University Press of New England to close this December

April 27, 2018

The University Press of New England (UPNE) will close this December, according to statements by Dartmouth College’s Office of Communications and Brandeis Provost Lisa Lynch, the two remaining member universities of UPNE. Brandeis is working on measures to secure the Brandeis University Press imprint, according to Lynch.

An statement released by the Dartmouth Office of Communications announced UPNE’s closing on April 18, and stated that the press would close in December as it is “unsustainable to operate with only two member-institutions.”

UPNE was founded in 1970 and at its largest had 10 member institutions, but its numbers have decreased in recent years, down to just Brandeis University and Dartmouth College. The UPNE Board of Governors voted to dissolve and close the press Tuesday, April 17 according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Lynch released a statement about UPNE’s closing on April 20, saying, “I want you to know that Brandeis remains fully committed to the future of Brandeis University Press. BUP will maintain current books in press or under review and continue to support its growing portfolio of books covering diverse subjects and perspectives. We are currently engaged in discussions to quickly find alternative arrangements to secure the Brandeis University Press imprint into the future, and we will announce those arrangements as soon as they are finalized.”

Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon also commented on the closing of UPNE in the Dartmouth College Office of Communications statement, saying “This decision was not made quickly or easily.” He continued, “Dartmouth will continue to support the scholarly publication of the work of its faculty.”

The publication “Inside Higher Ed” reported on the story, discussing faculty concerns about the closing of UPNE and university presses in general. The story described faculty members’ fear in regards to the closure of academic publishers, as faculty members are often expected to have published books or materials in order to be awarded tenure. “With more departments having heightened expectations about faculty publishing, any loss of a scholarly publisher could have an impact on academic careers,” the article stated.

The Association of University Presses (AUP)—formerly the Association of American University Presses—a community of publishers that advocates for scholarly publishing, commented on UPNE’s closing in a tweet on April 19.

“We were surprised and saddened to hear the news about @UPNEBooks planned closure, but stand ready to work with Dartmouth and Brandeis as they chart a new course for their respective presses,” read the tweet.

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