The University Press of New England, headquartered in Lebanon, is shutting down at the end of the year.
Dartmouth College is one of just two remaining member institutions in the nearly 50-year-old publishing consortium. As membership has dwindled, the operation has become unsustainable, said Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon in a statement published on the school’s website.
As a regional collaboration, UPNE is an outlier in the world of university publishing, said Peter Berkery, executive director of the Association of University Presses. The majority of academic presses are connected to single institutions.
Dartmouth is now potentially looking to take that independent route itself.
A group of faculty members will present recommendations in the fall, but already the school’s administration is suggesting a shift in the way it would like to approach its publishing operations. “The closing of UPNE presents us with the opportunity to envision a 21st-century press,” Interim Provost David Kotz said in the college’s post. “Changing trends in scholarly and digital publishing require us to move carefully and consider how Dartmouth can best position itself in this crowded and dynamic environment.”
When it comes to cost, university presses are typically not profit-making endeavors, Berkery said. Most are supported to some degree by their host institution. “If Dartmouth is going to continue to honor its commitment to scholarly communications, that’s not a break-even proposition,” he said.