

Some of the key points takeaways include:

  1. The university press community is buzzing with ambition and ideas. Press staff are intent on working collaboratively across the industry, in asserting and increasing their value (to their institutions, to scholarship and to the wider society). At the heart of this community is a focus on continuous improvement and experimentation.
  2. While uncertainty remains around open access and plan S, university presses are committed to making open access work. It’s at the heart of what university presses stand for, and there is concern about the impact to the established business model, there is widespread intent on finding solutions and making a success of the various OA models.
  3. Initiatives around the XML workflow, backlist conversion and creating truly digital first content that is born accessible are far from complete. Many presses, like the University of Michigan Press, lead the way in much of this work, many more have further to travel. As a vendor Newgen has a responsibility to support the industry with our great solutions and to help presses make their content more discoverable and accessible.

“This was a hugely optimistic event, a reminder of how exciting it is to be at the coal face of academic publishing. “

This was a hugely optimistic event, a reminder of how exciting it is to be at the coal face of academic publishing. Bringing together dedicated people, industry leading technology and a signature can do attitude to all of the publishing challenges our customers face, Newgen is perfectly placed to support university presses.

If you’d like to know more about this conference and the good work of the association you can read the conference Twitter stream by searching #AUPresses19 and by following @aupresses. Next year’s meeting is in Seattle. We look forward to meeting with more of the many university presses we already work with and to opening new conversations with those we are yet to support.

Jo Bottrill is Managing Director of Newgen’s UK and US onshore operations, you can reach him at jo@newgen.co