Annual Report 2019

OBP Newsletter Dec 20, 2019

As we come to the end of this year, it is with great pride that we look back at the many exciting things that have happened here at OBP in 2019!

From great new open access titles like Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa and Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, innovative publications like Annunciations: Sacred Music for the Twenty-First Century or Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print to prize-winning books, new series and exciting projects, this has been a remarkable year for us.

As you prepare to celebrate the holiday season, don’t miss out on our  last 2019 newsletter to find out more about all our achievements, future plans and interesting news!

New Open Access Publications in 2019

This year we have published a total of 30 books, which exceeds any previous year! We have not only released fantastic new titles both from first-time and returning authors but also four new textbooks and a number of enhanced editions of previously published books.

2019 opened with the publication of Life Histories of Etnos Theory in Russia and Beyond and of Delivering on the Promise of Democracy. Returning author George Corbett edited Annunciations: Sacred Music for the Twenty-First Century a collection of essays interrogating the theme of annunciations through music, which includes embedded recordings and sheet music of new choral pieces written as part of the research for the book; Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print by Kathryn M. Rudy is a valuable text for any scholar in the fields of medieval studies, the history of early books and publishing, cultural history or material culture; Essays on Paula Rego by Maria Manuel Lisboa is an important collection of writings on one of the leading artists of our time.

We have added two new titles to our  OBP Series in Mathematics: the second edition of  Advanced Problems in Mathematics: Preparing for University by Stephen Siklos and The Essence of Mathematics Through Elementary Problems by Alexandre Borovik and Tony Gardiner, a textbook that consists of a sequence of 270 problems with commentary and full solutions. There have also been new additions to our OBP Classics Series from the pen of Flora Kimmich, who skilfully translated Schillers' Kabale und Liebe, and by Howard Gaskill, who has translated Hölderlin’s only novel, Hyperion.

New and very innovative titles on history, biology, linguistics and sociology approached from a non-European perspective hit the press this year! The Politics of Language Contact in the Himalaya edited by Selma K. Sonntag and Mark Turin offered readers a nuanced insight into language and its relation to power in this geopolitically complex region; History of International Relations: A Non-European Perspective by Erik Ringmar pioneered a new approach by explicitly focusing on non-European cases, debates and issues. Finally, Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa by John W. Wilson and Richard B. Primack - the first OA conservation biology textbook for Africa -  has proved an essential resource for students, as well as a handy guide for professionals working to stop the rapid loss of biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere.

This year we have also successfully published a wealth of books by many more authors, both new and returning: R. H. Winnick's Tennyson’s Poems: New Textual Parallels, Rosella Mamoli Zorzi and Katherine Manthorne's From Darkness to Light: Writers in Museums 1798-1898, Janis Jefferies and Sarah Kember's Whose Book is it Anyway? A View From Elsewhere on Publishing, Copyright and Creativity, Deborah Willis, Ellyn Toscano and Kalia Brooks Nelson's Women and Migration: Responses in Art and History, Chris Rowell's Social Media in Higher Education: Case Studies, Reflections and Analysis, The Pogroms in Ukraine, 1918-19: Prelude to the Holocaust by Nokhem Shtif, translated by Maurice Wolfthal, Make We Merry More and Less: An Anthology of Medieval English Popular Literature, edited by Douglas Gray and Jane Bliss, Infrastructure Investment in Indonesia: A Focus on Ports, edited by Colin Duffield, Felix Kin Peng Hui and Sally Wilson, Ernesto Screpanti's Labour and Value: Rethinking Marx’s Theory of Exploitation, Engaging Researchers with Data Management: The Cookbook and Joachim Otto Habeck's Lifestyle in Siberia and the Russian North. Finally, the 2019 edition of What Works in Conservation came out this summer and has since then been read more than 1500 times!

We are closing 2019 with three exciting hot-off-the-press titles: Non-Communicable Disease Prevention: Best Buys, Wasted Buys and Contestable Buys, a book commissioned by the Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC), an annual international conference centered on policy of global significance related to public health and written for the benefit of the global health community; Prose Fiction: An Introduction to the Semiotics of Narrative, a textbook that equips its readers with the necessary tools to embark on further study of literature, literary theory and creative writing; and The DARPA Model for Transformative Technologies: Perspectives on the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a remarkable collection of leading academic research on DARPA from a wide range of perspectives, combining to chart an important story from the Agency’s founding in the wake of Sputnik, to the current attempts to adapt it to use by other federal agencies.

We would like to thank our authors for their extraordinary work and our readers for their continued support!

Our 2019 Open Access Series

In 2019, we have announced a number of new series all of which are open for proposals, so feel free to get in touch if you or someone you know is interested in submitting a manuscript!

The St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture Series,  previously published by the Centre for French History and Culture at the University of St Andrews, aims to enhance scholarly understanding of the historical culture of the French-speaking world and it covers the full span of historical themes relating to France: from political history, through military/naval, diplomatic, religious, social, financial, cultural and intellectual history, art and architectural history, to literary culture.
We relaunched our 2018 series Applied Theatre Praxis (ATP) which focuses on Applied Theatre practitioner-researchers who use their rehearsal rooms as "labs”; spaces in which theories are generated, explored and/or experimented with before being implemented in contentious and/or vulnerable contexts.  ATP invites writing that draws from the author’s praxis to generate theory for diverse manifestations of Applied Theatre. We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Natasha Oxley, our new member of the ATP editorial board!
 We will soon be launching the first title of our Cambridge Semitic Language and Cultures series created in collaboration with the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. This series includes philological and linguistic studies of Semitic languages and editions of Semitic texts. Titles in the series will cover all periods, traditions and methodological approaches to the field.

Finally, we are also welcoming chapter proposals for the book What Do We Care About? A Cross-Cultural Textbook for Undergraduate Students of Philosophical Ethics. This book is a bold attempt to provide a comprehensive and broad perspective on ethics to undergraduate students by incorporating a non-Eurocentric, non-biased way of presenting traditions from Asia, Africa, North-America, South-America, Australia and Europe. If you'd like to submit a proposal and/or find out more about the submission process for this title, please visit

For other inquiries regarding these series, you can contact our director Dr Alessandra Tosi here.

Our Award-Winning Open Access Titles

In 2019, some of our books have been recognised with prizes for the quality of their scholarship and the innovation of their presentation:

Literature Against Criticism: University English and Contemporary Fiction in Conflict by Martin Paul Eve

Martin Eve was awarded the prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2019, and we are particularly proud that Literature Against Criticism formed a substantial part of his submission portfolio for the award. The Philip Leverhulme Prize recognises the achievement of outstanding researchers at an early stage of their careers, whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising. We are delighted that Martin and Literature Against Criticism have been recognised in this way.

A Fleet Street in Every Town: The Provincial Press in England, 1855-1900 by Andrew Hobbs

Winner of the 2019 Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize for best book on Victorian newspapers and periodicals – awarded annually by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals.

The selection committee described the book as 'field-defining'; a title that 'convincingly challenges enduring assumptions that London newspapers acted as the national press in the Victorian period.' They exalted its 'meticulous research, originality, and significance for future scholars' of the provincial press in Britain, whilst also noting that it is 'written with imagination, flair and infectious enthusiasm', bringing 'the nineteenth century press to full, vibrant, pulsating life'.

The Jewish Unions in America: Pages of History and Memories by Bernard Weinstein, translated and annotated by Maurice Wolfthal

Winner of the 2018 Choice Review's Outstanding Academic Title.

Every year in the January issue, in print and online, Choice publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. Wolfthal's excellent title has been awarded for its overall excellence in presentation and scholarship, its importance within the field, its value to graduate students and its uniqueness of treatment.

Congratulations to the winners!

OBP: A Top Social Enterprise

2019 has not only been a successful year for our authors but also for us since we made it to the Top 100 of the NatWest SE100 Index 2019!

This award celebrates the growth, impact and resilience of social ventures in the UK by recognising the most impressive 100 social enterprises of the year.

You can read more about this here.

Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs

On 14th June this year, Research England announced the award of a £2.2 million grant to the Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) project, which is designed to build much-needed community-controlled, open systems and infrastructures that will develop and strengthen open access book publishing. This was followed in October by the announcement of an £800,000 grant from the Arcadia fund. Open Book Publishers is a key partner in the COPIM project, with our fellow ScholarLed presses and leading universities, libraries and infrastructure providers from the UK and around the world. COPIM will transform open access book publishing by moving away from a model of competing commercial service operations to a more horizontal and cooperative, knowledge-sharing approach.

Read more about this promising project in Lucy Barnes’s blog post and in this announcement by ScholarLed.

New Library Members 2019

We wholeheartedly thank all the universities that have joined our membership programme in 2019 and who have decided to help us in providing academic monographs that can be read for free worldwide. The support we receive from libraries is vital to help us continue our work!

These are the libraries that joined our membership scheme in 2019:

Villanova University - United States
Earth University - Costa Rica
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya - Spain
Universidad Autónoma de Centro América - Costa Rica
Universidad de Granada - Spain
Universitat D'Alacant - Spain
University of North Alabama - United States
Universität Hamburg - Germany
Åbo Akademi University Library - Finland
Portland State University Library - United States
University of North Carolina Greensboro - United States
San Diego State University Library - United States
Edge Hill - United Kingdom
University of Derby - United Kingdom
Iowa State University Library - United States
Michigan State University  - United States
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna - Austria
BULAC (Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations) - France
Freie Universität Berlin - Germany
Turku University Library - Finland
Rowan University Libraries - United States

If you'd like to find out more about the benefits of membership for staff & students, visit

OBP Global Statistics 2019

As Open Access works, our titles are available on a multitude of different platforms, and readers have multiple means of accessing them. Collecting and collating usage statistics for our books is challenging, and clearly any data reported will be at the lower end of ‘true’ usage, as we are unable to obtain data from all platforms.

During the year, we have collected book level usage data from the following sources: OBP’s Free Online PDF Reader; OBP’s Free HTML Reader; free ebook downloads from OBP; Google Play; and visitors to our titles hosted on Google Books, OpenEdition, WorldReader, OAPEN and the Classics Library. We are pleased to have introduced on our website detailed readership reports across these platforms at the level of individual titles. To find out more about the data we have been collecting, please visit our page on how we collect our readership statistics and if you'd like to know more about what we mean by usage data, you can read Lucy Barnes' latest blog post What We Talk About When We Talk About… Book Usage Data.

Our Global Reach

This year we welcomed readers from 219 different countries and states confirming that our titles have worldwide reach. The United States, United Kingdom, India, Nigeria and South Africa are the top 5, followed by the Phillippines, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Pakistan. We look forward to having an even bigger global impact in the years ahead.

In our percentage of readership by continent, Europe is in first place with 38% of our total readership, followed by Africa and North America with 21% each and Asia with 18%.

We would like to thank our readers for engaging with our books this year!

New-Look Blog

All things must come to an end...and be replaced with something better!

This last month we have launched our new blog with a new and more user-friendly design where you can find all our previous posts, including posts this year on metrics, Open Access academic publishing, English and German Literature, international relations and language politics that we'd like to invite you to read!

To check out our new blog and all our new content, visit

OBP to Shrink our Carbon Footprint in 2020

In the forthcoming year we will publish a number of books about climate change, its impact on our world and the importance of sustainability – these include Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet (ed. Philippe D. Tortell); Living Earth Community: Multiple Ways of Being and Knowing (eds. Sam Mickey, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim) and What Works in Conservation 2020 (eds. William J. Sutherland, Lynn V. Dicks, Nancy Ockendon, Silviu O. Petrovan and Rebecca K. Smith).

Inspired by the work of our authors, next year we will be taking steps to shrink our carbon footprint and we will be blogging about it along the way, so keep an eye on our blog to find out more about what we learn and all we achieve throughout 2020!

Thanks to Our Volunteers!

At OBP, we offer direct training placements in all aspects of Open Access publishing, free of charge. We provide placements to individuals, as part of university courses such as the MSt in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, and to other Open Access publishers such as UGA Editions and Firenze University Press. However, we also welcome volunteers of different levels of skill and experience who want to work with us either at our Cambridge office or remotely.

This year we have had the pleasure of working along some great volunteers and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their help and hard work - we strongly appreciated their support and assistance!

Elena Prat
Naveed Ashraf
Maddie Janjo
Annalena Lorenz
Robert Wilding
Theodore Martin
Natalie Ansell
Claudia Griffiths
Ryan Norman
Julie Linden
Elizabeth Lowe
Edwin Rosta
Ammara Naveed

If you or someone you know would like to have the opportunity to try a range of key publishing aspects, including marketing, editorial and text-formatting tasks in a non-corporate environment, please contact Alessandra Tosi.

We Want to Hear from You!

We are very grateful for the support our member libraries give us, and we are keen to find out what more we could be doing in return. For this reason, we would like to invite you to take part in a short survey which will provide an opportunity for us to find out more about what you would like us to be doing for you. Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary and all of your responses are anonymous.

If you have any questions about this survey, or difficulty in accessing the site or completing the survey, please contact

We would love to hear from all our librarians and know more about the ways they think we can improve!

And finally...

May the holiday season end the present year on a cheerful note and make way for a fresh and bright New Year!

Laura Rodríguez

Laura Rodríguez holds an MPhil in Medieval Literature at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include medieval pastoral care, women's studies, religious history, and cycle drama.