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Stanford Report, April 12, 2000

Librarian Michael Keller to oversee Stanford University Press

The Stanford University Press will report to University Librarian Michael A. Keller, effective immediately, Provost John Hennessy announced today. The Press previously reported to Timothy R. Warner, vice provost for budget and auxiliaries management. As a result of the transition, Norris Pope, director of the Press during the past 10 years, will return to full-time duty as editorial director of the Press's refereed scholarly book and monograph imprint.

The move will focus the university's institutional investments in scholarly communication through a single senior officer. With this new reporting structure, publishing under the Press imprint will be overseen by the same executive responsible for the Libraries' HighWire Press, an Internet publishing services enterprise assisting in the production of Internet editions of more than 180 scientific journals.


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"The synergies with Keller's operation, particularly HighWire and its experience in collaborative web development as well as experiments with knowledge environments and reference works, will enable promising initiatives with the Press," Warner said. "The hallmarks of the Press, its scholarly publishing traditions and commitment to excellence, will continue, enhanced by this change."

"The Provost's office has assured me that the university's commitment to the Press remains strong," said Keller, who, like Warner, is a charter member of the Board of Governors of the Press. In fact, he said, the university desires an expansion of the Press's efforts. "Consequently, we have begun to frame the Press's future along three lines: the traditional program of scholarly book publishing; an expansion of publishing works with appeal for nonspecialist readers; and the engagement of high quality, high impact online publishing projects, some of them to be supplementary to the other programs and some of them uniquely digital."

Keller, who is the founding publisher of HighWire Press, said its relationships with more than 50 scholarly publishers are a model for future development. "Our task, both past and future, is to assure the survival of scholarly communication and to increase its value to and effectiveness for the university community. At the same time, it is enormously important for Stanford to speak through formal publishing processes to intellectuals at large, in effect the sorts of people best exemplified by Stanford's own alumni."

Hennessy, Warner and Keller expressed gratitude for Pope's service as director and for his commitment to continue with the Press. Keller said he plans to initiate a search for a chief executive to manage the expanded publishing program after a brief examination of the broader publishing scene.

During Pope's tenure, Press books have won more academic prizes than during any other equivalent period in the Press's 75-year history. These include such nationally and internationally distinguished prizes as the Ralph Waldo Emerson and Christian Gauss Awards of Phi Beta Kappa; the Bancroft Prize; the Beveridge, Fairbank, Atlantic and Birdall Prizes of the American Historical Association; the Lowell, Marraro and Scaglione Prizes of the Modern Language Association; the Levenson and Hall Prizes of the Association for Asian Studies; the Bolton and Cline Prizes of the Conference on Latin American History; the Frederick Jackson Turner and Rawley Awards of the Organization of American Historians; the Fenno and Beer Prizes of the American Political Science Association; and other well-known awards such as the Lincoln, Fraenkel and Hiromi Arisawa Prizes, along with a multitude of other book prizes from scholarly organizations.

According to Pope, "the creation of a broader publishing program, with the participation of the University Libraries, is a very promising way to shape a permanently viable publishing entity -- one able to meet both the extraordinary challenges and extraordinary opportunities posed by a rapidly changing communications environment."

Stanford University Press is the scholarly imprint of Stanford University. Its editorial board, which approves all books, consists of nine faculty members and is currently chaired by English Professor Rob Polhemus. The Press publishes about 120 new books per year, written by scholars throughout North America and the world. It publishes in a range of disciplines, predominantly in the humanities and social sciences. It is regarded as the strongest North American publisher in Latin American history, in Asian studies and in literary theory and theoretically oriented criticism. In a recent survey of collection-development librarians, the Press was ranked fourth overall for the intellectual quality of its books, and second among North American publishers. SR