The Professor in Children’s Literature gathers and reprints a selection of twenty-six illustrated stories for children originally published in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, offering a brief introduction to each of them. The volume complements the author’s book-length study Picture-Book Professors: Academia and Children’s Literature; both works are open access, available as free downloads. Get your copy of The Professor in Children’s Literature in EPUB or PDF format!
The book launch will take place in the Portrait Room at Grove House, starting at 5.30pm.
This free event will take place in the Portrait Room, Grove House, University of Roehampton, starting at 7pm. It will involve a drinks reception, author readings from both anthologies, and, of course, an opportunity to buy the books. We are looking forward to seeing you there!
To help with planning, please do visit this Eventbrite page to indicate your attendance.
Also, for your downloading pleasure, there is an A4-size event poster [PDF] available.
Working in a library school, the UCL Department of Information Studies, for 15 years, I was aware of the growing and swirling discussions about Open Access, and have been part of the wider OA community for a while: one of the journals on whose editorial board I serve, Digital Humanities Quarterly, has always been fully open access with no publishing fees, and is now 11 years old. I’m reluctant now to publish any of my research in journals which are paywalled.
False barriers to access, and gatekeeping, are hugely problematic for the dissemination of research, as are the financial models which profit massively from academic research without giving much back into the system. When it comes to books, though, the costs of production obviously make OA discussions much more difficult, and it’s very much a live discussion in the UK academic community: now that open access book publishing is going to be mandated, who will pay the book processing charges?
My first book, Image to Interpretation, came out in 2006, and mainly sold in physical copies. Like most monographs, it had a short print run – 300 books or so – and they have mostly sold out. I get a royalty cheque for £2.73 or so every six months for the electronic version of the book, which still sells occasionally. I’m incredibly proud of it, but I was aware that it could only ever reach a small audience.
Picture-Book Professors was a research project that grew out of online discussions, as it stemmed from a few jokey asides on Twitter, and then moved to corpus building on Tumblr. It was carried out always in the public eye: an early blog post on the topic of how academics are featured in children’s literature had a large readership, and it was only afterwards that I was persuaded I should write it up properly. It seemed to me that it had to be open access: why would I condemn all that work and what had been a public discussion to only 300 sales of a text?
I exercised my privilege, though, and fought hard for support: given the grant income I had brought into UCL during my time there, I successfully argued that my employer should pay the £6,762 to cover the open access book processing charge with Cambridge University Press. It is still rare for universities to give this type of support to academics, particularly in the Arts and Humanities, and I’m aware of the level of support I’ve had here. There’s new ground to be worked out, too: how to deliver this material best is a live discussion with CUP as I write this!
The accompanying book, The Professor in Children’s Literature: An Anthology, is also available in open access. I see this very much as an exercise in showing your workings out — the equivalent of “open science” when you are dealing with a topic in literature. It’s also about how digitised material can be curated and repackaged to bring together a resource for others. This is the first fully open access book from Fincham Press, and they are exploring what this means for them, too. I don’t mind saying that there will only be a short physical print run, which I’ve paid for, but for this book the freely available digital versions are really the main product, with other copies being made available in print on demand, as readers might want them. In lots of ways, I’m taking the open access book discussion for a walk; seeing how far I can get, and how much I can play in this space, while being cognisant of having access to resources which allow me to do so.
Experience as an Author
One of the surprising things has been that people — publishers, libraries, authors, illustrators — have been baffled by my request to feature their work in an open access volume. The monograph has many images — 32 — and 25 or so had to be licensed, with fees to be paid, as they were in copyright. Rare items also had to be digitised on demand from libraries and archives. That mechanism and fee structure is well known (if variable), but adding “and can I make it available for free online?” to the equation caused many publishers, and even leading libraries, to stutter. There are a few items I could not include as I could not get electronic distribution rights to the images, even though I was happy to pay for them.
In the end, the rights fees added up to over £1500. These are books that needed resources behind them! It also took months to obtain these rights clearances, as the open access question added much time to the process.
In general, knowing from the start that you want this to be an open access text informs your style of writing — I hope the texts are academic ones which are written in an accessible manner, even with humour in places. I think it has changed the tone and tenor of how I wrote the books, knowing they would be out there, at some stage.
Open Access Books in the Humanities
We are at a juncture where the sands are shifting: the major funders and government bodies are moving towards requirements for open access monographs. We don’t have a choice; we have to embrace these requirements, but there is a lot of work yet to be done about who will pay the costs for production. I believe that most universities could afford to absorb the costs of open access monograph production, much in the same way that they pay for lab costs or scientific equipment: it should be viewed as a centrally borne cost necessary for creating and sharing academic knowledge. It shouldn’t happen that individuals are asked to pay these costs themselves, as that is untenable. I can see people are concerned about how their personal costs will be met — and it is up to universities and presses to grapple with this. The danger is the open access premium: that only those who can afford to publish in open access will reap the benefits of having their work made accessible to a wide audience, and we have to keep our eyes open to that, as the academy needs diverse voices (as Picture-Book Professors and The Professor in Children’s Literature say!)
I can’t understand why anyone would be nervous about offering their academic work to a wide audience. Books take years to write, and academic books never make much royalty money. Why would you want to hide it away and restrict access, if you can allow as wide an audience as possible to get free access to it?
If you are not already aware of the scholarship around James Bond 007, this report for Open Access Week may tempt you into taking a look.
Since the launch in May 2017, The International Journal of James Bond Studies has found a global readership, with hundreds of article downloads, and submissions from across the world. Given the popularity (or, at least, the ubiquity) of James Bond as a cultural figure, this is perhaps unsurprising.
More than that, however, the journal’s Open Access policy means that this contemporary scholarship about the Bond franchise can be freely accessed.
Scholars are all too familiar with the hunt to acquire material that turns out to be reference-only or very hard to find. In addition to producing excellent scholarship and cutting-edge criticism, TheInternational Journal of James Bond Studies hopes to achieve immediate access for those scholars, as well as the wider world of Bond enthusiasts and casual readers.
Edited by John Doyle and Juan Pérez González, the collection features journalism by current and former students of the University of Roehampton. Here, they share their unique experiences from all over the world: from the beaches of Bali to the cities of Europe, they reveal the secrets of places such as Russia and Havana, and shed new light on more familiar territory.
They are citizens of the world, traversing land and sea, and trying to find a place they can call their own. A place called Nowhere.
This anniversary collection marks a five-year milestone with two innovations – the use of colour illustrations and the inclusion of work by alumni as well as current students from the University of Roehampton’s Creative Writing programme. The anthology, edited by Leone Ross (Come Let Us Sing Anyway), features short stories, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, screenplays, and poetry. Our authors explore dark themes, tender moments and satire with joy and even triumph, as they fight off the dragons that lurk in our world.
It has been a busy summer for Fincham Press. Following our creative writing anthology cover reveal, we are delighted to share our second summer surprise. Here we reveal details of The Rook: Citizens of Nowhere.
The anthology is a collection of gripping journalism from current and former students of the University of Roehampton. The pieces gathered here tell true tales from every corner of the globe, from Havana to Russia. Within its pages, readers will discover the unique experiences of young citizens and what it means to be a citizen of Nowhere. Check out the contents below.
The collection is edited by John Doyle and Juan Pérez González and will be available to purchase soon. Follow Fincham Press on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out more.
Citizens of Nowhere
Juan Pérez González · The European
Aleksandra Antonova · A July Morning in Bulgaria
Isabelle Kern · My Russian Friends
Isobel Rafferty · Lost on a Stranded Land
Vilde Haugen · Dreamland Beach
Ellis King · Mallorca, Martina and Me
Josh Downes · Bulls and Blood
Stephanie Badaru, Federica Infantino and Isobel Rafferty
Following an especially busy period for Fincham Press, we are excited to share the first of two surprises this summer. Here we reveal details of our fifth anthology of creative writing: In Which Dragons Are Real But.
This fifth anniversary publication marks the occasion with two firsts in Fincham’s history. This collection is the first to include work by University of Roehampton alumni alongside that by current Creative Writing students. It is also the first time we have published original illustrations in full colour. Different forms are showcased in 47 pieces; often dark in theme, but also funny and thought-provoking.
Check out a sneak peek of the cover (above) and the table of contents (below)! The collection is edited by award-winning author Leone Ross. An official launch will take place at the University of Roehampton in late 2018 – follow Fincham Press on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for further details.
Ahead of the cover reveal of our 2018 anthology, check out the launch party we threw back in December for our last title,The Unseen! You can buy The Unseen and our entire catalogue on our website or at The Hive.
The Spring 2018 issue of The International Journal of James Bond Studies is now available online. This issue of the open-access research journal features articles and reviews on all things 007, including an exploration of the geopolitical function of Bond’s train journeys, the relationship between Bond and pirate culture, and the franchise’s use of extreme sports.
Journal editor Dr Ian Kinane says: ‘We’re delighted to publish our second issue of the journal with Fincham Press and to further develop research in the field of James Bond Studies. Within the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton, The International Journal of James Bond Studies continues to enhance our provision of research and teaching in popular literature and culture.’
The journal welcomes submissions on any aspect of the James Bond franchise. Submissions for the second volume are now open!
Don’t forget to interact with the journal on its official Facebook page and Twitter