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January 2012

king parrot

When I was small, I really wanted to have a dog. And not just any dog, I wanted a German shepherd. It may have had something to do with a series that was run on Polish TV every summer about four tank-men and a dog who fought together as members of the 1st Polish Army during World War Two. The film (made in 1966-70), and the book it was based on, contained elements of pro-Soviet propaganda, as was the norm at the time. But as I was a kid the political overtones went straight over my head and I only saw the wonderful friendship between the central character and his dog, Szarik.

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Despite what Louise Adler says in The Australian, the future of monograph publishing in Australia is looking well and the opportunities for Australian academics to publish their research have actually been growing.

Adler is calling for the government and the university sector to support the ‘traditional livelihood’ of four university presses: Melbourne University Publishing, UNSW Press, University of Western Australia Publishing and University of Queensland Press. The management of these four presses, by and large, abandoned the ‘traditional livelihood’ of academic monograph publishing years ago in an attempt to make the presses commercially viable and save them from closures. The transition into trade publishing was a visionary thing to do and the four presses have become established cultural institutions that contribute greatly to the intellectual life of Australia. But … these contributions rarely belong to the world of scholarly publishing as defined by the requirements of HERDC (Higher Education Research Data Collection) and ERA (Excellence of Research for Australia).

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