Sharpen your knives!

May 27th, 2012 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Sharpen your knives!
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In association with Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s newest literary festival devoted to international crime writing, the University of Stirling will be running crime writing masterclasses on Friday 14 September 2012.

Whether you’re trying your hand at crime fiction for the first time or already working on a novel, our practical classes – taught by the university’s creative writing staff – will help you hone your skills and get insights into the fast-changing marketplace.

The masterclasses will begin with a keynote address from novelist Ann Cleeves on The Craft of Crime Writing. Ann has been writing crime for 20 years, and is author of the Vera Stanhope novels (now adapted by ITV) and a series based on Shetland.

There will then be a choice of two workshops, The Plot Thickens: Shaping a Dramatic Story; Dark Alleys: Creating Atmospheric Settings; and Victims and Villains: Developing Convincing Characters). In these workshops, you’ll get the chance to develop your own writing.

The day will end with an expert panel of agents and publishers, featuring Maxine Hitchcock, Editorial Director at Simon & Schuster, Bob McDevitt, literary agent at Jenny Brown Associates and Professor Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication.

Tickets are selling fast for the masterclasses and other Bloody Scotland events, and are available via the Bloody Scotland website.

Leading the Way in Academic Publishing: Vivian Marr and Oxford University Press

May 8th, 2012 by Katherine_Marshall | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Leading the Way in Academic Publishing: Vivian Marr and Oxford University Press
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Vivian Marr, Head of Language Acquisition at Oxford University Press, joined us for our penultimate visiting speaker session, during which we were treated to a whistle-stop tour of OUP’s rich history and given an in-depth look at Vivian’s own area of expertise:  the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Founded in 1478, OUP began life as a humble printing press and is now the biggest academic publisher in the world.  The Press is a department of Oxford University and is governed by a board of Delegates (academics from the university) who must approve every proposal before it can be commissioned.  Despite OUP’s traditional ethos and governing structure it is, without a doubt, fully engaged in the digital era and this came through in every part of Vivian’s presentation.

As Vivian pointed out, OUP is very active in the digital market and this is best seen in the various ways the OED has been utilised.  In her own words- “…dictionary is content: how can this be exploited?”  The OED has long been established as a print product but in 2000 it was finally digitized and launched online.  Since then OUP has produced more than 11,000 digital products including online reference works and mobile applications.  Being so digitally minded, this strategy has allowed the Press to increase their customer reach and further cement their status as a truly global publisher.

OUP are constantly seeking to add value to their dictionary content and this has led to the creation of the Global Language Solutions (GLS) programme, which Vivian is currently responsible for.  The GLS programme was launched in response to requests from technology companies to provide content other than English.  The programme draws upon OUP’s strong brand identity and works by indentifying and sourcing high quality dictionary content in multiple languages, which is then customised to form a common data structure and licensed to leading brands worldwide.  Vivian’s passion for this innovative programme was very apparent and resonated within the class as she spoke.

Thursday 19th April was certainly a jam-packed presentation but Vivian’s enthusiasm and experience shone through at every point, making for an interesting and inspiring session.  It was encouraging to learn how such a long established publisher is constantly seeking new ways to exploit content, proving that Oxford University Press deserves its title as the world leading academic press.

– Katherine Marshall

From Academic Pariah to Academic Saviour? Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia and Free Access Publishing

May 2nd, 2012 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on From Academic Pariah to Academic Saviour? Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia and Free Access Publishing

Our Director Claire Squires asks whether it’s time for an academic reassessment of Jimmy Wales:

Yesterday, David Willetts, the minister of state for universities and science, announced at the Publishers Association and via the Guardian, that he has asked Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, to help them, along with Dame Janet Finch (former vice-chancellor of Keele University) to think through how to facilitate the open-access publication of public-sector funded research.

This move is in the context of an increasing disquiet from academics with, and movements from public-sector and private academic funders (including the Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust) against, academic publishing companies. There is currently a boycott of the STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) publisher Elsevier, with a signatory list of over 11,000. Its signatories are protesting at the huge margins made by some companies, particularly, but not exclusively, those that publish scientific research. Academics argue that public-sector funded research is packaged – with the aid of much free labour from academics in the form of peer review and editorial work – and then resold at very high cost via bundled packages of journals content to university libraries. The costs of journals have risen exponentially in recent years, swaying library budgets away from scholarly monographs and locking libraries into subscriptions. Essentially, it is hard not to argue that this is a system that leaches money from the public purse and inhibits free access to knowledge. Read more »