The first and only time anyone ranked academic publishers
A few days ago, Huffington Post College did up one of their snazzy photo gallery polls for — get this — the best academic publishers! You’d think that HuffPo College was trying to find its own U.S. News Top Colleges and Grad Schools list or Princeton Review’s Most Drunken Schools list with its incessant bombardment of photo polls. HuffPo probably should’ve just stuck to the celebs-in-school slideshows, but I guess there’s only so many times you can point out that Hermione Granger is going to Brown–although I guess talking about James Franco going to Yale English is ever interesting and fascinating, right?
Anyway, HuffPo College must be scraping the bottom of the marketability barrel by compiling the 17 “Most Innovative” academic presses. When you skim through the story, two obvious thoughts come to mind: There are actually 17 academic presses that are still publishing these days and how is one of the top academic presses NOT Duke UP, which, for my money, comes out with the most interesting and best looking academicky books. When you include 17 U Presses on the list, you’ll obviously get (most of) the best and most obvious picks like UC Press, U Minnesota Press, NYU Press. But others are big name picks that aren’t exactly cutting edge both in terms of selection and design; I’m thinking of one of the industry’s standard bearers, Oxford UP, while Yale and Chicago have never really done it for me personally. And then there are the smaller UP’s that I never knew existed, like Kansas and Colorado.
Maybe Duke UP boycotted the rankings out of some kind of moral stand, like how Stanford sat out of the US News ratings and, coincidence or not, subsequently dropped in the poll. Oh yeah, maybe MIT Press sat out the rankings too, since it definitely covers very timely techie-fuzzy topics and its books look really awesome. Our new home team–the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press–didn’t chart either, but wait ’til next year when our online offerings are up-and-running!
What’s next, the HuffPo College list of best esoteric journal titles? Maybe we can beat them to the punch on that one, and make it Post Academic’s trademark rankings dealie.