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Word by Word Vice President Research, Office of the 2008-11-12

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20 fall / Winter 2008 fall / Winter 2008 21Once a struggling regional university publisher on the brink of demise, UBC Press is now one of North America’s most venerable university presses and has played a key role in disseminating leading social sciences research. After nearly 40 years in the publishing industry, UBC Press’s retired Associate Director, Editorial, Jean Wilson reflects on her 20-year career at the Press and the critical importance of scholarly publishing to the academic community. Frontier: You joined UBC Press as Managing Editor in 1988 when the Press was struggling and you are consistently credited with helping to revive it. Why was it struggling and what did you do to help restore it?JW: UBC Press was quite dysfunctional in the late 1980s. People didn’t work well together and the Press had lost its focus.  It had published some important books especially in B.C. history and Native studies, but essentially, it was a small west coast publisher that no one east of the Rockies took very seriously. There was an internal review in 1989 after which most of my senior colleagues were fired and I was made acting director. I had the position for a year and then UBC hired Peter Milroy to be the new director of the Press and I became the acquisitions editor. We refocused the publishing list in areas that the Press already had strengths in, particularly B.C. history  and Native studies, and dropped other  areas that were well covered by other Canadian scholarly publishers.  F: UBC Press is now one of the most respected university presses in North America. Why?JW: We publish books that are very well received and well reviewed in their fields. People know that we take a great deal of care with our books at all stages. We have very rigorous standards for editing and production and I think we may be the only university press on the continent that still hires proofreaders. Our list has grown because of the editing and production quality of the books and authors know we’ll deal with the manuscripts expeditiously  and professionally.F: What is UBC Press most proud of?JW: We’re proudest of the contribution we’ve made to scholarship and publishing in Canada over the last 20 years. F: How do you see UBC Press’s role evolving?JW: The Press can maintain its present strength and maybe even grow a little bit more, in the sense of maybe publishing  70 books per year. At present, we publish about 60 books per year. The Press was one  of the first presses to edit manuscripts  online and it’s quite likely that it will lead the way in digital publishing, doing fewer hard copies of books and more in digitized form. I am confident it will maintain its reputation as one of the leading scholarly publishers in Canada. F: You have been in the business of university publishing for 40 years. How have you seen the industry change?JW: When I joined University of Toronto Press (UTP) in 1968, typesetting was all hot-metal typesetting; now we’re into digital publishing, which is very indicative of how rapidly technology has changed. In terms  of the industry, today there are a lot more scholarly publishers. In the 1970s, there were only two well-established scholarly presses and now there are nine English-language university presses. F: Why are university presses so integral to the university and its research endeavours?JW: If scholarly books aren’t published, the research done at universities languishes in university libraries as theses and reports that don’t reach the right audience. If academic presses don’t publish what has been found out through academic research, then they shortchange both the academic community and the larger world of scholarship as well. UBC Press has been and will continue to be a great asset to UBC, both in terms of the prestige it brings to the university as an important publisher of books in the social sciences, and in terms of the role it plays  in disseminating research results in Canada and internationally.2007Mandakranta Bose, institute  of Asian ResearchMandakranta Bose is a leading scholar of the classical performing arts of India. Her reconstruction of the ancient tradition of dance and mime in India is based on all extant Sanskrit texts on dance, drama  and music. David Brydges, Department  of MathematicsDavid Brydges is an outstanding mathematical physicist with a sustained record spanning thirty years of inventive and highly  creative achievements in the  fields of constructive quantum  field theory and mathematical statistical mechanics. Donald Douglas, Department  of ChemistryDonald Douglas is known for his contributions to mass spectrometry. He is noted for developing the first commercial inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer system for trace element analysis and for his fundamental studies of protein ions. Charles Haynes, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Michael Smith LaboratoriesDr. Haynes is a scholar of international stature in the field of bioseparations and downstream bioprocessing. His fundamental and applied research crosses disciplinary boundaries to devise   original methods of recovering  and separating products of biological significance from solutions and mixtures. Brian MacVicar, Department  of PsychiatryDr. MacVicar is a superb electrophysiologist and a pioneer in the development and application of cellular imaging to models of normal and pathological brain function. His research has direct application to topics like stroke, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Marco Marra, Department  of Medical Genetics and BC  Cancer AgencyDr. Marra was instrumental in the construction of a human genome map, which has allowed an international consortium to efficiently complete and make publicly available the human genome sequence. Another major contribution was in sequencing the SARS coronavirus genome. Jack Saddler, Faculty of ForestryJohn (Jack) N. Saddler is trained as a microbiologist/biochemist and works in the primary areas of applications of enzymes to fibre modification and in the bioconversion of wood residues  to fuels and chemicals. 2008Graeme Wynn, Department  of GeographyGraeme Wynn is among the leading historical geographers and environmental historians in the English-speaking world. He is known for his analyses of the social and environmental ramifications of staple trades, especially in the forests of colonial New Zealand.Clarence W. de Silva, Department of Mechanical EngineeringFrom fundamental research to technology development, Clarence de Silva has made significant seminal contributions to knowledge generation and dissemination, advanced education, and the practice  of engineering in Canada and overseas.Curtis Suttle, Department of Earth and ocean SciencesProfessor Suttle has changed our understanding of biological oceanographic processes by being among the first to recognize the abundance of viruses in seawater and their importance as major agents of mortality and drivers of global biogeochemical cycles. Ann Marie Craig, Department  of PsychiatryDr. Craig has made some of the most important advances in neuroscience in the past decade and her work has important significance for the development of new and effective therapies for numerous neurological and psychiatric diseases, like stroke and autism.   ivar Ekeland, Pacific institute for the Mathematical SciencesIvar Ekeland’s contributions to mathematics include fundamental results in convex and non-linear analysis, control theory, Hamiltonian mechanics, symplectic geometry, mathematical economics and finance.Martha Cook Piper, Past President (RSC Specially Elected Fellow)With her superb communication skills, Martha Cook Piper has been instrumental in raising public awareness of the importance of research and in persuading governments to increase their investment in higher education  and research.2007-08 UBC fellows elected to  Royal Society of Canada RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada (RSC) is the senior national body of distinguished scientists and scholars. Fellowship to the RSC is one of the most prestigious academic distinctions that can be attributed to a Canadian scholar. Individuals are selected based on their outstanding scholarly achievements on both a national and international level through publishing learned works or through original research in the arts, humanities and sciences. byaccoladesPhoto > Kaldor


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