Publishing for a digital age: A word from Peter Dougherty #UPWeek


Scholarly Kitchen ran a terrific article yesterday on the important contributions of university presses, and how many are redefining their role in the digital age. At Princeton University Press, the past year has brought the successful launch of a major intellectual, digital, and global undertaking. A word from our director, Peter Dougherty:

EinsteinProbably the most stunning development at Princeton University Press is the successful launch of our Digital Edition of The Collected Papers of Albert EinsteinThe Digital Einstein Papers has given scientists and historians alike all over the world free access to the first thirteen volumes of the Einstein Papers, one of the most important intellectual archives in all of scholarly publishing.  According to Kenneth Reed, PUP’s Digital Production Manager, usage statistics suggest that the Digital Einstein Papers has been a truly successful global project:

“Since its launch, there have have been 2.7 million page views from across the world. Outside the United States, Germany and India represent the second and third most visitors to the site. Visitors view an average of over nine pages per visit, and returning visitors are 75%. Mobile users account for over 30% of the site usage, which is not surprising given the global appeal of the site.”

The Digital Einstein Papers also represents a global success by way of being a great international and cross-institutional collaboration, drawing on the talents and effort of colleagues not only at PUP, but at our partner institutions, The Einstein Papers Project at Caltech, the Albert Einstein Archive at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the online platform firm, Tizra.  PUP will add new volumes as they appear roughly every eighteen months.

—Peter Dougherty

Read what these other university presses have to say on the future of scholarly publishing, from the value of acquisitions work and the meaning of gatekeeping in the digital era, to how university presses are picking up the slack left by trade publishers:

Indiana University Press

Oxford University Press

George Mason University Press

University Press of Colorado

University Press of Kansas

UNC Press

West Virginia University Press

Johns Hopkins University Press

University of Georgia Press

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.

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.


Game of Tongues — PUP Director Peter Dougherty Reflects on the Importance of Translations (#UPWeek)

University Press Week Logo

This post is presented as part of the University Press Week Blog Tour. November 11-15 is set aside as a week to celebrate the myriad ways university presses contribute to scholarly communication and society at large. Please support our colleagues by exploring more posts in the tour via the links below. For a complete schedule, click here.



If you want to get a great sense of the global reach of the university press and, not incidentally, of the potential of forthcoming publications, you could do worse than observing a few days’ worth of foreign rights meetings at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Perched in a folding chair at a card table in the Princeton University Press booth last month, I watched my colleague Kim Williams, PUP’s foreign rights manager (who operates from our office in Oxfordshire), hold 80 meetings with nearly 200 publishers from 22 countries, representing 17 languages around the world. Meetings such as Kim’s–going on eight frenetic, exhausting hours a day over the five-day forced march of Frankfurt–comprise the annual ritual wherein the world decides which books and which ideas get dispersed across nations. The word “dissemination” is sometimes used to characterize the mission of university presses. Frankfurt is an example of dissemination of the highest, most sophisticated, most intricately orchestrated kind.

Pitching our books to Chinese publishers at #fbf13 - cheers to Cheers Publishing!

Pitching our books to Chinese publishers at #fbf13 – cheers to Cheers Publishing! (credit: @PUP_Rights)

Not only geography, but history matters in the annual translation transaction Olympiad. Kim Williams knows her counterparts at the foreign publishers and has worked with many of them for years. She knows their tastes, interests, and strengths. The experience she brings to the task and the development of these relationships, invest her exchanges with insight and efficiency, providing a kind of multicultural shorthand for conducting the world’s book business.

And the game of tongues matters. Over the past ten years the number of Princeton’s translation licenses has nearly tripled. Rights deals in Chinese over this period have increased almost tenfold, translations into Japanese have almost tripled, and Korean rights deals have also increased dramatically. And this growth is not limited to Asian markets. We’ve seen equally strong growth in the number of Turkish, Czech, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish translations, among others. Taken all together this increased activity reflects changes in international economic development and national cultural priorities. This upward trend in translation activity will only increase as economic development rises. It would be interesting to know how many of our translated titles win awards and other accolades in their adopted languages.

And much as the annual idea-swap in Frankfurt provides us with a window on the world, it also tells us a lot about ourselves. From a distance, it tells us which subjects “travel” well, yielding valuable insights into list-planning and therefore into editorial acquisitions. From a closer standpoint, it provides a powerfully compelling preview of how a publisher’s upcoming list is likely to perform. If three dozen foreign publishers are panting over a particular title, chances are you’ve got a winner in English as well as around the world in other language markets.

Finally, a week at a rights table in Frankfurt gives a publisher a glimpse into its soul. Just how good are we? Are certain lists as strong as we think they are? Are we current or are we yesterday’s news? Do our lists have the three Ds–depth, dimension, and durability–or are we publishing mere ephemera? The five-day stress test in front of the world’s hard-bitten foreign publishers answers those questions, sometimes painfully, other times reassuringly.

As the global university press evolves, table talk in Frankfurt will continue to serve as a vital indicator of our impact around the world and our insight into ourselves.

Peter J. Dougherty
Princeton University Press


Click through to check out the covers of various On Bullshit translations.

For more information about Princeton University Press’s foreign rights program, please visit