Tag Archives: Edward Elgar Publishing

Paying for Nature

September 8, 2016

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snowy-treeIn the past many of the ways in which we benefit from the natural world have been overlooked. The law has traditionally taken into account only those benefits based on physical possession of land or on tangible produce which has a commercial value, such as timber. Other concerns, such as fresh air, clear water and the state of biodiversity, have therefore fallen outside the law’s regard. Colin Reid explores the issue.

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Me and my Job: Tim Williams

August 31, 2016

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me-my-jobTim Williams, Managing  Director at Edward Elgar Publishing explains how providing a top quality service to authors, hard work and enthusiasm are key ingredients for a career in independent academic publishing.


1. What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?

I am the Managing Director of Edward Elgar Publishing, an academic publisher based in the UK and US. We employ 70 people and publish books and journals across the social sciences, management and law.

2. What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?

I joined Edward Elgar Publishing, which is our family business, eight years ago as the Law Publisher and took over running the business with my brother-in-law Alex on Edward and Sandy Elgar’s retirement a few years later.

I originally studied physics at university and started my working life in consumer marketing and business development. From there I moved to a consulting firm working with various media and retail clients before finally joining the publishing industry with Lexis Nexis.

3. What does your average working day entail?

My day starts at 8 to 8.30am with a 5 minute cycle to work at our Regency offices in the centre of Cheltenham. We are very fortunate in having beautiful offices here, in Camberley and in Massachusetts in the US. Each day is very varied, often I’m working with colleagues, helping with urgent day to day queries or discussing the key projects we have underway. Increasingly my time is spent on the digital publishing side where we are about to launch a new mobile platform and are also developing sales models to broaden access to our book titles. I also spend time reviewing proposals or contracts from business partners.  At least once a month I attend customer conferences, visit libraries or authors, often with our international sales team or local partners in Europe, Asia, North America or the Middle East.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Receiving feedback from authors and customers saying how nice Elgar staff have been to work with and how professional and responsive they are. This is something the large commercial publishers will never be able to replicate and is the foundation upon which we’ve built the company. It gives me faith in our future as an independent publisher.

5. What achievements are you most proud of?

The transition we made to digital publishing a few years ago. It is now a central part of our business but at the time it affected every department and I was immensely proud of how colleagues took to the challenge. At a time of rapid change in the industry it is great to know that we have such a talented and committed team.

6. What are your biggest challenges?

Digital business models are changing the academic book publishing industry, providing incentives for many publishers to increase their scale and commission ever more books whilst reducing the level of editing and marketing.

As an independent with an eye to building a reputation for quality over the long-term, Edward Elgar Publishing’s strategy is exactly the opposite, to increase the quality bar every year through our investment in thorough peer review and a high quality production service.

One of our biggest challenges is communicating this successfully to potential authors. Reputations and the prestige of academic imprints are often built over generations and whilst we celebrate 30 years of independent publishing in September, this still makes us a relative baby among academic peers.

7. What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?

Publishing is a remarkably congenial and open industry compared to other sectors I’ve worked in. Even direct competitors are happy to share their experiences and give friendly advice. The IPG has done a wonderful job contributing to this environment.

8. What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher? (And if you have previously worked for a larger company, how does your current job compare?)

So much, I’m not sure where to start – often a more collegiate approach, fewer meetings, no pointless power point slides, more doers than managers, good long term decisions, anyone at any level can make an impact, jobs are less siloed and more fluid, greater sense of a shared interest, departments are more joined up, and there are definitely better cakes.

9. How do you switch off from your work?

Three small children provide plenty of welcome distraction!

10. What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?

It may sound obvious but it is important to tailor your CV to the company and the role; highlighting your love of journalism writing or children’s books makes us worry that we are a third choice employer. Academic publishing may not have been your passion at school, but for those of us already here it is a fascinating industry to work in.

Once you’re in, take time to really master your first role, try to understand how your tasks affect other departments and ultimately the author’s experience. Good processes are the life blood of publishing and proactively working to improve how things are done across departments will really make you stand out. Ultimately, hard work and enthusiasm will shine through.


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Me and My Job: Tim Williams originally appeared on the Independent Publishers Guild Blog

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Reforming public administration in Europe requires a good grasp of nuances

August 25, 2016

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lights-cityscapeToo different? Europe’s bureaucracies defy uniform approaches to reform, writes Gerhard Hammerschmid.

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European Patent Litigation in the Shadow of the Unified Patent Court

August 11, 2016

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judge_EUstarsA New Beginning for the European Patent System

By Luke McDonagh.

Until recently, only scant data were publicly available on the subject of patent litigation in EU member states, and as a result it was difficult to accurately examine how prevalent patent litigation was from state to state, how costly it was and how significant the divergences were between the various systems. However, in recent years a number of major studies – based on analysis of carefully gathered empirical patent case data – have been published. These studies have shed new light on the subject of patent litigation in EU member states, particularly in the major jurisdictions of the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, where the vast majority of European patent ligation takes place. […]

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Secrecy, Whistleblowing and the Time for Cultural Change

August 10, 2016

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whistleThe decision by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to not seek prosecution of Hilary Clinton for using a private email server to store and send thousands of sensitive documents does not come at a surprise. In fact, it is the same old story. In public organisations across the globe, politicians and senior officials are likely to receive a very different response to their subordinate officials if they mishandle documents. Ashley Savage explains.

Over in the United Kingdom, July saw the release of the long awaited Iraq Inquiry report. The third and the longest of the three inquiries into the war promised extensive critique of executive action and inaction and it delivered. One of the first aspects that the outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron chose to highlight in a statement to MPs was the need to provide a culture where officials could challenge official policy “without fear or favour”. All three inquiries contained testimony from public officials who had attempted to raise concerns internally without success, or as in the case of Katherine Gun, had risked criminal prosecution to go public with the information that GCHQ were involved in the electronic surveillance of UN member states considering whether or not to vote for a second UN resolution in support of military action.

Since the launch of the inquiry in 2006 and its final publication on 16 July 2016 many may question whether the criticisms of culture and practices in government departments still hold weight today. After all, the UK government had considerable time to digest the findings of both the 2003 Hutton Inquiry report and the 2006 Butler Review and to implement reform. Governments have come and gone and there is a likelihood that with the passage of time, inevitable departures of staff, rebranding and reorganisation that the cultures and internal process will be somewhat different to as they were in the run up to the Iraq war. We cannot know for certain if things have changed. However, it was perhaps telling that as the media hastily attempted a post-mortem (without the benefit of time to digest the 2.6 million word report) those ‘in the know’ were quick to go on the record to make clear how much things had changed from the Blair era.

What we can say for certain is that officials who work for the Security and Intelligence Services and for the Armed Forces are still exempt from the UK’s whistleblowing law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, even if they use available official channels. Moreover, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament appear reluctant to report on how effective these official mechanisms are in handling concerns. The Official Secrets Act 1989, the law which protects against the unauthorised disclosure of official information remains a relic of the Cold War, drafted at a time where leaks were inevitably paper-based and were most often disseminated to journalists in brown envelopes rather than via the online disclosure outlets and international consortia that we are more likely to encounter today.

We have to question whether officials will feel empowered to engage in frank and open discussion without being protected if they suffer reprisals for doing so.

Most importantly, Cameron’s desire for a culture of openness is still required to take place against a backdrop where secrecy is paramount. Effectively this requires the maintenance of a ‘world within a world’ or what I term in my forthcoming book as an “intramural community.” A place where in return for agreeing to a restriction on freedom of expression and a set of community specific legal obligations and values, employees have access to clear and effective whistleblowing mechanisms and to employment protection if things go wrong. This may appear to some as a utopian ideal, the reality is that if we are to learn the lessons from Chilcott and the inquiries that came before it we must seek to engage in long overdue reform. The starting point is the Official Secrets Act 1989. My research found that the sections contained within the Act are overly broad and the evidential requirements too easy to satisfy. Using freedom of information requests, I obtained data which identifies that the Act has resulted in few successful prosecutions. The Act does not allow for assessment of the public interest value in any disclosure, nor does it provide a codified public interest defence. It is therefore open to challenge on art.10 (the right to Freedom of Expression) grounds, particularly as Strasbourg has made clear that art.10 can protect whistleblowers including those working in public service and the security and intelligence services. In my view, it is not clear under the current legislative regime whether employees working in the services would be able to directly raise concerns with members of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) without technically breaching the Act and it is even less clear whether they would or could do anything about those concerns. A brief mention in the Committee’s recent Privacy and Security Inquiry report suggests that there does not appear to be the appetite to change this.

If the Committee are not prepared to receive whistleblowing concerns they need to at least be more open to assessing whether the current whistleblowing arrangements for agency staff are working effectively.

Providing access to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) for staff working in the agencies would also be a substantial improvement. This would not open the floodgates to unauthorised leaking. On the contrary, the Act does not protect whistleblowers who break the law in raising their concern. PIDA is far from perfect. It only provides ‘post detriment’ or ‘post dismissal’ protection meaning that a whistleblower has to wait until something bad has happened before they can lodge a claim with the Employment Tribunal. Another difficulty, and something which I attempt to fully explore in my book is that PIDA is unlikely to protect concerns raised about the content of government policies unless the whistleblower can argue that these fall within one of the protected disclosure categories, most likely a risk to health and safety or a breach of a legal obligation. There are possible alternatives to reform, for example, by providing specific legislation tailored to the agencies and by using staff employment codes and policies to offer protection from disciplinary action for those who raise genuine concerns and disciplinary action for individuals who mistreat whistleblowers.

Ultimately, across government departments the culture of secrecy must be addressed as a whole which bring us back to the example of Hilary Clinton, regardless of the rights and wrongs in her case it provides an acknowledgement that if we are to strive for a more democratically accountable executive we must reassess how official information is governed, how we respond to mishandling of documents at all levels and, most importantly, how we treat officials who see no option but to blow the whistle because their concerns have not been listened to.


Savage Leaks
Leaks, Whistleblowing and the Public Interest

The Law of Unauthorised Disclosures
Ashley Savage, University of Liverpool, UK

Read chapter 1 free on Elgaronline

 

 

 

 

 

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