Scholarly Publishing of the UofT Press, 2007

Background

The University of Toronto Press Board and the Chief Executive Officer of UT Press are interested in having the University complete a review of Scholarly Publishing at the UT Press.  This is seen as critical input to the development of its operations and future direction.  The last review of Scholarly Publishing was completed in 1995, with a recommendation that it be done again in 2000 and every five years. No review was done in 2000 or 2005.

The UT Press Board has supported the management team and the CEO in the preparation and review of the operations and strategy of the various business units that make up the UT Press. These reviews focused on the business results and strategies to increase profitability and resulted in decisions to invest in several units (retail, journals, distribution and UTPrint) and to divest the printing business. This unit was subsequently sold, with the deal scheduled to close at the end of 2006. The business elements of managing the Press as a whole, and of Scholarly Publishing in particular, are not be part of this review as those aspects of the Press were addressed in the strategic reviews.  Strategies were recommended for Scholarly Publishing to improve the operations of the unit, but no attempt was made to evaluate how this unit was performing from the perspective of assisting the University in fulfilling its mission or enhancing the reputation of the University of Toronto as an academic institution. It was felt that this is a task best left to a team of academic reviewers.

Terms of Reference

The Vice-President and Provost of the University shall appoint a committee to review the extent to which the scholarly publishing of the UT Press has met the objectives and requirements for scholarly publishing by focusing on the following questions:

The Mission of the Press with regard to Scholarly Publishing

  • What is the primary mission? Is it well expressed? How does it assist the University in fulfilling its mission? Is the mission driving the operations of the scholarly publishing team?
  • Who are the key stakeholders? (authors? academic community? students?)
  • What is the value of the Press in advancing scholarship?
  • What is more important – a large number of scholarly books published in small quantities, or fewer books with more sales appeal?
  • Where is scholarship headed?

The Mandate

  • What are the current areas of specialization?  Should they be expanded? If so, to what areas?
  • Should text book publishing form part of the mandate? If so, in what areas?
  • Intellectual Property issues – what is the impact on publishing?

The Reputation

  • How do the publications of the Press enhance the reputation and advance the mission of the
    University of Toronto? Is the Press effective in this role?  What does this mean and how can it
    be measured?
  • What is the general quality of the work being published in comparison to other scholarly publishers in Canada and in the U.S? How important are Awards? Citations?
  • How does the Press compare to other scholarly publishers in Canada and the U.S, in enhancing the reputation of their respective institutions? How is the Press perceived in the academic community compared to other scholarly publishers? 
  • Who are the appropriate comparator organizations? What measures should be used to make the comparison? 
  • What would be required to significantly improve the reputation and profile of the Press?  

Technology and Electronic Publishing

  • How are changes in technology and the general publishing environment likely to affect the future of Scholarly Publishing?
  • Is the press ready to respond?
  • What else should be done?
  • How are rising costs to libraries affecting operations and decision-making?
  • Are decisions about Open Access and self-publishing being considered?

The Operations

  • How effective is the acquisitions process?
  • How effective is the review process?
    • What is the role of the Manuscript Review Committee?
    • How is the committee formed? Structured? Selected?
    • What should the composition of the Manuscript Review Committee be? Are there subcommittees?
    • Is the member selection process appropriate?
    • Are the terms of office appropriate? 
    • Should the MRC have a role in text book review?
  • How effective is the editing process?  Is volunteers’ time being well-used?
  • How effective is the production and distribution?

Review Committee Membership

Edith Hillan, Vice-Provost, Academic, (Chair)
William Bowen, Chair, Department of Humanities, UTSC
Paul Gooch, Professor, Department of Philosophy; President, Victoria University
Linda Hutcheon, Professor, Centre for Comparative Literature; Chair, Advisory Committee on the University Library System
David Klausner, Vice-Dean, Interdisciplinary, Faculty of Arts and Science
Jens Erik Mai, Vice-Dean, Faculty of Information Studies
Tim McTiernan, Assistant Vice-President, Research & Executive Director of Innovations at U of T, Office of the Vice-President, Research and Associate Provost
Cheryl Misak, Professor, Department of Philosophy; Acting Vice-President and Principal, UTM
Carole Moore, Chief Librarian
Mayo Moran, Dean, Faculty of Law
Rosanne Lopers-Sweetman (Secretary)