Posts by Lara Speicher

Multi-colored umbrellas on blue sky background
May 9, 2018

UCL Press: Open access with a global reach


As we gear up for the Library Publishing Forum and the start of a new membership year in July, we are publishing a series of member profiles. These profiles will showcase the wide variety of publishing work happening at member institutions, and celebrate our community’s contributions to the wider publishing landscape. Many thanks to the members who agreed to answer our questions! See all of the published profiles, and look for a new one each week until the Forum. 

To learn more about their program, check out UCL’s latest Library Publishing Directory entry.

Tell us a bit about your publishing program.

UCL Press (University College London) launched in June 2015 as the first fully open access university press in the UK. It publishes scholarly monographs, textbooks and journals by both UCL and non-UCL authors and all our books and journals are made freely available to download, as well as being sold in print. Since launching, we’ve published 70 books and 8 journals. We have built particular strengths in publishing books on architecture and built environment, anthropology (including a very successful series on social media usage in different parts of the world), archaeology, history, education and sustainability. These subjects reflect some of the great strengths in UCL’s social sciences and humanities departments, with several ranked in the top 10 in the world, for example the UCL Institute of Education, the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Institute of Archaeology. We now publish around 35 books a year and aim to increase to around 40 or 45 next year.

Tell us something you have accomplished with your program that you’re proud of – big or small.

I am particularly proud that we have established a press that is a high-quality scholarly press in its own right and that attracts authors both from UCL and from all around the world. Many of our authors are motivated by our open access policy, but they also seek high-quality publishing services – from rigorous peer review, through copy-editing and strong marketing support – all the things that they would hope for from any other publisher. Many of our authors are now publishing their second and even third book with us, and our books are regularly reviewed in the national press. Strong publishing services, right from the acquisition stage, set up your future relationship with your authors and contribute to a positive reputation, and I think it’s crucial to provide such services alongside open access dissemination.

Five UCL Press staff members in front of a wooden door

Pictured (from left to right): Lara Speicher (Publishing Manager), Chris Penfold (Commissioning Editor), Alison Fox (Marketing and Distribution Manager), Jaimee Biggins (Managing Editor), Ian Caswell (Journals Manager)