Luc Sels: 'Leuven University Press and KU Leuven share the same challenges.'

Leuven University Press and KU Leuven operate in a world subject to the same forces. We share the same challenges. Whether it concerns internationalisation, digitalisation, sustainability, interdisciplinarity, or the future of education. In a rapidly changing world, it is important to be ready and to change course in time. 

Luc Sels, Rector of KU Leuven since August 2017

Luc Sels

Academic publishing underwent significant changes over the last 50 years. Which ones do you find most striking or significant?

Leuven University Press may have been founded half a century ago, its primary task is still the same and remains just as topical: to offer high-quality academic titles in the human and social sciences.

Of course, much has changed in the book trade over the past 50 years. The fact that Leuven University Press is and continues to be a relevant actor in 2021 is partly thanks to its unwavering commitment to its core principles: peer review, for instance, continues to vouch for high quality publications. This firmness of principle ought not to be mistaken for rigidity. On the contrary. In recent years, LUP has succeeded in quickly detecting trends and responding to new challenges. I am thinking in the first place of internationalisation. The books of Leuven University Press find their way to an international audience thanks to a global distribution network. Conversely, many international authors find their way to Leuven University Press.

Internationalisation is unstoppable, as is digitalisation. This trend, too, was quickly adopted. Leuven University Press, for instance, makes use of major digital platforms such as JSTOR, Project MUSE, ProQuest, Google Scholar and Amazon. Over the years, ebooks have seen the light of day: they are a fitting answer to the demand for a more sustainable approach. 

Leuven University Press also has its finger on the pulse of our society, with titles in topical areas such as gender and diversity.

What is your experience with Open Access publishing, either as an author or as a reader? Do you identify obvious benefits or perhaps also opportunities for future development?

That Leuven University Press is genuinely committed to disseminating scientific knowledge and supporting scientific research is demonstrated by its many efforts in the field of Open Access. The KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access finances researchers who want to publish an OA book with Leuven University Press.

How do you expect academic publishing to evolve over the next 50 years?

Leuven University Press and KU Leuven operate in a world subject to the same forces. We share the same challenges. Whether it concerns internationalisation, digitalisation, sustainability, interdisciplinarity, or the future of education. In a rapidly changing world, it is important to be ready and to change course in time. Leuven University Press has proven to be very adept at this over the past 50 years. That is reason enough to have faith in the future.


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