A guest post by Kate O’Brien-Nicholson, Associate Director and Marketing & Sales Director, Fordham University Press
University Press folks frequently receive questions from individuals inside and outside of academia about the details and nuances of University Press publishing. Since there is no one size fits all answer, members of the Association of University Presses’ came up with Ask UP, an interactive website designed to help interested scholars and the broader public learn how university press publishing works. It is a great resource for first-time authors, professors, graduate students, and anyone interested in a career in academic publishing.
The site officially launched in Fall of 2020 with NYU Press hosting for the first quarter. Press staff curated and answered questions that came in during that period and then turned over the reins to Michigan State University in January. Fordham University Press is slated to take over as host this Spring and the publishing program of the Modern Language Association (MLA) is set to host during subsequent quarters of 2021-2022.
The site covers all types of scholarly publishing from books and journals to digital and audio. Offering interactive FAQs about all stages of the publishing process, AskUP provides the information—general and specific—about how to publish and promote scholarship.
Some of the questions and answers featured on the site include:
- What is the timeline from proposal to printed book?
- Why should I consider publishing my article in a university press journal?
- How do I find a publisher for my digital project?
- When can I expect a contract?
- Why do I have to get permission for this item?
- What happens when the final manuscript is turned in?
- Will university presses consider authors without academic jobs?
Collectively, these and many other FAQs on the Ask UP site present the fundamental practices of scholarly publishing as undertaken by university presses around the globe, although specific procedures and policies may vary from press to press.
The site is structured to encourage visitors to ask their own questions. Authors can also post their queries on Twitter using #AskUP. Incoming questions are vetted and answered by publishing professionals at the host AUPresses member press and added to the site quarterly.
The site includes infographics and videos that visually break down the process of publishing a book, from inception to final product. The site also suggests further reading on such topics as academic career advancement, writing and style, publishing and scholarly communication, and copyright and intellectual property.
In closing, Ask UP is an important interactive tool for authors and anyone looking for an in-depth understanding of the academic publishing process. The AUPresses is committed to reaching new and more diverse audiences with an emphasis on transparency.
About the Association of University Presses
AUPresses is an organization of more than 150 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, the Association of University Presses advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds intellectual freedom, integrity, stewardship, and diversity and inclusion as core values. AUPresses members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.