University of Missouri Press FAQs
July 20, 2012
MU News Bureau, firstname.lastname@example.org, 573-882-6211
What will the new “press” do specifically? Publish books? How will it differ from the old press?
The Press will be part of a “new enterprise”–an academic entity that researches and educates students in the broad field of “scholarly communication.” It will be like The Columbia Missourian, KOMU and the University Hospital in that it will also actively produce outputs. It will continue to publish books for the foreseeable future, but will integrate other forms of communication. It will embrace evolving technologies including e-books and print-on-demand. The new entity will be much more closely aligned with several academic departments; one of its missions will be to help design new forms of scholarly communication that may one day replace books.
Please define “scholarly communication” and how will the new press help in this area?
One of the principal missions of the University is the creation of new knowledge. The value of new knowledge depends on scholarly communication. “Scholarly Communication” is the process by which a scholar describes his or her research, seeks critical review of their work and disseminates results both within and outside of Academia. Finally, the process must preserve the work in a way that future scholars can find and use the information to further their own creation of new knowledge. Scholarly communication takes many forms, including writing of books, placing articles in periodic publications, participating in conferences, lecturing and correspondence among peers. Some disciplines may rely heavily on books while others rely on Journal articles and still others may use conferences with written or recorded proceedings. MU, and all research universities, participate in and provide financial support to all of these methods of communication. The new press will help define the most effective scholarly communication methods and will provide a vehicle that offers the most current and most effective communication options for authors who wish to publish with the press.
What will you call the new press?
Because there are approximately 1200 books already published by “The University of Missouri Press” and 14 titles scheduled for fall release, we will continue to use that brand. As discussed in the news release, the name will now be embedded in the broader initiative on scholarly communication.
Will the employees of the old press be kept as employees of the new press?
The new press will be a very different organization than the existing UM Press. Consequently the employees involved in the new press will need different skills than those required at the current press. However, when those details are finalized and the positions are posted, of course the current employees are eligible to apply. We will select the best possible candidates for the new positions.
The greater integration with the academic mission will require the “new press” leadership to have faculty functions. Like the Missourian and KOMU, some of the work will be accomplished by students as part of their educational experience. We anticipate the new press will have about half the number of regular employees as the old press. There will be others (graduate students, other faculty, other administrators) that will help with the press based on need and the mission to be a leader in the field of scholarly communication. We believe this resource model will allow us to apply the right skills, the right amount of people to the right opportunity more dynamically then the previous model.
Who will be responsible for the “new press?”
It will be administratively housed within the College of Arts and Science. The direction and policies will be determined by an internal advisory board which will include, but not be limited to, faculty from the Reynolds Journalism institute, The English Department, the program in Library Science and the University Library. The day to day operations will be combined with “The Missouri Review,” MU’s highly regarded literary magazine. The new press will also seek advice from a faculty advisory committee that will include faculty from all four UM campuses.
Will you hire new employees?
Leadership will be provided by both current staff of the magazine and by approximately 3 new senior hires. We anticipate approximately five graduate students will be employed, largely by increasing quarter time employees to half time.
You said the old press lost money? How do you plan to prevent this press from losing money?
The purpose is to provide appropriate scholarly communication, not to make money. We anticipate investment of about half as much as was invested in the old model. The stronger integration of the new model of the press into the academic mission related to student education and the land grant mission related to creation of new knowledge provides additional rationale for this investment.
How will the press make money?
Like most academic enterprises, the press will recover part of its cost by selling its products both in existing markets and by pioneering new markets.
Where will it be located?
It will be co-located with The Missouri Review, initially in McReynolds Hall.
Why didn’t you announce this new press at the same time you announced that the old press would be shut down (wouldn’t that have prevented a lot of angst?)?
The concept of the new press model has evolved over time, and we did not have these details at the time of the original announcement.
How long have you been talking about this idea?
The need to broaden our perspective on scholarly communication evolved from the work that resulted in “The Mizzou Advantage” as part of our strategic planning process some three years ago. In addition, a group of MU faculty and administrators were involved in additional discussions during the most recent academic year. Discussions intensified with the announcement of the old press ceasing operations.
How has this decision been vetted by faculty?
Various options for a new model for the press were discussed with a group of faculty representatives and we listened seriously to their input. Furthermore, the MU campus leadership met with representatives of the campus faculty council, academic deans, representatives from the Mizzou Advantage, and others to see their input about the role of a university press and its value to the campus before putting together the current plan.