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Stanford University proposes to end funding of university press

In the US, Stanford University is moving to end its annual US$1.7 million (A$2.4m) in financial support to its university press, reports Inside Higher Ed.

University provost Persis Drell told the faculty senate it was ending its funding to Stanford University Press, citing a tight budget due to a smaller than anticipated payout from its US$26 billion (A$36.85bn) endowment. According to Inside Higher Ed, Drell recently told faculty leaders she considered the press ‘second rate’, and wanted to cut the number of books it published.

Stanford University Press brings in about US$5 million (A$7.09m) a year in book sales and publishes about 130 books a year.

Association of University Presses executive director Peter Berkery said ‘at first glance the proposition that a university of Stanford’s stature would voluntarily inflict damage upon an asset like the Stanford University Press seems shockingly improbable’. ‘The press is a world-class scholarly publisher with a 125-plus-year history—a global ambassador of the university’s brand,’ said Berkery. ‘It appears the Stanford administration is proceeding from the misperception that university presses are self-funding—which, with only a handful of highly circumstantial exceptions, is demonstrably not the case.’

An open letter from Stanford’s faculty, students, staff and alumni protesting the university’s decision has collected over 700 signatures.

 

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