Oxford University Press has a rich history which can be traced back to the earliest days of printing.
The first book was printed in Oxford in 1478, just two years after Caxton set up the first printing press in England. The University was involved with several printers in Oxford over the next century, although there was no formal university press.
In 1586 the University of Oxford's right to print books was recognized in a decree from the Star Chamber. This was enhanced in the Great Charter secured by Archbishop Laud from King Charles I, which entitled the University to print 'all manner of books'.
Delegates were first appointed by the University to oversee this process in 1633. Minutes of their deliberations are recorded dating back to 1668. The structure of Oxford University Press (OUP) as it exists today began to develop in a recognizable form from that time.
The University also established its right to print the King James Authorized Version of the Bible in the seventeenth century. This Bible Privilege formed the basis of OUP's publishing activities throughout the next two centuries.
From the late 1800s OUP began to expand significantly, opening the first overseas OUP office in New York in 1896. Other international branches followed, including Canada (1904), Australia (1908), India (1912), Southern Africa (1914).
Today OUP has offices in 50 countries, and is the largest university press in the world.
They have an incredibly diverse publishing programme, which often surprises people who are expecting a traditional university press offering.
They publish in many countries, in more than 40 languages, and in a variety of formats–print and digital.
Their products cover an extremely broad academic and educational spectrum, and they aim to make their content available to their users in whichever format suits them best.
They publish for all audiences–from pre-school to secondary level schoolchildren; students to academics; general readers to researchers; individuals to institutions.
As a department of the University of Oxford their worldwide publishing furthers the University's objectives of excellence in scholarship, research, and education. Their main criteria when evaluating a new title for publication are its quality and whether it supports those aims of furthering education and disseminating knowledge.
They currently publish more than 6,000 titles a year worldwide, in a variety of formats.
Their range includes dictionaries, English language teaching materials, children's books, journals, scholarly monographs, printed music, higher education textbooks, and schoolbooks.
Many of these titles are created specifically for local markets and are published by their regional publishing branches. They sell more than 110 million units each year, and most of those sales are outside the UK.
Their publications regularly win prizes and awards at national and international level.
They also look beyond traditional publishing to develop new ways of supporting their customers. Just a few examples include:
-offering support to teachers
-delivering digital learning and assessment platforms
-creating online research tools, such as Oxford Bibliographies Online, that enable students and researchers to find relevant content quickly and easily
-providing freely available digital language resources
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