About 16,000 books are published annually in the Czech Republic. Per capita, this places this country (along with the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Spain, and Norway) among European “reading superpowers”. Two thousand titles are published by Czech academic publishers every year, half of which comes under Brno-based universities.
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic and an important university hub: five major public universities have their seats here, four of them maintaining their own academic publishing houses. The largest one is Masaryk University Press.
Tradition going back to early 1920s
With over three hundred professional and popular-educational books and fifty academic journals per year, Masaryk University Press (member of AEUP since 2014) is comparable with the oldest Czech academic publisher, Carolinum (Charles University, Prague).
Since its founding, Masaryk University has been focusing on publishing professional literature and textbooks. “Several editions of ours, such as Opera Facultatis Philosophicae Universitatis Masarykianae Brunensis, have a tradition going back to early 1920s,” says Alena Mizerová, Masaryk University Press director. However, all academic publishing halted with the World War II and our licence to publish books was not restored until 1964.
Celebrates its 10th anniversary
For some time after the Velvet revolution (1989), our university was primarily focusing on producing textbooks, but it soon became clear that one of the major tasks of a university is to spread knowledge beyond its own academic community. Therefore, the original editorial department was transformed into a proper academic publishing house at the turn of the new millennium and so Masaryk University Press celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Besides the cooperation with university faculties and their own editorial centres (which are currently releasing most of the university’s book production), the university press maintains an editorial plan of its own. It is focused on popular books that make knowledge available to the public. It also brings important works of world academic literature in Czech translations.
First Czech university to sign the Berlin Declaration
Like other publishers, Masaryk University Press is facing changes that have affected all academic publishing worldwide. Masaryk University was the first Czech university that signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in Sciences and Humanities in 2010, acknowledging the need for global dissemination of Open Access to research results. That is why it makes a part of its production publicly available through its newly-opened Munispace online reading platform. The Government of the Czech Republic approved the National Strategy for Open Access to Scientific Information in June 2017. This trend of making academic outputs more accessible is expected to evolve and our academic publishers are ready.
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