UWA backpedals on move to close publishing arm, to continue under hybrid model10th December 2020
Mr Chakma said the press was planning to publish more scholarly and non-fiction works that promoted the university’s research and academic successes on top of its previous offering.
“We will continue to produce literary works which share local West Australian stories, history and Indigenous voices,” he said.
“Some titles will still be traditionally published while others will be published through open access, removing cost barriers to UWA research and enabling greater community and worldwide access.”
The new hybrid publishing model will be developed and overseen by an advisory board with a “robust” editorial and peer review process, but the internal management of the publisher will fall under the tutelage of the university’s library.
News of UWA Publishing’s closure first made headlines in November last year, when a deputy vice-chancellor Tayyeb Shah issued a memo to staff proposing a progressive close-down of the press in its “current form” to transition into digital publishing.
The memo called this the first step in aligning the press’ output with a “strategic vision to provide open and digitised access to information and knowledge in its support of the university’s academic writing and research”.
Closing the press would allow “reinvestment” into activities that could meet this objective.
The move was slammed by UWA employees and writers from across Australia, who flocked to sign an online petition calling for the press to stay open, created by Canberra poet and former Prime Minister’s Literary Award winner Melinda Smith.
Under the new model, the publisher’s current commitments will continue with a number of titles contracted for delivery in 2021.