Cambridge University Press
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|Parent company||University of Cambridge|
|Founder||King Henry VIII of England|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Headquarters location||Cambridge, England|
Ingram Content Group (US fulfillment)
DHL Supply Chain (UK fulfillment)
|Key people||Stephen Toope, Peter Phillips|
|Nonfiction topics||Humanities; Social Sciences; Science; Medicine; Engineering and Technology; English Language Teaching and Learning; Education; Bibles|
|Revenue||£327 million (2019)|
|No. of employees||2,835; 57 per cent are outside the UK|
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the oldest university press in the world. It is also the Queen's Printer.
Cambridge University Press is a department of the University of Cambridge and is both an academic and educational publisher. With a global sales presence, publishing hubs, and offices in more than 40 countries, it publishes over 50,000 titles by authors from over 100 countries. Its publishing includes more than 380 academic journals, monographs, reference works, school and university textbooks, and English language teaching and learning publications. It also publishes Bibles, runs a bookshop in Cambridge, sells through Amazon, and has small conference venues business in Cambridge, with facilities at the Pitt Building and the Sir Geoffrey Cass Sports and Social Centre. Being part of the University of Cambridge gives the Press a non-profit status for most of its activities, thereby not having to pay corporation tax. Cambridge University Press transfers a minimum of 30% of any annual surplus back to the University of Cambridge.
Cambridge University Press is the oldest university press in the world. It originated from letters patent granted to the University of Cambridge by Henry VIII in 1534. Cambridge is one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). Authors published by Cambridge have included John Milton, William Harvey, Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking, Dr Stephen Stahl, and the Press's own Kevin Taylor and David McKitterick.
University printing began in Cambridgewhen the first practicing University Printer, Thomas Thomas, set up a printing house in 1584. In July 1697 the Duke of Somerset made a loan of £200 to the university "towards the printing house and press" and James Halman, Registrary of the University, lent £100 for the same purpose.
The press began using steam-powered machine presses by the 1850s. It was in this period that the Press turned down what later became the Oxford English Dictionary – a proposal for which was brought to Cambridge by James Murray before he turned to Oxford.
In 1975 the Press launched its English language teaching publishing business. In 1981 the Press built a new purpose-built building named The Edinburgh Building with its adjoining warehouse to accommodate the Press's expansion. This site was sold to Cambridge Assessment in 2015 for the construction of The Triangle Building.
In 1986 the Press acquired the long-established Bible and prayer book publisher Eyre & Spottiswoode, which gave the Press the ancient and unique title of 'The Queen's Printer'.
In 1992 the Press opened a bookshop at 1 Trinity Street. It the oldest known bookshop site in Britain. In 2008 the shop expanded into 27 Market Hill where its specialist Education and English Language Teaching shop opened the following year. The Press bookshop showcases Press books as well as selling a wide selection of gifts, including mugs, diaries, bags, postcards, maps, and other Cambridge souvenirs.
In 2012 the Press sold its unprofitable printing operation to MPG Books Group. MPG went into administration in 2013 due to delays and cost overruns associated with the facility MPG set up for Cambridge University Press. The Press now uses third parties around the world to provide all of its print publications.
Relationship with the University of Cambridge
The Press has, since 1698, been governed by the Press 'Syndics' (originally known as the 'Curators'), 18 senior members of the University of Cambridge who, along with other non-executive directors, bring a range of subject and business expertise. The Chair of the Syndicate is currently Professor Stephen Toope (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge). The Syndicate has delegated its powers to a Press & Assessment Board, which has an Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee and Nominations Committee (all shared with Cambridge Assessment); and to an Academic Publishing Committee and an English Language Teaching & Education Publishing Committee.
The Press & Assessment Board is chaired by the chief financial officer of the University of Cambridge, is responsible for setting overarching strategic direction, agreeing major investment decisions, as well as maximising value and impact through better alignment of Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press with each other and with the academic University.
The two Publishing Committees provide quality assurance and formal approval of the publishing strategy.
The operational responsibility of the Press is delegated by the Syndics to the Secretary of the Syndicate and Chief Executive, currently Peter Phillips.
The Secretary of the Syndicate is typically made a Fellow of Wolfson College in Cambridge, and a number of current and former senior managers of the Press are Fellows and Senior Members of Wolfson College.
Cambridge University Press comprises three publishing groups and a shared services group. These are:
This group publishes research books and journals in science, technology, medicine, humanities, and the social sciences. It also publishes advanced learning materials and reference content as well as 380 journals. The group also publishes Bibles, and the Press is one of only two publishers entitled to publish the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Version of the Bible in England.
English Language Teaching
ELT publishes English language teaching courses and resources for all ages around the world.
The Education group delivers educational products, services and software for primary, secondary and international schools. It collaborates with Cambridge Assessment and the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education to help countries such as Kazakhstan and Oman to improve their education systems.
Shared services functions are separate from the three publishing groups and includes Customer Services, Finance, Technology, Operations and Supply Chain, HR and Legal.
Partnerships and acquisitions
- In 2011, Cambridge University Press formed a partnership with Cambridge Assessment to publish official Cambridge preparation materials for Cambridge English and IELTS examinations.
- In 2015, Cambridge University Press formed a strategic content and technology partnership with Edmodo, the world's most extensive e-learning platform for primary and secondary teachers and pupils, to bring premier educational content and technology to schools in the United Kingdom.
- In 2017, the University of Cambridge announced that Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment would work more closely in future under the direction of the Press & Assessment Board. The Press & Assessment Board sets overarching strategic direction, agree major investment decisions, and seeks to maximise value and impact through better alignment of Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press with each other and with the academic University.
- In 2019, Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment acquired the trade and assets of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring ("CEM") from the University of Durham for £17.2m. CEM provides aptitude assessments internationally to measure learner progress and potential, as well as 11 Plus exams for many UK independent and grammar schools. This provides a solid base from which to develop market-leading propositions in digital formative assessment – which is a priority in the next phase of joint working between the organisations.
- In 2020, CUP partnered with EDUCATE Ventures, the University College London edtech accelerator, to better understand the challenges and successes of home education during the lockdown.
Since 2011, Cambridge University Press (CUP) has been pursuing a multi-year project to invest in its IT systems, adopting SAP. In January 2013, the finance and procurement model of SAP was implemented. Since then, the sales and distribution model of SAP has been implemented through a series of multi-year projects. These projects seek to transform the Press's back-office systems, processes and customer relations. Cambridge University Press works closely with IT services firm Tech Mahindra on the SAP implementation, as well as on projects around the integration and maintenance of internal systems. The company also works in other parts of its IT architecture with Cognizant and Wipro.
In 2016, Cambridge Books Online and Cambridge Journals Online were replaced by Cambridge Core which provided significantly enhanced interfaces and upgraded navigation capabilities, as well as article-level and chapter-level content selection. A year after Cambridge Core went live, the Press launched Cambridge Core Share, functionality to allow users to generate and share links with free access to selected journal articles, an early sign of the Press's commitment to open research.
Gender pay gap
Alms for Jihad
In 2007, controversy arose over the Press's decision to destroy all remaining copies of its 2006 book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, by Burr and Collins, as part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz. Within hours, Alms for Jihad became one of the 100 most sought after titles on Amazon.com and eBay in the United States. The Press sent a letter to libraries asking them to remove copies from circulation. The Press subsequently sent out copies of an "errata" sheet for the book.
The American Library Association issued a recommendation to libraries still holding Alms for Jihad: "Given the intense interest in the book, and the desire of readers to learn about the controversy first hand, we recommend that U.S. libraries keep the book available for their users." The publisher's decision did not have the support of the book's authors and was criticized by some who claimed it was incompatible with freedom of speech and with freedom of the press and that it indicated that English libel laws were excessively strict. In a New York Times Book Review (7 October 2007), United States Congressman Frank R. Wolf described Cambridge's settlement as "basically a book burning". The Press pointed out that, at that time, it had already sold most of its copies of the book.
The Press defended its actions, saying it had acted responsibly and that it is a global publisher with a duty to observe the laws of many different countries.
Cambridge University Press v. Patton
On 18 August 2017, following an "instruction" from a Chinese import agency, Cambridge University Press used the functionality that had been built into Cambridge Core to temporarily delete 315 politically sensitive articles from the China Quarterly on its Chinese website, without having the consent of the China Quarterly. The articles focused on topics China regards as taboo, including the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, Chairman Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong's fight for democracy and ethnic tensions in Xinjiang and Tibet.
On 21 August 2017, in the face of growing international protests, after meetings between CUP and the editors of The China Quarterly, and after review by the academic leadership of the University of Cambridge, the Press announced it would immediately repost the articles to uphold the principle of academic freedom on which the University's work is founded.
Before this controversy, in 2012, the University of Cambridge had received £3.7 million from the daughter of the former Premier of China Wen Jiabao. The donation was used to create the Chong Hua Chair in Chinese Development Studies, whose inaugural appointee was her former professor at Cambridge, Peter Nolan.
The Press undertakes substantial community engagement with the local community and around the world where there are Press employees. In 2016, some of the Press's community works included its continued support to Westchester Community College in New York, the installation of hygienic facilities in an Indonesian rural school, raising funds to rehabilitate earthquake-stricken schools in Nepal and guiding students from Coleridge Community College, Cambridge in a CV workshop. On World Book Day 2016, the Press held a digital Shakespeare publishing workshop for students and their teachers. Similarly, their Indian office conducted a workshop for teachers and students in 17 schools in Delhi to learn the whole process of book publishing. The Press donated more than 75,000 books in 2016. Annually, the Press selects their UK Charity of the Year, which has included local charities Centre 33 (2016 and 2017), Rowan Humberstone (2018) and Castle School (2019).
The Press monitors its emissions annually, has converted to energy-saving equipment, minimizes plastic use and ensures that their paper is sourced ethically. In 2019, the World Wildlife Fund awarded its highest score to the Press of Three Trees, based on the Press's timber purchasing policy, performance statement and its responsible sourcing of timber. The Press works hard to minimise the number of books that are sent for pulping each year, due to either being misprinted or now longer in demand.
Cambridge University Press has stated its support for a sustainable transition to open access. It offers a range of open access publishing options under the heading of Cambridge Open, allowing authors to comply with the Gold Open Access and Green Open Access requirements of major research funders. It publishes Gold Open Access journals and books and works with publishing partners such as learned societies to develop Open Access for different communities. It supports Green Open Access (also called Green archiving) across its journals and monographs, allowing authors to deposit content in institutional and subject-specific repositories. It also supports sharing on commercial sharing sites through its Cambridge Core Share service.
In recent years it has entered into several Read & Publish Open Access agreements with university libraries and consortia in several countries, including a landmark agreement with the University of California. In its 2019 Annual Report, Cambridge University Press stated that it saw such agreements "as an important stepping stone in the transition to Open Access."
In 2019, the Press joined with the University of Cambridge's research and teaching departments to give a unified response to Plan S, which calls for all publications resulting from publicly-funded research to be published in compliant open access journals or platforms from 2020. The response emphasized Cambridge's commitment to an open access goal which works effectively for all academic disciplines, is financially sustainable for institutions and high-quality peer review, and which leads to an orderly transition.
The Press is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association and the International Association of STM Publishers.
In 2019, the Press released a new concept in scholarly publishing through Cambridge Elements where authors whose works are either too short to be printed as a book or too long to qualify as a journal article can have them published within 12 weeks.
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