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Britain leads the world in university presses—an unsung corner of intellectual life

By Peter Watson   October 2005

Every year, Shanghai academics publish a league table of the world’s leading universities. The American Ivy League colleges dominate the list, of course.

But there is one important aspect of university life that is still dominated by Britain—the university press. University presses are, broadly speaking, an English-language phenomenon (there is an associated universities press in France, but that is about it). British pre-eminence in this field is remarkable for two reasons: more than 50 per cent of the presses’ revenue is generated in the US, and British university presses dominate the world of science book publishing, even though America channels…

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