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Glittering launch of UCL Press

5 June 2015

UCL Press was launched with a fanfare and a blaze of publicity on 4 June 2015. 150 people attended a gala event to inaugurate the Press on a beautiful early Summer’s evening. The re-launch of UCL Press is historic because UCL Press is now the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press. Our guest of honour was Professor Lisa Jardine, whose book Temptation in the Archives: Essays in Golden Age Dutch Culture is the first book to be published by UCL Press as an Open Access output.

Provost and Lisa Jardine

UCL’s Provost and President, Professor Michael Arthur, formally launched the Press in his inaugural address. Professor Arthur tied the birth of the Press to an important development in the UCL 2034 strategy – the Connected Curriculum. The Connected Curriculum will deliver a cutting-edge research-based education to UCL students. The Press, through its publication of new publishing formats such as the short form monograph, will provide an outlet for research-based pieces which will make UCL’s research available to students and to the general public.

Professor David Price, Vice Provost (Research), has led the UCL Press Board which oversees the strategic development of UCL’s publishing activity. He gave praise to the UCL Press team who had worked to make the evening and the re-birth of the Press such a success.

The key speaker of the evening was Professor Lisa Jardine herself. Professor Jardine has recently been made a Fellow of the Royal Society and she gave a passionate and inspiring homily on the reasons why she had published in Open Access, and therefore why she had chosen UCL Press as her publisher. Professor Jardine underlined that Open Access was a ground-breaking development in the world of scholarship, which loosed the chains from the authors and their works which were hidden behind a paywall. In this, Professor Jardine echoed the words of Professor Michael Arthur, who saw UCL and its Press as a European leader of anarchic and much-needed change.

Alongside Professor Jardine’s book, two other authors were published on 4 June. Gill Furlong (UCL Library Services) has produced the definitive volume on UCL’s Treasures, bringing into print decades of experience in UCL Special Collections. Alice Stevenson from the Petrie Museum published The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, celebrating 100 years since the Petrie Museum first opened.

Open Access is absolutely core to the UCL Press mission. In this, as a department of UCL Library Services, its launch magnificently fulfils one of the key objectives of the Library Strategy, which aims to ensure that UCL Press becomes embedded into UCL.

The success of the new UCL publishing model is already becoming apparent. The three books launched on 4 June had been Open Access in UCL Discovery for just one week. Immediately after the launch, these three books had been downloaded 2,126 times from a staggering 60 countries around the world – all in the first week. It is a fantastic indication of future activity.

UCL Press is the first fully Open Access University Press in the UK. It marks UCL as a leader in innovation in the dissemination of scholarly outputs and flies the flag for the power for good that UCL brings to its mission and vision.

Paul Ayris,
CEO UCL Press