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April 11, 2012

Alan Harvey to direct Stanford University Press

Alan Harvey is an expert in evolving digital and print-on-demand delivery of books. He will lead Stanford University Press through a period of industry-wide upheaval when he takes the reins July 1.

By Cynthia Haven

Alan Harvey has overseen changes that have made Stanford University Press one of the most innovative. (L.A. Cicero / Stanford News Service)

Alan Harvey has helped make Stanford University Press one of the most innovative in academic publishing. Now he's stepping into the shoes of Geoffrey Burn to head the enterprise.

Harvey, the press' deputy director and editor-in-chief, has been named as the new director, effective July 1. To smooth the transition, Burn will support Harvey as deputy editor for the next 12 months. He will also continue as acquisitions editor for the Stanford Security Studies series of publications, which he founded and plans to expand.

Harvey, who arrived at the press in 2002, has worked closely with Burn to implement structural changes that have put Stanford University Press at the leading edge of publishing in the small, beleaguered world of academic presses.

Harvey noted that in the last decade, the press' revenue has grown by more than 27 percent at a time when growth in the academic press marketplace has been minimal.

"We're producing more books and are generating more revenue, with fewer staff," said Harvey. Publishing research-driven books for the professions and for students, the press has opened its lists to the social sciences, business and law, in addition to its traditional markets in academia.

At the same time, he said, "We are able to publish more humanities books now than we did 10 years ago – and the list grows every year. But we've realigned it as a proportion of what we do."

Harvey credits Burn for the vision that transformed the press: "The concept of redefining the press' subject coverage – really the core of what we do – is entirely Geoffrey's. He was also able to implement sound business practices that have ensured our growth has been sustainable."

"We've been working in lockstep for the last 10 years," said Harvey, adding that he expects the transition will be a smooth one in a turbulent time, as the publishing world continues to adapt to changes that have been under way for the past five years.

Michael Keller, the publisher of the press and the head of Stanford's library system, praised Burn's legacy at the press, which publishes about 165 titles a year. "Geoffrey Burn's stewardship of the press has clarified and dramatically improved the focus and especially the quality of its publishing programs," said Keller. "His attention to the business arrangements in all aspects of the press has proven to be salutary. And, most important, he has recruited excellent editors – most prominently among them Alan Harvey."

Harvey came to the press after 14 years at Cambridge University Press, for which he founded and managed the West Coast office. He was also responsible for the editorial management of its North American science program.

Harvey has a deep understanding of evolving digital and print-on-demand delivery. This, coupled with a solid appreciation of the revolution currently under way in research methods and multimedia learning, gives him a thorough grounding in the new information ecology.

Over the past five years, he has used this knowledge to develop a sophisticated multi-platform publishing strategy for the press, underpinning it with a state-of-the-art information technology infrastructure and production workflow that has improved both operational efficiency and the quality of Stanford University Press' publications.

As a result, the press now sells these systems to other scholarly publishers.

Harvey also has been a frequent speaker to academics and librarians on the 21st-century publishing landscape. For four years, he was chair of the electronic publishing committee of the Association of American University Presses.

Burn assumed leadership of Stanford University Press in 2000, following 20 years as chief executive of publishing companies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Four years ago he created the Stanford Security Studies imprint. He has commissioned more than 60 books on military transformation, weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, intelligence studies, Asian security, civil-military relations and international relations.

About the Stanford University Press

Founded in 1925, Stanford University Press publishes about 165 books per year.

About two-thirds are scholarly monographs and textbooks in the humanities and the social sciences, notably history, literature, philosophy, religion, Asian studies, Middle East studies, politics, sociology, anthropology and education.

The remaining third are textbooks, professional reference works and monographs in law, business, economics, security studies and public policy. Tenure monographs account for about 20 percent of the press' scholarly output, and translations account for about 12 percent. Stanford University Press titles are available on a range of digital platforms, including the Kindle, Apple's iBooks, Nook and Kobo. E-books are also available directly from the Stanford University Press website. Readers may purchase and download PDF editions, rent e-books and receive special bundle discounts.

Cynthia Haven writes for the Stanford University Libraries.



Alan Harvey, Stanford University Press: (650) 723-6375,

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