University Press Content Consortium – a major USA collaboration to watch

Further to our February 22 blog advocating for more collaboration amongst Australian university presses, the March announcement of the USA’s University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) launching in January 1, 2012, confirms and expands the potential for such collaboration.

Although precise details are hazy, the primary driver for this initiative appears to be more on the marketing and distribution side of things, rather than on the production side. Their media release states: “The partnership allows e-books from an anticipated 60-70 university presses and non-profit scholarly presses—representing as many as 30,000 frontlist and backlist titles—to be discovered and searched in an integrated environment with content from nearly 500 journals currently on MUSE.”

It will be interesting to watch over time how this level of collaboration spills over to sharing production platforms also. It would make sense for the 60-70 presses to develop alliances around platforms, and perhaps some services, for manuscript submission, peer-review, copy editing, design & layout, ebook formatting, print-on-demand, and other common areas of need.

For a stimulating collection of thoughts about the future of scholarly publishing, see this edition of the Journal of Electronic Publishing dedicated to ‘reimagining the university press’.

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