- Annual Report
- The year in
- Finances &
One of the many advantages the Press offers the University of Oxford is its vast international reach. Through its high-quality publishing stemming from its network of global offices it plays a key role in furthering the University’s mission far beyond our Oxford home.
I saw the value of the Press’s international impact first-hand last year, both through my attendance at OUP India’s centenary celebrations in March, and on a recent visit to Hong Kong, where I had the opportunity to read to a group of young children using OUP China’s resources at its Oxford Path Centre. The experience was an engaging reminder of the important role the Press plays in helping people of all ages and cultures learn, and in creating a positive impression of what the Oxford brand stands for.
We have faced many challenges in the past year. Political unrest, economic instability, and increasing levels of unemployment impacted people around the world, and it has been truly heartening to see how successfully the Press has navigated these difficulties. It has continued to work with outstanding scholars and educational writers to create the best resources for students, teachers, and academics. Digital resources in particular continued their rapid growth. The Press now publishes 14,000 e-books, of which more than 5,000 were added last year, and sales of these titles have increased more than threefold in the last 12 months.
The Press’s recent increase in investment has begun to deliver exciting results—a theme which Nigel Portwood explores further in his own introduction to this Annual Report. I would like to highlight a small selection here to demonstrate how different aspects of the Press’s work further the University’s mission to the benefit of students and scholars around the world. Last year we launched a new platform, University Press Scholarship Online, which builds on the success of Oxford Scholarship Online by offering digital access to current and long out of print monographs from other university presses. By the end of the year, nine other presses had chosen to use this service, demonstrating that by collaborating with the not-for-profit publishing community, we can make important scholarship even more widely available.
The Press has been focusing on publishing for schools in emerging economies in South America, the Middle East, and Asia. Through our high-quality resources we are able to make a positive impact on students’ learning experiences in these regions, and over half of our schools publishing sales now come from emerging markets. We also provided materials for countries where education systems are being improved—for example in South Africa and Australia where we created hundreds of new titles to support curriculum change.
During the year, the Press transferred more than £53 million to the rest of the University. It has been used to fund important research, scholarship, and other educational activities, in particular, the John Fell OUP Research Fund, and the expansion of the Clarendon Fund for overseas scholarships.
As the Chairman of the Delegates, I would like to acknowledge the specific contribution of our one retiring Delegate. Professor Hermione Lee retired in March 2012, after serving for ten years as the Delegate for English Literature. Her untiring support for the lists she covered as well as her great insight and judgement across the board, were hugely appreciated within the Press. She combined her work as a Delegate with a busy and successful writing career of her own, and latterly, a position as President of Wolfson College. Literature publishing at OUP shows her influence in a number of ways, not least in a run of well received literary biographies.