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In September 2012 a review of the Sydney University Press was undertaken to assess the value and viability of the press. As a result of the review, followed by discussions with senior academics at the University of Sydney, SUP has been undergoing an evolution in order to better support and facilitate the communication of the intellectual and research outputs of the University of Sydney and the Australian research community. The new vision for SUP is to become a leading scholarly publisher in Australia of books that advance knowledge and influence policy while supporting Sydney University’s brand as a research-intensive institution nationally and globally. At the same time, SUP aims to provide an avenue for Australian researchers to communicate their research to other scholars, policy-makers and the general public.

In order to fulfil those objectives, an Advisory Board was established in 2013 consisting of academics and publishing experts who have agreed to provide advice and guidance in the overall strategic direction of SUP. Meeting twice a year, the members of the Advisory Board provide an ongoing review of SUP’s publishing strategy as well as its financial, resource and business operations. The Advisory Board is chaired by the Provost, Professor Stephen Garton and includes: Kim Anderson, Anne Bell, John Byron, Professor Will Christie, Ross Coleman, Richard Fisher, Professor Duncan Ivison, Professor Bruce Robinson, Professor Marian Theobald and Professor Jill Trewhella.

The work of the Advisory Board is supported by an Editorial Advisory Board, which was established in 2014. Meeting six times a year, the Editorial Advisory Board oversees the publishing program and provides guidance for editorial policy, publication approval and peer review process. The Editorial Advisory Board is chaired by Professor Will Christie and includes: Professor Marian Baird, Professor Linda Barwick, Professor Kerry Brown, Professor Barbara Caine, Professor Simon Chapman AO, Professor Paul Eggert, Professor Gerard Goggin, Meredith Hall, Agata Mrva-Montoya and Susan Murray-Smith.

With the governance firmly in place and following the recommendations of the Editorial Advisory Board, SUP is in the process of refocusing its publishing program. The plan is to develop monograph series in key areas of the humanities and social sciences research. So far three series have been established, in Australian literature, Australian archaeology and animal studies.

Alex Miller: the ruin of time

‘Sydney Studies in Australian Literature’ (SSAL), edited by Professor Robert Dixon, Chair of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney, builds on of the strength of SUP in the area of literary studies and complements the SUP’s extensive collection of reprints of classic works of Australian literature. Moreover, the series complements the quality and profile of the research and teaching in Australian literature at University of Sydney. The Sydney Chair of Australian Literature, established in 1962, is the oldest in its field in the world, and the University of Sydney remains the only university to offer a dedicated undergraduate major and honours year in the subject, leading to the PhD. The SSAL series will comprise monographs devoted to the works of major authors and themed collections of essays about current issues in the field of Australian literary studies. The first monograph in the SSAL series, Alex Miller: the ruin of time by Robert Dixon is coming out in August 2014 and it will be launched at the Melbourne Writers Festival. It will be followed by a book on the writing of Shirley Hazzard, edited by Brigitta Olubas, to be released in October 2014.

‘Tom Austen Brown Studies in Australian Archaeology’ edited by Professor Peter Hiscock, Tom Austen Brown Chair of Australian Archaeology at the University of Sydney, complements the Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology that SUP has been publishing in collaboration with the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology over the last few years. The Tom Austen Brown Studies series aims to focus on publishing site reports, regional syntheses and manuals describing methods of archaeological analysis, that deal with research into Australian archaeology – particularly the archaeology of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during both prehistoric and contact periods. The first publication in the series will be a field guide for preliminary bone identification from archaeological sites in Australia.

Animal death

The ‘Animal Publics’ monograph series edited by Dr Melissa Boyde, University of Wollongong, and Dr Fiona Probyn-Rapsey, University of Sydney has grown out of books that SUP has published in the last two years such as Animal death, Cane toads and Engaging with animals in the dynamic and rapidly growing field of animal studies. The series aims to look at the changing modalities of the encounter between animal and human from multiple disciplinary perspectives, exploring intersections between humanities and the sciences, the creative arts and the social sciences. The series will focus in particular on ideas and practices about how animal life becomes public: attended to, listened to, made visible, foregrounded, included and transformed.

Apart from establishing the new series, and there are plans for more, SUP has started its progress towards a future that combines the prestige and influence accorded to traditional university presses with innovation and cost-effectiveness of library-based publishing. We have plans to experiment with multimedia and multiplatform publishing projects. With its involvement in the Australian Poetry Library, Flora of the Sydney Region and eFlora and the publication of an online version of For the sake of a song, SUP is well placed to be a leader in the area of truly innovative scholarly publishing; publishing that would integrate the ‘monograph’ into the digital environment so that it becomes part of a network and ongoing conversation (as postulated by Kathleen Fitzpatrick in her book Planned obsolescence). Watch this space …

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Discussion about publishing and new books from Sydney University Press and University of Sydney authors

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