2015–16 saw further strong progress in our quest to build a digital Press while maintaining our commitment to high-quality print materials, and disseminating the best learning and research to the world. Cambridge is uniquely well-placed to embrace that vision, and I am grateful to the Vice-Chancellor and other colleagues within the University for their ongoing support of our mission and for the confidence they place in the Syndicate Operating Board’s governance of the Press.
I could call out a number of impressive features of the Press’s year 2018–19, but three in particular have made their mark on me:
- Real success in our efforts to identify academic books with potential to have an impact on a broader readership – with one of them, Mike Berners-Lee’s There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years, making the Top 5 bestsellers list at the Hay Festival: the only book from an academic publisher to appear in the Top 10
- Signing up to a major Education Reform project with Unicef, drawing on the best collaborative spirit across the University to provide emergency support to refugee, war-torn and other deprived communities
- Another really strong financial performance, keeping on track with our strategic target to generate greater value for the University and more cash to invest in our digital future
At the same time I’ve seen the Press take further strides in consolidating relationships across Cambridge, including with Cambridge Assessment through the development of joint strategic initiatives and the formation of a Joint Executive Oversight Board to achieve strong senior management alignment. The Press’s acquisition, with Cambridge Assessment, of the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring provides a solid base from which to develop market-leading propositions in digital formative assessment – a priority in the next phase of joint working. I’ve been impressed by the Press’s response to Open Research developments in the context of Plan S, involving close liaison with the University Library, and by its collaborations with various of the University’s teaching departments to pioneer online education; and I’ve watched with interest the work done by the Publishing Ethics Committee at a time when ethical issues involving authors and intellectual property are posing challenges.
I am very pleased to note the appointment of Dr Jessica Gardner, University Librarian, as a Press Syndic; and of Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, and Dr Annette Thomas, former CEO of Macmillan, to the Press & Assessment Board. In the course of the year Ms Sherry Coutu and Professor Timothy Cox, both long-serving contributors to Press governance, stood down and I am grateful to them for their terms of service; as also to Professor Duncan Maskell, who played a key role in the formation and early running of the Press & Assessment Board before leaving Cambridge to become Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.
I look forward to another successful year for the Press.
Professor Stephen Toope
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Chair of the Press Syndicate