Newsletter No. 83

2 No. 83 4th February 1996 CUHK Newsletter To Publish o r No t t o Publish ? That I s the Questio n From the Director of the Chinese University Press As a n academi c press , th e Chines e University Pres s is acting as an agent for the communication o f scholarly knowledge. As such, our purpose is to advance and diffuse knowledge rathe r than to make a profit. Ye t we mus t operat e withi n th e economi c confines wit h a s much business rigour a s a commercial pres s s o a s t o contai n ou r budgeted deficit t o a minimum. At a lime like this when the world-wide economy i s experiencing a slow-down, it is harder than ever before for a university press to mak e end s meet . Th e budget s i n mos t libraries in North America and Europe have been drasticall y cut , sendin g a warnin g signal t o al l thos e academi c presse s whic h have been operating i n th e same old mod e for the past century. It seem s tha t academi c presse s lik e ourselves ca n n o longe r indulg e i n merel y disseminating knowledg e amon g scholars . We have to expand our horizon by definin g knowledge in broader terms. The Confucian belief o f 'teachin g regardles s o f students ' background' ma y hav e shed light on a new direction fo r academi c presse s whic h ar e seeking a sounde r financia l footing. In the years ahead, we at the Chinese Universit y Pres s plan t o var y th e publicatio n mix b y introducin g mor e professional title s whil e maintaining the same quantity of scholarl y publications . I n the past , ou r scholarl y title s versus our general trade book titles constitut e a one to on e ratio. We shall change the mix to 3:7. In terms of title output, we shal l increas e ou r yearl y production fro m abou t 3 0 titles t o nearl y 5 0 titles , a 6 5 pe r cen t increase, without incurring extra fixed costs. This woul d b e possibl e becaus e th e tim e spent on academic books easily doubles that on genera l books ; an d we als o pla n t o us e freelance cop y editor s t o handl e th e extr a workload. Wit h tha t critica l mas s o f ne w titles, we shall be able to negotiate for better trade terms and distribution facilitation . The Oxford University Press, probably the mos t profitabl e academi c pres s i n th e world, cross-subsidize s it s scholarl y publications with the revenue generated from its lucrativ e referenc e book s an d genera l titles. Th e Harvar d Busines s Schoo l Pres s which devotes itself mainly t o general trade books als o outperform s it s parent , th e Harvard Universit y Press , i n term s o f financial viability . For th e scholarly titles , we shal l insis t on a mor e stringen t qualit y contro l o n a highly selectively basis, and shall seek more collaborative project s wit h renowne d overseas university presses. Our strengths in the Chines e languag e an d ou r connectio n with th e distributio n channel s i n Taiwan , Southeast Asia , an d mainlan d Chin a mak e us a natural partner with overseas academi c presses whic h ar e eyeing th e vas t Chines e markets. W e ma y becom e a dominan t publisher of world-class titles in the Chinese language. This is a major market niche tha t remains t o be filled. For the non-specialist audiences, we are collaborating i n ou r Universit y wit h th e Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Business Administration, an d th e Departmen t o f Journalism an d Communication, a s well as with outsid e organization s suc h a s th e Management Developmen t Centre , Pea t Marwick, and the Boston Consulting Group, to publish serialized titles in education, mass communication, an d busines s administration. By publishin g books in series, we can minimiz e ou r promotiona l effor t an d expenditure, thus making these publications more financiall y viable . Th e pragmati c nature o f thes e professiona l book s als o ensures a bigge r sale s volume . I f w e ar e proven righ t i n ou r expectation , th e ne t revenue from these series should help defray the inevitabl e losse s incurre d b y ou r scholarly publications . Another majo r sourc e o f ou r incom e would come from producing education kit s for utilit y companie s o r governmen t units . We hav e produce d a widel y acclaime d teaching kit on the Airport Core Programme commissioned b y NAPAC , an d ar e i n th e process o f producin g tw o set s o f teachin g kits on energy conservatio n commissione d by Hon g Kon g Electri c an d Chin a Light . There are more in the pipeline . The brave new world of technology also opens u p ne w opportunitie s fo r ou r Pres s which is endowed with a fairly sophisticate d audio-visual productio n unit , capabl e o f producing audio and video titles of a highly professional standard . Whil e w e d o no t expect these audio-visual products to replace their prin t counterparts , the y wil l becom e increasingly popula r with the growing base of multi-medi a hom e computer s an d wit h the impendin g introductio n o f th e digita l videodisc format. Internet is another channel of distributin g th e audio-visual product s i n the future , thoug h th e infrastructure i s stil l in its infancy . We hav e alread y experimente d wit h converting tw o existin g audio-visua l products into the VCD format . We shall do more when the newer DVD format becomes popularized. Our major publications such as China Review an d The Other Hong Kong Report wii l be reproduced in CD-ROM discs which coul d accommodat e al l th e bac k issues i n on e singl e disc , thereb y addin g value t o a n ol d produc t tha t need s revitalization. We are , a s Charle s Dicken s pu t it , i n the best of times an d in th e worst o f times . Publishing in general is experiencing a very difficult year , an d academi c publishin g i s now facin g enormou s financia l pressure . However, technologica l advance s an d new markets oversea s brin g u s hope , an d ar e cause fo r optimism . W e ar e confiden t tha i the Chinese University Pres s will come out of the depressio n in better shape than before. My predecessor s hav e buil t a stron g infrastructure from which to grow, and there is no better time to do so than now when the industry i s at its lowest ebb . Paul S. L. Wong 15 to Receive Long Service Awards Fifteen staf f member s wil l b e honoure d o n 24t h February 199 6 wit h Lon g Servic e Award s b y th e University i n recognition of their 25 years of servic e to the University . Of the 1 5 honorees, six ar e on terms of servic e (A), eight on terms (B), and one on terms (C). The y will receive from the vice-chancellor souvenirs, cash- prizes, an d certificate s acknowledgin g thei r loya l service. Th e awar d presentatio n ceremon y wil l b e held at University Gues t House I . Award Recipients Post and Department/Unit Mr. Cheng Ka-chun Library Assistant I , University Library System Mr. Cheung Man-kwong Boatswain, Dept. of Biology (Marine Science Laboratory) Mr. Chu Ming-tim Clerk-of-Works I, Buildings Office Mr. Joseph Chung Executive Assistant I, Depts. of International Business and Marketing (resigned in May 1995) Prof. David W. Gwilt Professor, Dept. of Music Ms. Louise Ho Shew-wan Lecturer, Dept. of English Prof. Ambrose Y. C. King Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor, Dept. of Sociology Mr. Lam Yick-loi Chinese Secretary, Information and Public Relations Office Mr. Lee Chee-leung Sub-Librarian, University Library System Mr, Lee Tam-tai Workman I, Chung Chi College Mr. Lip Chor-nam Personal Chauffeur, Transport Unit Dr. Victor Mok Reader, Dept. of Economics Mr. Andrew Wong Lecturer, Dept. of Government Wang-fat and Public Administration Mr. Wong Chuk-kwai Senior Artisan, Art Museum Mr. Gilbert Wong Clerk-of-Works I, Buildings Office Academics and Cultural Critics Gather to Discuss Non-Western Modern Cosmopolitanism Over 5 0 academics , cultura l critics , artist s and student s too k par t i n a n internationa l symposium o n cultura l criticis m hel d o n campus from 4th to 6th January. With 'Cultura l Politic s o f Cosmopolitanism: Critiques o f Modernit y i n th e Non-Western Contexts ' a s it s theme , th e symposium wa s organize d b y th e Programme fo r Hon g Kon g Cultura l Studies o f th e Researc h Institut e fo r th e Humanities, an d wa s th e secon d o f it s kind. A tota l of 1 3 papers were delivered b y local cultural critics as well as scholars from USA, UK , Turkey, and Taiwan. Participant s also exchange d view s o n variou s relate d topics suc h a s 'Cultura l formatio n an d critiques o f modernity' , 'Commodit y an d cultural imaginary', and 'Culture, power, and the publics' . Seminar on Sixth Form Physics A semina r focusin g o n resources for enhancing effective learning o f physic s i n the sixt h form wa s hel d o n 6t h Januar y 1996 i n th e Lecture Theatr e o f Ho T i m Building . Jointl y organized b y th e University' s Department o f Curriculum an d Instruction, th e Hon g Kon g Association fo r Scienc e an d Mathematics Education , an d the Mathematics , Scienc e an d Computer Educatio n Uni t o f the Curriculu m Developmen t Institute, th e functio n wa s attended by more than 340 secondary schoo l teachers. There were talks on the curriculum and teachin g o f physic s an d students ' performance i n publi c examinations , an d a demonstration o f a teachin g ki t o n radio - waves. Accounting Students and Teachers Visit Beijing and Shanghai Thirty-two student s an d fou r lecturer s from the School of Accountancy undertoo k a study tou r of Beijing and Shanghai fro m 28th Decembe r 199 5 to 5th January 1996 . In Beijing they visited the Chinese People's University, Qinghu a University , Capita l Steel Company , an d th e Ban k o f China , where the y wer e briefe d o n bankin g reforms in China. I n Shanghai they attende d seminars on China's accounting reform and development arrange d b y th e Shangha i University o f Financ e an d Economics . They als o visited the city's stock exchange and th e Pudon g economi c developmen t zones. The teachers found the trip particularl y fruitful a s the y ha d th e chanc e t o discus s accounting an d tax law issue s with expert s of the Commission on Legislative Affairs of the Standin g Committe e o f th e Nationa l People's Congress . The y als o explore d possibilities o f academi c exchang e an d collaboration wit h thei r counterpart s fro m the universities the y visited . The tou r wa s mad e possibl e wit h th e assistance and sponsorship of the Ne w China News Agency (Hong Kong Branch), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, and Sun Life of Canada, and is expected to generate further academic exchanges i n 1996 .