Why a University Press Is a Good Investment

This post by Darrin Pratt appears concurrently on the University Press of Colorado blog.

There’s a minor miracle continually performed by the 142 university presses worldwide who compose the membership of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP). It involves taking a relatively small annual budget and multiplying that budget until it becomes substantially larger. The consequence is that these same presses are able to deliver quite a bit more on their mission as nonprofit scholarly publishers than their institutional allocations directly support.

In 2015, 67 participating US and Canadian university presses (slightly less than half the membership of the Association of American University Presses and excluding the two largest, Cambridge and Oxford) reported receiving a collective institutional budget that was just shy of $28 million.*

From that $28 million, these 67 presses generated $261.5 million in book sales. After the cost of sales (direct costs such as print costs and royalty payments) is deducted, roughly $156 million is left for presses to spend on acquiring, peer reviewing, editing, designing, producing, and, importantly, marketing the books they published in 2015. Thus, they increased a starting budget of $28 million to a budget of $184 million, a pretty remarkable increase in support of their collective mission to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge through the publication of high-quality scholarly books and related projects. There are not many university departments that can claim comparable results.

Recently, ITHAKA S+R published a report on book publishing costs at university presses, which showed that these costs are not insubstantial. Don Waters of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation references this report in a recent article in Against the Grain, averaging the ITHAKA S+R figures with those from another study at Indiana University and University of Michigan to come up with a round cost of $30,000 per scholarly monograph published, excluding any direct costs (print costs, royalties). This is not the number for what it costs to publish a monograph, as the ITHAKA report clearly demonstrates, but it is an easy-to-understand, handy-for-back-of-the-napkin-calculations number at a level most university presses would consider to be in the ballpark.

So let’s revisit the budget sources above with that number in mind. If university presses had to rely on institutional infusions alone, the $28 million budget provided to them would allow them to publish roughly 900 scholarly monographs, a fairly underwhelming collective output.

Because of the income that they are able to produce from that starting budget, though, the magnified pool of approximately $184 million should allow the 67 reporting presses to publish just over 6,000 new titles, using the cost number proposed by Waters. In fact, these 67 presses reported publishing more than 6,400 titles in 2015, or roughly seven times the 900 books supported directly by their parent institutions. Not all of these 6,400 new books were scholarly monographs in the narrowest sense of the term, but virtually all of them were driven by academic research and communicate those findings to a variety of audiences inside and outside academia.

Expanding budgets—and, consequently, scholarly output—is not the only institutional augmentation that university presses perform. They are also great at brand extension. Although many presses publish in disciplines that reflect the strengths of their home institution, they just as frequently publish in areas that the home institution is not known for, and the university brand benefits from this exposure. In addition, top research universities increasingly describe their missions as international or global in scope. University presses, through ebook aggregations that sell monographs to libraries, have placed over 40,000 book titles alongside journals in ProjectMUSE and JSTOR collections that are accessible in up to 50 countries. This represents truly global dissemination of research for institutions with global missions. This brand extension, as we see, is multifaceted. And you get all of this, at least in this particular sample of the AAUP membership, for a mere $28 million spread across 67 sponsoring institutions.

In the world of research university budgets, that is an awfully good deal.

*The source of the figures cited here is the 2012–2015 Annual Operating Statistics Survey of the Association of American University Presses.

Darrin Pratt is the director of the University Press of Colorado and the current president of the Association of American University Presses.

University Press Week Blog Tour: What’s Surprising? #ReadUp

UpWeekThis week, Princeton University Press will be participating in the University Press Week blog tour. Stay tuned for our featured post on Wednesday from our Design department on the launch of an exciting new social media initiative.

Today, in keeping with the online gallery theme, check out posts from other university presses on what projects they’ve found particularly surprising. Our own biggest surprise of the year is a foray into children’s literature with the 150th anniversary edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, including illustrations by Salvador Dalí. You can read more about that at the online gallery, and on the PUP blog later this week.

So, what’s surprising in university press publishing this year? #ReadUp!

  • University Press of Florida blogs recipes and photos from recent UPF cookbooks that have changed how people view the Sunshine State, highlighting a thriving food scene that has often gone unnoticed amid the state’s highly-publicized beaches and theme parks.
  • University Press of New England reflects on the unusual success of a book from their trade imprint, ForeEdge. The book is titled Winning Marriage by Marc Solomon, and traces the years-long, state-by-state legal battle for marriage equality in America. Surprises came in many forms: from the serendipitous timing of the book’s publication with the Supreme Court ruling to the book’s ability to resonate with general readers and legal scholars alike—and many others surprises in between.
  • University Press of Mississippi, Steve Yates, marketing director, describes how the Press has partnered with Lemuria Books in Jackson and writers across the state to create the Mississippi Books page at the Clarion Ledger.
  • University Press of Kentucky features a pop quiz of some surprising facts about AAUP Member Presses.
  • University of California Press will discuss their Luminos and Collabra OA publishing platforms.
  • University of Wisconsin Press writes about how mystery fiction is a surprise hit, and a surprisingly good fit for their publishing program. Their sleuths in several series include a duo of globe-trotting art history experts, a Wisconsin sheriff in a favorite tourist destination, a gay literature professor, and a tough detective who quotes Shakespeare and Melville.
  • The University of Nebraska Press is more than their books! Find out about the UNP staff and who they are.
  • And check out surprise posts from University of Michigan and University Press of Kansas as well.


Get Ready for University Press Week! #UPWeek


This week we’re putting Bird Fact Friday on hold as we prepare for University Press Week, an annual event when we celebrate the many contributions that university presses make to academia and an informed society.

#UPWeek began in 1978 with President Jimmy Carter, “in recognition of the impact, both here and abroad, of American university presses on culture and scholarship.” Today that influence is stronger than ever as university presses expand their publishing programs, take advantage of the opportunities afforded by a more global society, and explore new ways to bring valuable content to readers. This helpful infographic designed by our own Jessica Massabrook summarizes a great deal of fascinating information about this segment of the publishing industry.

Here at PUP, we have some great things planned!

Our contribution to the #UPWeek blog tour will come on Wednesday, November 11 and will focus on UP Design. Chris Lapinksi will be announcing an exciting new social media development in PUP’s design department.

Other special features include:

Kellie Rendina, from Advertising, will post on children’s literature for adults, with a focus on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Check out the AAUP’s online gallery of featured titles from various university presses for more information on this and other surprising offerings!


Peter Dougherty, Director of PUP, will talk about what’s new at PUP, particularly how we’re using technology to reach our readers.

In addition, each day we’ll be bringing together daily round ups of all the great posts from our fellow university presses.


How can you get involved? Easy! Sign up to attend the November 10th online session entitled Opening Access: The Reinvention of the Academic Book and the November 13 online session called It’s Not Scary: The Art of Getting Published with a Scholarly Press. You can also check this map to find your local university presses. Follow them on social media, using the hashtag #ReadUP to join the conversation, and check their blogs for exciting new content as we celebrate academic publishing together.

Princeton University Press launches The Digital Einstein Papers

DEP front page

Launching today, THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS is a publicly available website of the collected and translated papers of Albert Einstein that allows readers to explore the writings of the world’s most famous scientist as never before.

Princeton, NJ – December 5, 2014 – Princeton University Press, in partnership with Tizra, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and California Institute of Technology, announces the launch of THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS (http://einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu). This unique, authoritative resource provides full public access to the translated and annotated writings of the most influential scientist of the twentieth century: Albert Einstein.

“Princeton University Press has a long history of publishing books by and about Albert Einstein, including the incredible work found in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein,” said Peter Dougherty, director of Princeton University Press. “We are delighted to make these texts openly available to a global audience of researchers, scientists, historians, and students keen to learn more about Albert Einstein. This project not only furthers the mission of the press to publish works that contribute to discussions that have the power to change our world, but also illustrates our commitment to pursuing excellence in all forms of publishing—print and digital.”

THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS website presents the complete contents of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, and, upon its launch, the website—http://einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu—will contain 5,000 documents covering the first forty-four years of Einstein’s life, up to and including the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics and his long voyage to the Far East. Additional material will be available on the website approximately eighteen months after the print publication of new volumes of The Collected Papers. Eventually, the website will provide access to all of Einstein’s writings and correspondence, accompanied by scholarly annotation and apparatus.

What sorts of gems will users discover in THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS? According to Diana L. Kormos-Buchwald, director of the Einstein Papers Project, “This material has been carefully researched and annotated over the last twenty-five years and contains all of Einstein’s scientific and popular writings, drafts, lecture notes, and diaries, and his professional and personal correspondence up to his forty-fourth birthday—so users will discover major scientific articles on the general theory of relativity, gravitation, and quantum theory alongside his love letters to his first wife, correspondence with his children, and his intense exchanges with other notable scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and political personalities of the early twentieth century.”

Buchwald also noted that THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS will introduce current and future generations to important ideas and moments in history, saying, “It is exciting to think that thanks to the careful application of new technology, this work will now reach a much broader audience and stand as the authoritative digital source for Einstein’s written legacy.”

THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS enables readers to experience the writings of Albert Einstein in unprecedented ways. Advance search technology improves discoverability by allowing users to perform keyword searches across volumes of Einstein’s writing and, with a single click, navigate between the original languages in which the texts were written and their English translations. Further exploration is encouraged by extensive explanatory footnotes, introductory essays, and links to the Einstein Archives Online, where there are thousands of high-quality digital images of Einstein’s writings.

The Tizra platform was selected for this project, according to Kenneth Reed, manager of digital production for Princeton University Press, because of its highly flexible, open, and intuitive content delivery approach, and its strong reputation for reliability. Equally important was creating a user-friendly reading experience.

“One of the reasons we chose Tizra is that we wanted to preserve the look and feel of the volumes,” said Reed. “You’ll see the pages as they appear in the print volumes, with added functionality such as linking between the documentary edition and translation, as well as linking to the Einstein Archives Online, and the ability to search across all the volumes in English and German.”

THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS is an unprecedented scholarly collaboration that highlights what is possible when technology, important content, and a commitment to global scholarly communication are brought together. We hope you will join us in celebrating this achievement and invite you to explore Einstein’s writings with the links below.

Work on THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS was supported by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. endowment, the California Institute of Technology, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Arcadia Fund, U.K.

A Sampling of Documents Found in THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS

Website: http://einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu

“My Projects for the Future” — In this high school French essay, a seventeen-year-old Einstein describes his future plans, writing that “young people especially like to contemplate bold projects.”

Letter to Mileva Marić — The first volume of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein revealed that the young Einstein had fathered an illegitimate daughter. In this letter to his sweetheart and future wife, Einstein, age twenty-two, expresses his happiness at the birth of his daughter Lieserl, and asks about her health and feeding.

Einstein’s first job offer — Einstein graduated from university in 1900, but had great difficulty finding academic employment. He received this notice of his appointment as a technical clerk at the Swiss Patent Office in June 1902 and would later describe his time there as happy and productive.

“On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” — Einstein’s 1905 paper on the special theory of relativity is a landmark in the development of modern physics.

“On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light” — Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics for this paper on the hypothesis of energy quanta.

The telegram informing that Einstein he has won the Nobel Prize — Einstein was traveling in the Far East when he officially learned via telegram that he had been awarded the prize. However, he had long been expecting the prize, as evidenced by a clause regarding its disposition in a preliminary divorce agreement from Mileva in 1918.

“The Field Equations of Gravitation” — Einstein spent a decade developing the general theory of relativity and published this article in late 1915.

To his mother Pauline Einstein — Einstein writes to his ailing mother to share the happy news that his prediction of gravitational light bending was confirmed by a British eclipse expedition in 1919.

To Heinrich Zangger, on the mercurial nature of fame — Having been propelled to world fame, Einstein writes to his friend about the difficulties of being “worshipped today, scorned or even crucified tomorrow.”

To Max Planck, on receiving credible death threats — Einstein writes that he cannot attend the Scientist’s Convention in Berlin because he is “supposedly among the group of persons being targeted by nationalist assassins.”

Four Lectures on the Theory of Relativity, held at Princeton University in May 1921 — On his first trip to the United States, Einstein famously delivered these lectures on the theory of relativity.

About The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein
The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein is one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science. Selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in Einstein’s personal collection, and 15,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the beginning of the Einstein Project, The Collected Papers provides the first complete picture of a massive written legacy. When completed, the series will contain more than 14,000 documents as full text and will fill thirty volumes. The volumes are published by Princeton University Press, sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and supported by the California Institute of Technology.

About Princeton University Press
Princeton University Press is an independent publisher with close connections, both formal and informal, to Princeton University. As such it has overlapping responsibilities to the University, the academic community, and the reading public. Our fundamental mission is to disseminate scholarship (through print and digital media) both within academia and to society at large.
http://press.princeton.edu | Twitter: @PrincetonUPress

About Tizra
Tizra’ digital publishing platform makes it easy to distribute and sell ebooks and other digital content directly to readers, with exceptional control over the user experience. Combining intuitive control panels with integrated ecommerce, SEO, mobile, multimedia, and content remixing capabilities, Tizra empowers content owners to respond quickly to market feedback and build audience relationships that will hold up over the long haul. The company is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, and funded in part by Rhode Island’s Slater Technology Fund.
http://tizra.com  |  Twitter: @tizra

Media contacts:

In North America, Australia, & Asia:
Jessica Pellien
Phone: (609) 258-7879
Fax: (609) 258-1335
In Europe, Africa, & the Middle East:
Julia Hall
Phone: 1993-814-900
Fax: 1993-814-504

PUP News of the World — November 19, 2014


Each week we post a round-up of some of our most exciting national and international PUP book coverage. Reviews, interviews, events, articles — this is the spot for coverage of all things “PUP books” that took place in the last week. Enjoy!

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales

of the Brothers Grimm

These are not the bedtime stories that you remember.

When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style.

For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezsö.

The 156 stories in the Complete First Edition are raw, authentic, and unusual. Familiar tales are spare and subversive: “Rapunzel” ends abruptly when the title character gets pregnant, and in “Little Snow White” and “Hansel and Gretel,” the wicked stepmother is actually a biological mother. Unfamiliar tales such as “How Some Children Played at Slaughtering” were deleted, rewritten, or hidden in scholarly notes, but are restored to the collection here.

The Guardian interviewed author Jack Zipes for a piece on the Grimms and their tales. Here is a sneak peak of the article:

Wilhelm Grimm, said Zipes, “deleted all tales that might offend a middle-class religious sensitivity”, such as How Some Children Played at Slaughtering. He also “added many Christian expressions and proverbs”, continued Zipes, stylistically embellished the tales, and eliminated fairies from the stories because of their association with French fairy tales. “Remember, this is the period when the French occupied Germany during the Napoleonic wars,” said Zipes. “So, in Briar Rose, better known as Sleeping Beauty, the fairies are changed into wise women. Also, a crab announces to the queen that she will become pregnant, not a frog.”

Check out the full article on the Guardian‘s website.

On the other side of the pond, USA Today takes a look at the book in a piece entitled “These Grimm fairy tales are not for the kiddies,”  and cheezburger.com warns that “your kids may never sleep again.” Take a look for yourself — view Chapter One, The Frog King, or Iron Henry.

Our friends at the Times in South Africa and at NRC Handelsblad in Germany also discuss the book this week. Zipes discusses the book on Monocle radio.

now 11.19

 Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game


It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades–all before his suicide at age forty-one. This year, his story comes to a theater near you — The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley is due out before the end of the year. And the inspiration for the script sits on a shelf here in Princeton: Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.

This acclaimed biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing’s royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life. Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design.

The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program–all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.

As it is released in the UK, the Guardian takes a look at the film. Hodges provides comments for the piece:

Andrew Hodges, who published the first substantial biography of Turing, Alan Turing: The Enigma, in 1983, suggests that “the production and presentation of the new film [reflects] underlying cultural and political changes” of the last decade and a half – leading to Gordon Brown’s posthumous apology to Turing in 2009, and subsequent royal pardon in 2013.

Hodges said: “Obviously the changes that happened in the UK under the Labour government of 1997-2010, when a robust principle of equality was established in civil society, have made a big difference. Gordon Brown’s 2009 apology was a good example of those changes, and his words seemed to encourage a lot of other people to take the historical question as a serious human rights issue.”

Express reviews The Imitation Game, noting that:

Turing should be a national treasure, honoured for his extraordinary achievement in solving the fiendish mysteries of the greatest encryption device in history. He helped turn the tide against the Nazis. Without Turing the age of the computer might never have come to pass as quickly as it did.

Engineering and Technology magazine interviews Andrew Hodges — check out one of the questions below:

Q: The blue plaque at Alan Turing’s birthplace that you unveiled in 1998 describes Turing as ‘code-breaker and pioneer of computer science’. Are these six words a good crystallisation of the man, or do we need to expand upon them?

A: Turing would have described himself as a mathematician. I think it’s fair to unpack that and describe some of the things he did. The two things he did which are most distinctive are that he founded the whole concept of computer science, upon which everything in computer science theory is now based. And the other thing was his work during the Second World War, which was extremely important cryptanalysis.

Although what he did often seems abstruse, he was unusual in that he was very alive to engineering and the concrete application of difficult ideas. The best example of that is in his code-breaking work. But you can see it in everything he did. Computer science is all about linking logical possibilities with the physical reality. There are lots of paradoxes in Turing’s life, but this is the central theme.

Begin cracking the code by reading Chapter One of Alan Turing: The Enigma.



Wrapping up #UPWeek — Follow Friday

What a week it has been. Wrapping up the university press blog tour are six movers and shakers. These university presses take to their blogs to discuss fields, authors, and research that is on the cutting edge. Check out these posts for insight into what university presses are adding to scholarly and popular discussions right now.

upress week 2

University of Illinois Press — University of Illinois Press discusses the emerging topics and authors in their Geopolitics of Information series.

University of Minnesota Press — John Hartigan, a participant in the University of Minnesota Press’s new Forerunners series, explains the ways in which he uses social media to enhance scholarly connections and establish social-media conversations with regard to his research.

University of Nebraska Press — How should university pressess be adding to the conversation on social media and who is doing it right? University of Nebraska Press’s marketing department takes a look at the potential for social media use in scholarly publishing.

NYU Press — The folks at NYU Press blog about the forthcoming website for the book Keywords for American Cultural Studies (Second Edition).

Island Press — Island Press takes a look at what is on their editors’ radar these days and why those scholars and fields are important.

Columbia University Press — Every Friday, the Columbia University Press blog runs a post called the University Press Roundup in which they highlight posts from around the academic publishing blogosphere. This blog tour post explains how and why they have made a commitment to a blog series that rarely features their own titles. They discuss how university press blogs generate publicity for individual titles but also provide a much-needed environment where scholarship can be presented for a general readership.

#AAUPWeek Seminar: Collaboration in Scholarly Publishing


About this program:

Collaborations spearheaded by university and academic presses with research libraries, scholars, and other universities around the world are a vital part of publishing today. It is these alliances that keep university presses at the forefront of literature, theory, research, and ideas, making them stewards of modern thought.

In this discussion, Jennifer Howard from The Chronicle of Higher Education is joined by three panelists who have spearheaded innovative collaborations that cross the boundaries of nations, institutions, and disciplines: Barbara Kline Pope, Executive Director for Communications at National Academies Press and also President of the AAUP, Peter Dougherty, Director of Princeton University Press, and Ron Chrisman, director of the University of North Texas Press.

The projects to be discussed are:
• Princeton University Press and Caltech’s Einstein Papers Project provides the first complete picture of Albert Einstein’s massive written legacy. http://www.einstein.caltech.edu
• National Academy Press’s Academy Scope is a visualization of all of the titles that are available on NAP.edu, allowing readers to browse through the reports of the National Academies by topic area and seeing relationships between titles. http://www.nap.edu/academy-scope
• University of North Texas Press teams up with the University of North Texas Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and the University of Magallanes in Chile to introduce Magellanic Sub-Antarctic Ornithology.  This project is the result of a decade of research conducted by scientist associated with the Omora Ethnobotanical Park in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve in Chile. https://untpress.unt.edu/catalog/3564

Looking back — a #TBT for #UPWeek

Upress week


This afternoon, we head back in time for University Press Week’s Throwback Thursday. Check out these six posts for a look back at the history, recent and not so recent, of university presses.

Temple University Press — The folks at Temple University discuss the development of their influential Asian History and Culture series.

Wesleyan University Press — Learn more about the great Wesleyan Poetry Series with this group of #tbt posts.

Harvard University Press — Late last year, Harvard University Press made roughly 3,000 previously unavailable backlist works available again. These titles go back as far as the late 1800s. (How cool!) While prepping the data, we kept a running list of titles that were really showing their age. This post will give you a few laughs as you are asked to name “Backlist Title from Harvard University Press – OR – Song by Theatrically Erudite Indie Band The Decemberists?”

University of Washington Press — Check out the “then and now” cover designs of these recently reissued Asian American classics.

University of Toronto Press — University of Toronto Press will be looking back at the publications of The Champlain Society, an historical society which publishes primary source archive material that explores Canada’s history. Their post highlights this year’s volume, as well as historical images from past publications.

MIT Press — Up at MIT, they take a look back at former press designer Muriel Cooper. She designed MIT Press’s iconic colophon 50 years ago in 1964.

#UPWeek: Press Director Peter Dougherty participating in Collaboration in Scholarly Publishing today at 1 PM EST

Join the Association of American University Presses today, November 12, 2014, from 1pm-2pm ET, in celebrating scholarly presses by highlighting three exemplary collaborative projects in an online panel moderated by Jennifer Howard from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The session will be presented on Google+: http://bit.ly/ZUCKr1

Ms. Howard will be joined by Barbara Kline Pope, Executive Director for Communications at National Academies Press and AAUP President, Peter Dougherty, Director of Princeton University Press, and Ron Chrisman, Director of the University of North Texas Press to discuss the projects they spearheaded for their respective presses. These three projects illustrate some of the best work being produced in publishing today and open the door to talk about other collaborations within science and the humanities.

  • Princeton University Press and Caltech’s Einstein Papers Project provides the first complete picture of Albert Einstein’s massive written legacy.
  • National Academies Press’s Academy Scope is a visualization of all of the reports that are available on NAP.edu, allowing readers to browse through the reports of the National Academies by topic area and seeing relationships between titles.
  • University of North Texas Press, University of North Texas Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, and University of Magallanes in Chile’s Magellanic Sub-Antarctic Ornithology project is the result of a decade of research conducted by scientists associated with the Omora Ethnobotanical Park in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve in Chile.


November 12, 2014, 1pm-2pm ET

Collaboration in Scholarly Publishing

Presented on Google+



#UPWeek Princeton at the movies

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH stars in THE IMITATION GAME Photo: Jack English © 2014 The Weinstein Company. All rights reserved.

Photo: Jack English © 2014 The Weinstein Company. All rights reserved.

Lights, camera, action!

Much as A Beautiful Mind introduced millions of readers to the singular genius of John Nash as portrayed by Russell Crowe in an Oscar-winning performance, The Imitation Game—starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley,Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Charles Dance, among others, and arriving in theaters November 28—casts a spotlight on the accomplishments and contributions of Enigma code-breaker Alan Turing (1912–1954).

The movie draws inspiration from Andrew Hodges’s award-winning biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, which was originally published in 1983. Princeton University Press has released an updated, paperback movie edition complete with new material from the author that brings the story of Turing’s life current through the 2013 royal pardon of his conviction for homosexual activity. Movie-goers will no doubt be eager to learn more about Turing, an unlikely hero credited with turning the tide of World War II by cracking the German Enigma code, and Alan Turing: The Enigma offers the most authoritative and readable account of his life and work.

In celebration of #UPWeek, Princeton University Press sat down with mathematics editor, Vickie Kearn, to go behind the scenes of making a celebrated book into a major motion picture.

The Book

Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game
By Andrew Hodges

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades–all before his suicide at age forty-one. This acclaimed biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing’s royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.

Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program–all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.

Alan Turing: The Enigma is a gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution.

Movie tie-in cover for Alan Turing: The Enigma

Movie tie-in cover for Alan Turing: The Enigma

Q&A with Mathematics Editor, Vickie Kearn

PUP: Tell us about when you first heard that a film based on Alan Turing: The Enigma would be produced. Were you excited? Nervous?

VK: This is a rather interesting story. In the fall of 2011, while planning for the  Princeton University 2012 Turing Centennial Celebration, Bob Sedgewick, a professor at Princeton, contacted me about publishing a book on Alan Turing’s work, including his thesis which he wrote for his PhD at Princeton University. During this time he mentioned that there was a fantastic biography of Alan Turing written by Andrew Hodges and that the book was out of print in the US and had been for some time.

I contacted Andrew and found that I already knew his agent so I contacted him to make sure the US rights for the book were still available. The agent told me that they were and that plans were underway for a revival of the play Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitmore, which was based on the Hodges book. He also told me that a centennial edition of the book was planned by Vintage, who holds the UK rights. This all sounded very exciting, and with the forthcoming centennial events, the timing was perfect.

Just one month later the agent told me that the movie rights had been picked up by Warner Brothers and that the details of the casting, director, etc. should be known by late January of 2012. Princeton University Press worked jointly with Vintage to have the centenary edition of Alan Turing: The Enigma published in time for the centennial Turing events in May 2012, and I had little time to think too much about the movie. Time passed and the movie deal fell apart.

In the late summer of 2013, we learned that a new movie deal was struck and that Benedict Cumberbatch would be the lead actor. This was fantastic news, but I stayed rather calm because I knew by now that these things do fall apart. However, in late September I found out that Black Bear Pictures was the studio and that the movie was in pre-production. In April, we moved into high gear and began serious work on what would be in the movie edition of the book.

PUP: You worked directly with The Imitation Game’s film company and author Andrew Hodges during the making of the movie. What was your role, as editor of Alan Turing: The Enigma?

VK: I have worked with Andrew since 2011 and was very excited that we would be working on a new edition of his book and that we also would be collaborating again with Vintage in the UK. Because we decided to reset the book to improve the legibility, he had to proofread it again. That is a huge effort for a 750 page book. Everyone at the Weinstein Company has been fantastic. They respond quickly and have supported the publication of the book as much as we have supported the film. It has been a very exciting process.  As editor, it is my job to make certain that all the pieces come together at the right time. In publishing, there are many steps to make sure your book is a success. They include the review, editing, design, printing, and binding phases and then we begin the marketing, publicity, and sales events. Everything has to happen at a particular time to make the best use of the efforts of everyone at the press. We need a book cover for ads and that has to be approved by the movie company. I have learned that is a very complicated process. Each of the movie companies decides what will be on the cover. For example, the cover of our book and that for the Vintage edition are different.

Alan Turing plaque on Castro Street in San Francisco

Alan Turing plaque on Castro Street in San Francisco

PUP: What was your favorite part about that interaction?

VK: The PUP publicist of the book, Jessica Pellien, and I have worked so far with about a dozen different people at Vintage and the Weinstein Company. You might think this is a bit chaotic, but it isn’t. It does take a bit of choreography, but it is working well. I think that my favorite part about this whole process is seeing the work of dozens of people come together and then holding the first copy of the book in my hand.

PUP: What do you, as the editor of Andrew Hodges’ book, hope that viewers take away from the film?

VK: I hope that they will realize what a huge contribution Alan Turing made to ending WWII and to the development of computer science. I hope that when someone says, “Can you name a computer scientist?” that they will say Alan Turing as quickly as they might say Albert Einstein when asked to name a physicist. I hope that people will understand that human relationships and love between people does not have to be heterosexual. I hope that people who see the film will also read the book.

PUP: When it comes to movies based on books, do you like to read the book before or after you see the movie?

VK: I always prefer to read the book first. I hope that people who see the film will also read the book. They are two different experiences and both are incredibly enjoyable.

Watch the trailer for the The Imitation Game below. Get that edge over fellow movie-goers and check out Chapter One of Alan Turing: The Enigma here.


For more examples of university presses in pop culture, take a look at the posts below:

University of Wisconsin Press

University Press of Mississippi

Georgetown University Press

University Press of Kentucky

Penn Press


#UPWeek Presses in Pictures

The second day of University Press Week is looking good. Five university presses bring us a visual celebration of scholarly publishing.

Upress week

Hop over to these blogs to see university presses in pictures:

Indiana University Press

Stanford University Press

Fordham University Press

University Press of Florida

Also, Johns Hopkins University Press brings us a Q&A with JHUP Art Director Martha Sewell and a short film of author and marine illustrator Val Kells in her studio.




Kicking off University Press Week! #UPWeek

Upress week

It’s finally here! This week, we bring you exciting content from 31 different university presses. We kick off the week with our first topic: collaboration. Yesterday, our group of university presses discussed titles or projects that illustrate the value of collaboration in scholarly communications and in their work. Check it out…

University Press of Colorado

This one is the cat’s meow. The University Press of Colorado discusses a collaboration with the Veterinary Information Network on a recent textbook, Basic Veterinary Immunology.

University of Georgia Press

Our next post involves an award-winning project. The University of Georgia Press talks about the New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE) partnership, which includes the Georgia Humanities Council, UGA libraries, GALILEO, and the Press. The NGE is the state’s award-winning, online only, multi-media reference work on the people, places, events, and institutions of Georgia. Peachy-keen!

Duke University Press

Looking to hear from a university press author? Duke University Press has you covered. Author Eben Kirksey writes about his recent collaboration, the Multispecies Salon. You do not want to miss the images — preview them here.

University of California Press

The University of California Press shows how university press work connects to front page news. Authors Dr. Paul Farmer and Dr. Jim Yong Kim discuss the collaborative work they are doing to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

University of Virginia Press

Check out this account of a collaboration between the Press and the Presidential Recordings Project at the Miller Center to create ‘Chasing Shadows,’ a book on the origins of Watergate. The project includes a special ebook and web site allowing readers to listen to the actual Oval Office conversations. We can’t wait to have a listen for ourselves.

McGill-Queen’s University Press

McGill-Queen’s University Press provides details on Landscape Architecture in Canada, a major national project with support from scholars across the country and published simultaneously in French and English by two university presses. Landscape Architecture in Canada provides a detailed panorama of the man-made landscapes that vary as widely as the country’s geography.

Texas A&M University Press

This year, our friends in Texas launched a new consumer advocacy series with the Texas A&M School of Public Health, whose mission is to improve the health of communities through education, research, service, outreach, and creative partnerships. Check out the post for more information.

Yale University Press

Mark Polizzotti, director of the publications program at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will contribute a guest post to Yale University Press’s ‘Museum Quality Books’ series. The series consists of guest posts from the knowledgeable, erudite, witty, insightful, and altogether delightful directors of publishing at the museums and galleries with whom Yale UP collaborates on books.

University of Chicago Press

University of Chicago Press takes a look back at year one of an exciting project, the Turabian Teacher Collaborative. This unique collaboration between high school classroom teachers, university professors, and a university press began in 2013 as a pilot project to test the effectiveness of Kate L. Turabian’s Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers at helping high schools meet the ELA Common Core State Standards.

Project MUSE/Johns Hopkins University Press

Last but certainly not least, we turn to Project MUSE, which is a key example of collaboration in the university press world. Project MUSE resulted from collaboration between a university press and university library.