Innovative publishing (ad)ventures: My experience of managing Cardiff University Press

In my capacity as Scholarly Publications Manager I have had the privilege to manage Cardiff University Press, our Diamond Open Access online publishing house, for the past 2.5 years.

During this time, we’ve grown from 5 to 12 titles, have moved from our initial open source hosting platform to a professional platform provider and have prepared the ground for launching monograph publishing. We have hosted events, registered our Open Access archiving policies on Sherpa Romeo and started depositing our content on Portico for preservation.

Managing a Press has been a new experience for me, and a steep learning curve, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge! The Cardiff University Press Editorial Board includes enthusiastic academic staff and students from a range of Schools and Colleges. This has allowed me to draw on their expertise and diverse perspectives on many areas of publishing, shaping our strategy, vision and mission for the Press. 

It’s been an absolute pleasure seeing the Press grow and develop and being part of this journey. I have learned a lot during my time with the Press, but if I had to summarise what has helped me most it would be these points below:

  1. Get the basics right at the start (workflows, policies, contracts), i.e. walk before you run
  2. Be open to change and adapt what you are doing, and how you are doing it
  3. Take your editors with you – keep them informed and supported along the way
  4. Be realistic and pragmatic – unless you have unlimited resources you will need to make important decisions on where your limits are
  5. Keep your enthusiasm – it’s vital!

I look forward to following Cardiff University Press and its next exciting steps from afar!

 

Sonja Haerkoenen

No.-23

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Feature: Martial Arts Studies no. 5

We are pleased to announce that Martial Arts Studies no. 5 is now available at https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/6/volume/0/issue/5/. Martial Arts Studies is the premier scholarly source for interdisciplinary work on a variety of topics surrounding the practice, sociology, history and media representation of the modern combat sports and traditional martial arts. Published twice yearly, it presents the best research written and reviewed by leaders in the field.  

This issue begins with an editorial discussion, followed by five articles and three book reviews. The editorial asks how we as scholars can demonstrate to colleagues that the martial arts, and by extension martial arts studies, really matter. 
In Affective Mythologies and “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, Darren Kelsey asks what role mysticism, and the notion of the ‘monomyth’, might have played in the career of one of MMA’s most successful and famous fighters. He finds that it is probably impossible to understand this without tackling the role of mysticism, myth and ideology in popular culture. 

The second paper takes us to the kung fu schools of Singapore’s red-light district. Drawing on his extensive fieldwork in ‘Hong Shen Choy Li Fut’ kung fu, anthropologist D. S. Farrer asks searching questions about the purpose and outcome of taolu (also known as ‘sets’, ‘forms’, or ‘kata’) training in traditional Chinese martial arts. 

In the third paper, Thomas, Lugo, Channon and Spence investigate The Influence of Competitive Co-action on Kata Performance in Japanese Karate. Their paper adds to the literature on ‘social facilitation’ within competitive sports by demonstrating that co-action has a notable impact on measurable outcomes within the martial arts. 
Martin Minarik then discusses the relationship between theatrical performance, social values and the martial arts in Ideological Efficacy Before Martial Efficacy. While his basic findings are likely broadly applicable, in this paper Minarik focuses on Japanese gendai budo.

The final research article in the issue is Tales of a Tireur: Being a Savate Teacher in Contemporary Britain.  Produced by the practitioner/scholar team of Southwood and Delamont, this paper offers an ethnographic examination of the classes and career of one of the UK’s top Savate instructors.  The paper is also important as Savate (popular in France, Belgium and Eastern Europe) has been neglected in the English language martial arts studies literature. 

In the first of three book reviews, Emelyne Godfrey provides an assessment of Wendy Rouse’s recent volume Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement (New York UP, 2017). Russell Alexander Stepp brings his own medievalist background to bear in an examination of Daniel Jacquet, Karin Verelst and Timothy Dawson’s (eds.) Late Medieval and Early Modern Fightbooks (Brill, 2016). Finally Craig Owen reviews Embodying Brazil: An Ethnography of Diaspora Capoeira by Sara Delamont, Neil Stephens and Claudio Campos (Routledge, 2017). He also asks important questions about the role of video and other media sources in academic publishing.

As always, this issue is freely available at https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/6/volume/0/issue/5/. Visit our webpages to learn more about the journal or to find our call for papers. https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/ and http://masjournal.org.uk/

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Feature: Journal of Late Antique Religion and Culture volume 11 – Javier Martínez & Patricia González

The latest article from the Journal of Late Antique Religion and Culture (JLARC), entitled “Knowledge and specialised trades in the late antique West: medicine vs engineering”, was published on 8th January. Its authors Javier Martínez and Patricia González compare and contrast the trades of medicine and engineering in the Roman world, and provide a theory as to why the Romans’ medical skills were mostly passed on to later generations while their engineering skills were soon lost.

Read the whole article at: https://jlarc.cardiffuniversitypress.org/articles/abstract/10.18573/j.2017.10451/

The high degree of technical and scientific development accomplished in the Roman world is quite staggering. The construction of concrete vaults still standing today, and unsurpassed until the Modern period, is proof of their engineering skills. Similarly, Roman medics were capable of practising eye surgery and embryotomies on patients who survived such interventions. However, with the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West during the long fifth century and the emergence of Christianity, popular imagination sees these two sciences collapsing into the Dark Ages. While this is not absolutely true, it is not completely false either. In the Iberian and Gaulish examples we analyse in this paper, we want to put forward how engineering all but disappeared, while Roman medicine continued and was preserved through the Middle Ages and into modern times.
Complex techniques and specialised instruments, including vaulting and levelling, seem to have been lost in sixth- and seventh-century constructions. All new buildings are much simpler in design and techniques, even if built to large scale, because the problem was not the lack of skilled builders but the lack of trained engineers and architects who could do the necessary calculations. The specific example of aqueducts and their abandonment, and the way new churches were built, serve to illustrate this point. In medicine, however, there is a clear continuity of old Roman practices during late antiquity, partly promoted and protected by the Church. Only a few specific elements and tools seem to have been lost, while most generic and specialised sets of knowledge continued.
We propose that some of the reasons behind these diverting paths in the two sciences reside in the way these sets of specialised knowledge had been transmitted in the Roman world, underlining the weakness of Roman overspecialisation. Engineering was taught either through the army or through private apprenticeship systems, was limited almost entirely to men, and flourished during the periods of economic bonanza when large projects were carried out. The Roman elites would have a certain knowledge of construction and architecture basics as part of their cursus honorum, but this was never proper training – the engineer was not a socially privileged position. In this way, once the Empire collapsed, the army disbanded, and large building projects came to an end until the late sixth century. By then all chains of training in the West seem to have been terminally disrupted (as opposed to what happened in the Roman East). Medicine, on the other hand, was a very developed science, but it was not concentrated in a few hands. Army medics and surgeons existed, but they were not the only ones: municipal medics, trained slaves, herbalists, midwives, priests, even perfume makers, all shared fractions of the vast corpus of Roman medical science. It was accessible to men and women, and it was kept in high social esteem as well, so the transmission of medical knowledge was not as limited as engineering and not tied to the fate of the Empire.

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Feature: Welsh Economic Review volume 25

This most recent volume contains six interesting and diverse papers. 

The first paper, by Holtham and Huggins, explores the factors which are associated with regional economic development and prosperity, using data on over 450 regional economies from around the world. One result in particular is highlighted – that education expenditures are strongly associated with regional success.  For regions with relatively low gross value-added and productivity, the most important factor was found to be expenditure on primary and secondary education, while for higher prosperity regions, spending on higher education was found to be more important.

The paper by Henley and Lang explores the rise in self-employment in Wales, and considers whether this is related to growth in the so called ‘gig-economy’. The authors recognise that the emergence of internet platform-based businesses, such as Uber and Deliveroo, have resulted in pressure on some to work on an insecure self-employed basis. However they conclude that the gig-economy is only one part of a more complex story, and that self-employed business owners continue to form the majority of the self-employed, both across the UK and in Wales.

The experiences of people who participated in training programmes supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) in Wales are investigated in the paper by Davies et al. The training programmes are considered to have possibly succeeded less well in supporting some of the most vulnerable groups within the labour market, such as relatively young participants, with low levels of educational attainment. However, generally the ESF programmes are considered to have helped address some of the essential skills issues within the Welsh economy. 

The paper by Henderson reports on the initial findings from an ongoing research project to examine the economic impacts associated with business adoption and use of superfast broadband and enabled digital technologies. The findings to date indicate that firms using superfast broadband and digital technologies reported greater labour productivity and innovation rates.

The scale and characteristics of tourism foreign direct investment (FDI) in Wales are examined in the paper by Xu. Tourism was estimated to account for around 3.4% of total direct Welsh GVA in 2013, with 86,500 full-time equivalent jobs estimated to be in tourism industries. UK and overseas-owned tourism businesses were found to supply just over half of all tourism services and products in Wales, with these tourism businesses also having levels of productivity compared with domestically-owned businesses.

The final article in this volume is by Daglish et al.  This paper examines election issues, political party performance and geography. The authors discuss three factors that were important in influencing voting behaviour, and in shaping the result of the 2015 general election: perceived relative importance of election issues, expected performance of parties on each election issue, and the trade-off between election issues. The authors suggest that the Liberal Democrats lost significant vote share because of voters’ perceptions of their performance on the contemporary election issues.

This volume is freely available online at https://wer.cardiffuniversitypress.org/14/volume/25/issue/0/

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Cardiff University Press’ Review of 2017

As we begin 2018, we’ve been looking back at our activities over the last 12 months. It was certainly an eventful year for us! Here are some highlights:

  • In January, we focussed our attention on our mission to support the professionalisation of students. Harriet Gordon and Evelina Kazakevičiūtė, who are both studying for their PhDs at Cardiff University, were welcomed onto the Press Editorial Board as our first ever Student Representatives.  We also conducted an informal survey among our editorial teams to find out more about aspects of student engagement in our publications. At the end of the month, our newest student-led journal was launched – The British Student Doctor.
  • In March, we received final confirmation that funding had been approved to establish monograph printing. We spent the next few months assessing suppliers against our needs.
  • In April, the journal Asian Literature and Translation was relaunched as a Cardiff University Press title. Three days later we accepted two new titles for publication: the Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies and our first series of working papers, the Design Research Working Paper Series.  As a result, all three Cardiff University Colleges were represented in our publications portfolio for the very first time.
  • In May, we held our fascinating and very enjoyable Publications Showcase and first Editors’ Forum, bringing together representatives from all of our editorial teams in one place.
  • In June, we had another journal relaunch, with the first issue of Romantic Textualities to be published by the Press.
  • In July, we signed our Partner Press contract with Ubiquity Press.
  • In October, our portfolio of publications and our website were successfully transferred over to the Ubiquity Press hosting platform. We also launched this blog!
  • In December, we accepted a second working paper series for publication, Attic Inscriptions in UK Collections. We were also pleased to welcome a new member to our Editorial Board: Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Head of the School of Welsh here at Cardiff University.

2018 is undoubtedly going to be just as busy, with lots of new things happening. We’ll keep you informed on this blog site!

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Season’s Greetings from our blog family

If you’re following this blog, you may be interested to know that it has some close relatives! Three of the Cardiff University Press journals have their own blog sites, which are run by members of their editorial teams. There is also the Cardiff University Open Access team blog, which is very relevant to us as an Open Access publisher.

https://www.bsdj.org.uk/blog
“The Editor’s Blog” of The British Student Doctor Journal was created in September 2016.  It discusses ethical matters relating to medicine and publishing, and provides fascinating insights from the editors and section editors on how the journal is run.

https://mastudiesrn.wordpress.com/
This is the blog of the Martial Arts Studies Research Network, where the idea of our Martial Arts Studies journal was first conceived. It highlights new academic publications on martial arts, and provides detailed information on the Network’s popular annual conference and other activities.

http://www.romtext.org.uk/blog/
The Romantic Textualities blog is the longest-standing member of our family, having been set up in March 2013. A wide variety of Romantic literature topics (and bloggers) are represented, often with in-depth discussions taking place over a series of posts.

https://cardiffunioa.wordpress.com/
The Cardiff University Open Access blog was launched in International Open Access week 2017. Maintained by the University Library Service’s Open Access Team, the blog provides useful advice and news about Open Access, both at Cardiff University and externally.

Why not follow one or more of our blog family members, to keep yourself up to date with the latest developments in their areas of interest? Happy reading!

The Cardiff University Press team wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

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Discovering more Open Access resources

At Cardiff University Press we’ve always been proud of our status as a 100% Open Access (OA) publisher, providing free and unrestricted access to our publications for anyone with an internet connection. But we’re just a small part of the OA revolution: there’s a huge range of other academic content openly available, with countless new publications being added every day.  Here are some ideas for other OA collections you may like to explore, put together in a neat guide by our colleagues in the University’s Open Access team.

Do have a browse through what these sites have to offer! Worldwide access to high-quality information, at no cost, available 24/7 – what’s not to love?

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