New Program Encourages Transnational Collaboration Among Scholarly Publishers

Presses in South Africa, Uganda, UK, and US Set to Participate

The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) has launched a pilot program that seeks to deepen transnational dialogue and collaboration among mission-driven scholarly publishers. The AUPresses Global Partner Program will pair member presses with non-member presses in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America, aiming not only to amplify the work of presses in the “Global South” but also to expand the knowledge base of the university press community worldwide.

During the program’s pilot year, African Minds from South Africa will partner with Duke University Press from the United States, and Makerere University Press from Uganda will partner with Liverpool University Press from the United Kingdom.

“By pairing individual presses operating in different national contexts, with the expectation of enhancing the practices and perspectives of both publishers, we advance the Association’s mission as a global community of publishers committed to ensuring academic excellence and cultivating knowledge,” says AUPresses executive director Peter Berkery. “We expect these partnerships to evolve organically as the participants discuss their goals and map out collaboration and knowledge sharing that best suit their particular needs and priorities.”

The Association will also offer a variety of members-only benefits to the non-member partners during the year-long term, including access to its online resource library and discussion fora; subscriptions to its monthly Bulletin; admittance to professional development webinars; and one complimentary registration to attend its annual meeting and member registration rates for additional attendees.

“Because we aim to foster access, openness, and debate in the pursuit of growing and deepening the African knowledge base, my colleagues and I look forward to wide-ranging discussions with our counterparts at Duke, especially with regard to our mutual interest in open access publishing,” said Francois van Schalkwyk, managing editor and trustee of African Minds.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with African Minds and learning from them,” said Dean Smith, director of Duke University Press. “We have a strong list in African studies and are honored that they have chosen us as a partner.”

The AUPresses Global Partner Program was designed and proposed by Anthony Cond, director of Liverpool University Press and a member of the AUPresses board of directors. “We hope that this new initiative will become a forum for knowledge exchange for university presses,” Cond said, “and that it also will create more robust structures for the dissemination of research in and from the Global South.”

“As one of the pilot partners, the team at Liverpool University Press look forward to both learning from and sharing with our colleagues at Makerere University Press,” Cond continued. “The past 12 months has reminded us all just how important global knowledge sharing and academic rigor are for the challenges faced by humanity.”

“The team at Makerere University Press looks forward to sharing experiences and exploring the opportunities and challenges of electronic publishing, including legal aspects of electronic publishing,” said Samuel Siminyu, the press’s managing editor. “We are also interested in developing marketing and communication strategies for our products in a digital environment.”

“We look forward to exploring the program’s potential during this pilot year,” Berkery concluded. University presses located in the Global South that are interested in seeking consideration as future partnership candidates may contact

About AUPresses and participating Global Partner presses

The Association of University Presses is an organization of more than 150 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, the Association advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. It holds intellectual freedom, integrity, stewardship, and diversity and inclusion as core values. AUPresses members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.

African Minds, based in Cape Town, South Africa, is a fully open access publisher of scholarly books, predominantly in the social sciences and humanities. Its authors are typically African academics and thinkers, as well as international academics who share a close affinity with the continent. 

Duke University Press, based in Durham, North Carolina, publishes the ideas of bold, progressive thinkers and supports emerging and vital fields of scholarship. The press publishes approximately 150 books annually and 56 journals, as well as offering several electronic collections and open access publishing initiatives. 

Liverpool University Press is the UK’s third oldest university press, publishing exceptional research since 1899. It has rapidly expanded in recent years to become an award-winning academic publisher that produces approximately 150 books a year, 38 journals and 5 digital collections, specializing in the modern languages, literary studies, history, and visual culture. 

Makarere University Press, based in Kampala, Uganda, publishes monographs and books, for academic purposes and general readership, in the areas of history, gender, politics, literary studies, arts, heritage, human rights and democracy, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and theoretical and applied sciences. Since its revitalization in 2019, the press has published an average of two books per year, with a goal of publishing ten books every year as well as launching two scholarly journals in 2021.

Feature coverage:

“Academic Presses Participate in Global Partnership,” University World News, Africa edition, February 18, 2021

“The AUPresses Global Partner Program Begins: An Interview with the Partner Presses,” The Scholarly Kitchen, April 29, 2021

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— AUPresses Mission Statement in Chinese (Simplified)