University of Calgary

UC Press

University of Calgary Press launches new mandate

By Terry Rahbek-Nielsen

New director Donna Livingstone, shown here with the “press gang,” is moving the U of C Press toward more online publishing and e

New director Donna Livingstone, shown here with the “press gang,” is moving the U of C Press toward more online publishing and environmentally sustainable practices. / Photo by Ken Bendiktsen

The University of Calgary Press has a new director, a new plan and a new vision—all aimed at ensuring its place at the forefront of the fast-evolving world of scholarly publishing.

“We want to publish books that make a difference,” says Donna Livingstone, the new director. “Books that move the conversation forward, that appeal to the curious mind and present provocative ideas in a clear, accessible way.”

The U of C Press has been publishing award-winning scholarly books and journals for 27 years, looking for the freshest, most thoughtful scholarly research that’s happening on campus, at universities across Canada and around the world. 

As a key regional publisher, it has developed strengths in western history, native studies and northern studies. International topics are represented with series in African studies and Latin American and Caribbean studies. Expertise in art and architecture, women’s studies, military and strategic studies, and cinema studies have also been developed over the past several years.

Currently, the press is expanding its focus into energy, environment and ecology, and exploring new scholarly fields such as food studies and public policy.

The new approach at the press is both innovative and timely, explains Livingstone. Scholarly publishing is changing rapidly and the industry looks very different now than it did just a few years ago, with increasing moves toward electronic publishing and open access dissemination. Getting the best scholarly research out to key audiences is now about more than printing books and journals. 

"We see online publishing as a timely, cost-effective and sustainable approach to distributing the material we publish,” says Livingstone. “We recognize and share the love of the printed book, but we owe it to our authors to ensure the widest possible readership of their great work. We are exploring ways in which we can satisfy both needs.”

Another important part of the press’s new mandate is a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. As a publisher, the press’s environmental footprint is not a small one; print runs add up to about one million sheets of paper every year.

Whenever possible, the press is choosing to work with printers with shared environmental values, reflected in the availability of 100 percent recycled stocks and non-toxic inks.

Starting in the spring, the U of C Press plans to work with grounds professionals on campus to plant a tree for every new title published.