The Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra gives his address at the launch of the USP Press. Also in picture, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration and Regional Campuses), Dr Esther Williams (closest to camera), Managing Editor of the Press, Mr Jonathan Griffiths and Director of OCACPS, Professor Vilisoni Hereniko (far right).
The new publishing arm of the University of the South Pacific - USP Press - was launched with the release of five new books at the Laucala Campus in Suva on 19 July, 2012.
Two of the books – Ancestry, by Albert Wendt and Mystery Islands by Tom Koppel were winners of the USP Press Prizes awarded last year following an international competition.
USP Press which is housed at the University’s Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies (OCACPS), was formed this year to provide a publishing outlet for authors throughout the Pacific region and to create a publishing base for academic research undertaken at the University.
Speaking at the launch, the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra said he was pleased with the efforts made towards the establishment of the USP Press.
He added that the University felt the need to create a genuine press that would provide a vehicle through which creative and rigorous research and views on public policy would be shared with the rest of the Pacific.
Professor Chandra elaborated that in the new USP Strategic Plan, the University has a very ambitious agenda to support the region in dealing with the major problems in a very focused manner which will synergise the efforts occurring across the University.
The Vice-Chancellor added that he is hoping that the USP Press will be a mechanism for supporting these aspirations and will become a much more active part of the academic community.
As the reputation of the University and its Press depends on the rigor of the quality assurance system, Professor Chandra said he was pleased that USP Press had been setup with a framework that involves rigorous reviews of manuscripts.
In launching the University’s publishing arm, Professor Chandra wished the USP Press a very bright future.
USP Press actively seeks partnerships with other institutions and publishers in a strategy to extend its reach and provide opportunities for content to be published on a broad cross section of topics.
The Managing Editor of the Press, Jonathan Griffiths, believes these relationships will enable USP Press to build a publishing network throughout the world.
“As well as to take advantage of USP’s regional structure to source content, USP Press will look to increase its visibility and distribution reach by encouraging these partnerships,” he said at the launch.
One of the USP Press launch titles is a full colour coffee table book called Hidden Treasures, highlighting key works and artists from the gallery’s collection.
Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, Director of OCACPS, who was instrumental in the formation of USP Press, sees the book as a way to promote the work of local and regional artists.
“This handsome book contains some of the most beautiful paintings by contemporary artists living in Oceania today. We at the Oceania Centre are pleased to be able to publish and make available to the general public the best of these hidden treasures. This book is a ‘must-have’ for anyone interested in contemporary Oceanian art.”
As well as producing printed books, USP Press will also offer a digital catalogue which will enable books to be distributed around the world in various digital formats, a strategy considered key to the success of the USP Press, according to Mr Griffiths.
“By offering books digitally we can publish significantly more content as the costs of production and distribution are reduced. The visibility and viability of any contemporary publisher is enhanced through digital publishing, but for a university publisher the benefits are even greater due to the large amount of valuable content that may otherwise remain unpublished or not distributed due to the economic restrictions.”
“Creating a digital outlet for our content is vital to the growth, success, and credibility of USP Press,” he continued.
The launch was well attended by members of the USP community, dignitaries, media representatives and invited guests.