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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Academic Publishing in the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges in the Humanities and Social Sciences

12th June 2013, 10:30 to 12:00, Room 407, Calman Learning Centre, Josie Dixon


The IAS is delighted to welcome back Josie Dixon, former publishing director at Palgrave Macmillan and former senior commissioning editor at Cambridge University Press, to Durham to deliver 'Academic Publishing in the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges in the Humanities and Social Sciences'. The lecture is open to all including academic staff, however it is specifically aimed at PGRs who are perhaps approaching the last stages of their PhD. In terms of disciplines, the focus is best suited to the arts, humanities and those of the social sciences where monograph publishing is of central interest. The lecture will offer 100 places.

Lecture Overview

Debates about the future of scholarly publishing are not a new phenomenon, and the research monograph in the humanities and social sciences has long been a focus of particular concern. Yet the sense of crisis has sharpened in recent years, and changes in the market and in technology have resulted in some fundamental shifts in academic publishers’ business. Digital media offer new opportunities, but have arguably introduced at least as many problems as they have solved. The most fundamental issues for the sustainability of scholarly publishing relate to the larger workings of the academic economy - involving not just publishers but funding bodies, research assessors and tenure committees, libraries, and all the wholesale and retail links in the international distribution chain between publisher and reader. As part of that broader picture, we need to understand the varying pressures of supply and demand, together with recent changes in the economy of print publishing and developments in digital publishing. In this wide-ranging lecture, based on 15 years’ publishing experience in both university-press and commercial-academic sectors, Josie Dixon reviews the state of the market and the strategies scholarly publishers have developed to ensure the survival of their business. She outlines some of the new challenges brought by digital technology, including open access, which is radically changing the academic publishing landscape. While these issues have been played out most dramatically in the sciences, it is clear that they are already encroaching on humanities and social science publishing, and likely to have a major impact in the coming years.


Booking a Place

Booking is essential. Please register your attendance via the following link.


Any questions or queries should be addressed to Linda Crowe.

Contact linda.crowe@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.