29th May 2020
Shelly Turner, Manchester University Press
The main purpose of Manchester University Press is to disseminate research and share ideas. In 2018 we launched two new digital platforms, www.manchesterhive.com and www.manchesteropenhive.com which enabled us to extend our global reach and provide users and customers with access to all our content on one site.
www.manchesterhive.com provides researchers and students with instant access to Manchester University Press’s digital content of over 1,600 books and journals across the humanities and social sciences. It includes 12 unique digital collections, all of which are updated annually to ensure that they include the most recent research and content from MUP. We have also recently launched a digital textbook programme offering institutional access to 93 of our core textbooks via manchesterhive by the end of June, 2020.
The early take up and experimentation with various Open Access models has led us to be one of the biggest open access book publishers of all University Presses, with over 200 open access books hosted on our dedicated open access platform www.manchesteropenhive.com
Our new platforms enables us to be more responsive to customers, and to better understand our users’ needs. We were able to react very quickly to the closure of many university, college and other teaching and research institution libraries due to COVID-19.
Our response included the following offers and initiatives to support institutions and students who are transitioning to remote teaching and studying while their libraries remain closed, with limited or no access to print materials.
Graced access to our 12 eBook collections
We opened up access to our 12 eBook collections https://www.manchesterhive.com/page/collections that cover a number of history, humanities and social science disciplines free of charge for 90 days from 1st March until 30th June to enable instant access to over 1100 digital books and journal articles to assist with remote study and online exams.
We received a very positive reaction with requests from over 180 university libraries to date resulting in our content being freely available to many thousands of students, with MUP scholarship finding readers in institutions that are new to us. Since the start of this initiative, usage of the content has doubled every month and we anticipate it will grow at an even faster pace as the need for remote access to content continues and more and more universities develop initiatives to deliver teaching via online courses.
Access to all MUP content via the UoM Library
An extended collaboration between MUP and the UoM Library, makes all content hosted on our manchesterhive platform available to all staff and students. All staff and students registered at the UoM can access all our content of over 1600 books and journals instantly to assist in their teaching and studying whether on campus or remotely.
Custom collections and Evidence Based Acquisition (EBA)
Due to the flexible nature of our platform we are able to create custom collections for institutions and libraries, enabling our customers to pick and choose from 1,600 books and journals to create a collection that specifically suits their needs and budget.
We have also recently developed an EBA offer as a cost-effective way for our customers to evaluate and acquire content that meets the needs of all those studying, researching or teaching based on usage. Access is granted to all 1600+ titles on manchesterhive for 12 months for an upfront payment and at the end of 12 months the library can use the payment to purchase a number of books on a perpetual access basis up to the payment value.
Traditionally, our course/text books have been purchased in print by students and institutions to fulfil course reading and studying objectives. In order to support the expansion of online teaching, and overcome supply issues for print copies we quickly developed a Digital Textbook programme which will allow us to offer most of our textbooks (including Beginning Theory, The craft of writing in sociology, The history of emotions and The houses of history, to mention a few) in digital format via our platform on an institutional/library subscription basis. Libraries can purchase a license to the digital version direct from MUP for a 12 month period so lecturers and students can enjoy uninterrupted access. We have been tracking course adoptions for a number of years now, which has allowed us to gather comprehensive data on usage. This has enabled us to refine and prioritise the release of our digital textbook programme to ensure availability for the start of the new academic year for our most popular books.
There are currently 28 books available on our site with the remaining 65 available by the end of June. See https://www.manchesterhive.com/page/manchester-digital-textbooks for further details.
Extending access via Library Suppliers
In order to extend access to our digital resources to as many libraries as possible we have opted into initiatives offered by our digital library supply partners such as Ebsco and Proquest who are offering our mutual customers temporary extended access and free upgrades to our content. This will ensure as many customers as possible can access our digital content at no additional charges during this period.
Academic trade books
2020 saw the re-launch of our trade programme. With the unprecedented changes to the market, our sales model has flipped on its head, with the significant drop in library print sales. Through creative use of online marketing and e-marketing at virtual conferences we’ve managed to weather the storm with healthy print sales, one book – Me, not you – selling out its entire print run during the lockdown. See https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/armchair-events/ for details of one of our innovative marketing approaches, Manchester Armchair Events.
The drivers behind all MUP initiatives are that they facilitate wider, more flexible, access to our content, through faster and more efficient means to support the changing needs of our customers.
These views are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKSG.