Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press logo.svg
Parent companyUniversity of Cambridge
Founded1534; 486 years ago (1534)
FounderKing Henry VIII of England
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationCambridge, England
Ingram Content Group (US fulfillment)
DHL Supply Chain (UK fulfillment)[1]
Key peopleStephen Toope, Peter Phillips
Nonfiction topicsHumanities; Social Sciences; Science; Medicine; Engineering and Technology; English Language Teaching and Learning; Education; Bibles
Revenue£327 million (2019)
No. of employees2,835; 57 per cent are outside the UK
Logo on the front cover of "The Victorian Age by William Ralph Inge" used by Cambridge University Press.

Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the oldest university press in the world.[2][3][4][5] It is also the Queen's Printer.[6]

Cambridge University Press is a department of the University of Cambridge and is both an academic and educational publisher. With a global sales presence, publishing hubs, and offices in more than 40 countries, it publishes over 50,000 titles by authors from over 100 countries. Its publishing includes more than 380 academic journals, monographs, reference works, school and university textbooks, and English language teaching and learning publications. It also publishes Bibles, runs a bookshop in Cambridge, sells through Amazon, and has small conference venues business in Cambridge, with facilities at the Pitt Building and the Sir Geoffrey Cass Sports and Social Centre. Being part of the University of Cambridge gives the Press a non-profit status for most of its activities, thereby not having to pay corporation tax. Cambridge University Press transfers a minimum of 30% of any annual surplus back to the University of Cambridge[7].


Cambridge University Press head office in Cambridge

Cambridge University Press is the oldest university press in the world. It originated from letters patent granted to the University of Cambridge by Henry VIII in 1534. Cambridge is one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). Authors published by Cambridge have included John Milton, William Harvey, Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking, Dr Stephen Stahl, and the Press's own Kevin Taylor and David McKitterick.[8]

University printing began in Cambridge when the first practicing University Printer, Thomas Thomas, set up a printing house in 1584.[4] In July 1697 the Duke of Somerset made a loan of £200 to the university "towards the printing house and press" and James Halman, Registrary of the University, lent £100 for the same purpose.[9]

The press began using steam-powered machine presses by the 1850s. It was in this period that the Press turned down what later became the Oxford English Dictionary – a proposal for which was brought to Cambridge by James Murray before he turned to Oxford.[8]

In 1975 the Press launched its English language teaching publishing business.[10] In 1981 the Press built a new purpose-built building named The Edinburgh Building with its adjoining warehouse to accommodate the Press's expansion. This site was sold to Cambridge Assessment in 2015 for the construction of The Triangle Building.

In 1986 the Press acquired the long-established Bible and prayer book publisher Eyre & Spottiswoode, which gave the Press the ancient and unique title of 'The Queen's Printer'.[11]

In 1992 the Press opened a bookshop at 1 Trinity Street. It the oldest known bookshop site in Britain.[12] In 2008 the shop expanded into 27 Market Hill where its specialist Education and English Language Teaching shop opened the following year. The Press bookshop showcases Press books as well as selling a wide selection of gifts, including mugs, diaries, bags, postcards, maps, and other Cambridge souvenirs.[13]

In 2012 the Press sold its unprofitable printing operation to MPG Books Group[14]. MPG went into administration in 2013 due to delays and cost overruns associated with the facility MPG set up for Cambridge University Press[15]. The Press now uses third parties around the world to provide all of its print publications.

Relationship with the University of Cambridge[]

The Pitt Building in Cambridge, which used to be the headquarters of Cambridge University Press, is now a conference venue

The Press has, since 1698, been governed by the Press 'Syndics' (originally known as the 'Curators'),[16] 18 senior members of the University of Cambridge who, along with other non-executive directors, bring a range of subject and business expertise.[17] The Chair of the Syndicate is currently Professor Stephen Toope (Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge). The Syndicate has delegated its powers to a Press & Assessment Board, which has an Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee and Nominations Committee (all shared with Cambridge Assessment); and to an Academic Publishing Committee and an English Language Teaching & Education Publishing Committee.[18]

The Press & Assessment Board is chaired by the chief financial officer of the University of Cambridge, is responsible for setting overarching strategic direction, agreeing major investment decisions, as well as maximising value and impact through better alignment of Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press with each other and with the academic University.[18]

The two Publishing Committees provide quality assurance and formal approval of the publishing strategy.[18]

The operational responsibility of the Press is delegated by the Syndics to the Secretary of the Syndicate and Chief Executive, currently Peter Phillips.

The Secretary of the Syndicate is typically made a Fellow of Wolfson College in Cambridge, and a number of current and former senior managers of the Press are Fellows and Senior Members of Wolfson College.[19][20]

Organisational structure[]

Cambridge University Press comprises three publishing groups and a shared services group. These are:

Academic Publishing[]

This group publishes research books and journals in science, technology, medicine, humanities, and the social sciences.[21] It also publishes advanced learning materials and reference content as well as 380 journals. The group also publishes Bibles, and the Press is one of only two publishers entitled to publish the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Version of the Bible in England.[22]

English Language Teaching[]

ELT publishes English language teaching courses and resources for all ages around the world.[21]


The Education group delivers educational products, services and software for primary, secondary and international schools. It collaborates with Cambridge Assessment and the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education to help countries such as Kazakhstan and Oman to improve their education systems.

Shared Services[]

Shared services functions are separate from the three publishing groups and includes Customer Services, Finance, Technology, Operations and Supply Chain, HR and Legal.

Partnerships and acquisitions[]

Digital developments[]

Cambridge University Press sign at the Cambridge HQ

Since 2011, Cambridge University Press (CUP) has been pursuing a multi-year project to invest in its IT systems, adopting SAP. In January 2013, the finance and procurement model of SAP was implemented. Since then, the sales and distribution model of SAP has been implemented through a series of multi-year projects. These projects seek to transform the Press's back-office systems, processes and customer relations. Cambridge University Press works closely with IT services firm Tech Mahindra on the SAP implementation, as well as on projects around the integration and maintenance of internal systems. The company also works in other parts of its IT architecture with Cognizant and Wipro.[26][27]

In 2016, Cambridge Books Online and Cambridge Journals Online were replaced by Cambridge Core which provided significantly enhanced interfaces and upgraded navigation capabilities, as well as article-level and chapter-level content selection.[28] A year after Cambridge Core went live, the Press launched Cambridge Core Share, functionality to allow users to generate and share links with free access to selected journal articles, an early sign of the Press's commitment to open research.[29]


Alms for Jihad[]

In 2007, controversy arose over the Press's decision to destroy all remaining copies of its 2006 book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, by Burr and Collins, as part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz.[30] Within hours, Alms for Jihad became one of the 100 most sought after titles on and eBay in the United States. The Press sent a letter to libraries asking them to remove copies from circulation. The Press subsequently sent out copies of an "errata" sheet for the book.

The American Library Association issued a recommendation to libraries still holding Alms for Jihad: "Given the intense interest in the book, and the desire of readers to learn about the controversy first hand, we recommend that U.S. libraries keep the book available for their users." The publisher's decision did not have the support of the book's authors and was criticized by some who claimed it was incompatible with freedom of speech and with freedom of the press and that it indicated that English libel laws were excessively strict.[31][32] In a New York Times Book Review (7 October 2007), United States Congressman Frank R. Wolf described Cambridge's settlement as "basically a book burning".[33] The Press pointed out that, at that time, it had already sold most of its copies of the book.

The Press defended its actions, saying it had acted responsibly and that it is a global publisher with a duty to observe the laws of many different countries.[34]

Cambridge University Press v. Patton[]

In this case, originally filed in 2008, final judgment pending, CUP et al. accused Georgia State University of infringement of copyright.[35]

China crisis[]

On 18 August 2017, following an "instruction" from a Chinese import agency, Cambridge University Press used the functionality that had been built into Cambridge Core to temporarily delete 315 politically sensitive articles from the China Quarterly on its Chinese website, without having the consent of the China Quarterly. The articles focused on topics China regards as taboo, including the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, Chairman Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong's fight for democracy and ethnic tensions in Xinjiang and Tibet.[36][37][38][39]

On 21 August 2017, in the face of growing international protests, after meetings between CUP and the ors of The China Quarterly, and after review by the academic leadership of the University of Cambridge, the Press announced it would immediately repost the articles to uphold the principle of academic freedom on which the University's work is founded.[40][41]

Before this controversy, in 2012, the University of Cambridge had received £3.7 million from the daughter of the former Premier of China Wen Jiabao. The donation was used to create the Chong Hua Chair in Chinese Development Studies, whose inaugural appointee was her former professor at Cambridge, Peter Nolan.[42][43][44]

Community work[]

Cambridge University Press's stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018

The Press undertakes substantial community engagement with the local community and around the world where there are Press employees. In 2016, some of the Press's community works included its continued support to Westchester Community College in New York, the installation of hygienic facilities in an Indonesian rural school, raising funds to rehabilitate earthquake-stricken schools in Nepal and guiding students from Coleridge Community College, Cambridge in a CV workshop. On World Book Day 2016, the Press held a digital Shakespeare publishing workshop for students and their teachers. Similarly, their Indian office conducted a workshop for teachers and students in 17 schools in Delhi to learn the whole process of book publishing. The Press donated more than 75,000 books in 2016.[45] Annually, the Press selects their UK Charity of the Year, which has included local charities Centre 33 (2016 and 2017), Rowan Humberstone (2018) and Castle School (2019).

An apprenticeship program for people interested in careers in publishing was established in 2016 after being tested for over two years.[46]


The Press monitors its emissions annually, has converted to energy-saving equipment, minimizes plastic use and ensures that their paper is sourced ethically.[47] In 2019, the World Wildlife Fund awarded its highest score to the Press of Three Trees, based on the Press's timber purchasing policy, performance statement and its responsible sourcing of timber.[48] The Press works hard to minimise the number of books that are sent for pulping each year, due to either being misprinted or now longer in demand.

Open access[]

Cambridge University Press has stated its support for a sustainable transition to open access.[49] It offers a range of open access publishing options under the heading of Cambridge Open, allowing authors to comply with the Gold Open Access and Green Open Access requirements of major research funders. It publishes Gold Open Access journals and books and works with publishing partners such as learned societies to develop Open Access for different communities. It supports Green Open Access (also called Green archiving) across its journals and monographs, allowing authors to deposit content in institutional and subject-specific repositories. It also supports sharing on commercial sharing sites through its Cambridge Core Share service.

In recent years it has entered into several Read & Publish Open Access agreements with university libraries and consortia in several countries, including a landmark agreement with the University of California.[50][51] In its 2019 Annual Report, Cambridge University Press stated that it saw such agreements "as an important stepping stone in the transition to Open Access."[52]

In 2019, the Press joined with the University of Cambridge's research and teaching departments to give a unified response to Plan S, which calls for all publications resulting from publicly-funded research to be published in compliant open access journals or platforms from 2020. The response emphasized Cambridge's commitment to an open access goal which works effectively for all academic disciplines, is financially sustainable for institutions and high-quality peer review, and which leads to an orderly transition.[53]

The Press is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association and the International Association of STM Publishers.


In 2019, the Press released a new concept in scholarly publishing through Cambridge Elements where authors whose works are either too short to be printed as a book or too long to qualify as a journal article can have them published within 12 weeks.[54]



  1. ^ "Cambridge announces tenth successive year of growth". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Oldest printing and publishing house". 22 January 2002. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  3. ^ Black, Michael (1984). Cambridge University Press, 1583–1984. pp. 328–9. ISBN 978-0-521-66497-4.
  4. ^ a b "A Brief History of the Press". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  5. ^ "About Oxford University Press". OUP Academic. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  6. ^ "The Queen's Printer's Patent". Cambridge UNiversity Press. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  7. ^ "University of Cambridge Financial Statements" (PDF).
  8. ^ a b Black, Michael (2000). Cambridge University Press, 1584–1984. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66497-4.
  9. ^ The Cambridge University Press 1696—1712 (CUP, 1966), p. 78
  10. ^ "Timeline". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  11. ^ Black, Michael; Black, Michael H. (28 March 2000). A Short History of Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-77572-4.
  12. ^ "History of the Bookshop". Cambridge University Press Bookshop. 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Our Bookshop". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Cambridge University Press ends printing after 400 years | The Bookseller". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  15. ^ "£10m shortfall for MPG Printgroup | The Bookseller". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  16. ^ McKitterick, David (1998). A History of Cambridge University Press, Volume 2: Scholarship and Commerce, 1698–1872. Cambridge University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-521-30802-1.
  17. ^ "Statutes J – The University Press" (PDF). University of Cambridge. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  18. ^ a b c "The Press Syndicate". Cambridge University Press.
  19. ^ "Wolfson College Cambridge: People". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  20. ^ "Wolfson College Senior Members list". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  21. ^ a b Black, Michael (2000). A Short History of Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-0-521-77572-4.
  22. ^ "The Queen's Printers Patent". Cambridge University Press Website. Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Edmodo and Cambridge University Press Form Strategic Content and Technology Partnership". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  24. ^ "Cambridge Assessment Annual Report 2018-19" (PDF).
  25. ^ "EDUCATE Ventures and Cambridge University Press enter partnership to deliver major study on home learning during pandemic". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  26. ^ "CIO interview: Mark Maddocks, Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  27. ^ India, Press Trust of (29 January 2014). "Tech Mahindra deploys SAP sol for Cambridge University Press". Business Standard India. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  28. ^ Launching Cambridge Core, retrieved 25 July 2019
  29. ^ Sharing Platform Includes Content Usage Records, retrieved 25 July 2019
  30. ^ Steyn, Mark (6 August 2007). "One Way Multiculturalism". The New York Sun. Ronald Weintraub. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  31. ^ Richardson, Anna (3 August 2007). "Bonus Books criticises CUP". Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  32. ^ Jaschick, Scott (16 August 2007). "A University Press stands up – and wins". Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  33. ^ Danadio, Rachel (7 October 2007). "Libel Without Borders". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  34. ^ Taylor, Kevin (9 August 2007). "Why CUP acted responsibly". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  35. ^ Hafner, Katie (16 April 2008). "Publishers Sue Georgia State on Digital Reading Matter". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  36. ^ "《中國季刊》:對中國刪300多篇文章深表關注". 18 August 2017 – via
  37. ^ "Cambridge University Press statement regarding content in The China Quarterly". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  38. ^ Millward, James A. (19 August 2017). "Open Letter to Cambridge University Press about its censorship of the China Quarterly". Medium. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  39. ^ Phillips, Tom (20 August 2017). "Cambridge University Press censorship 'exposes Xi Jinping's authoritarian shift'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  40. ^ Kennedy, Maev; Phillips, Tom (21 August 2017). "Cambridge University Press backs down over China censorship". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  41. ^ "Cambridge University Press reverses China censorship move". BBC News. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  42. ^ "Mystery of Cambridge University's £3.7 million Chinese benefactors". The Telegraph. 30 January 2012.
  43. ^ "Cambridge University under fresh scrutiny over Chinese government-linked donation". The Telegraph. 8 October 2014.
  44. ^ "劍橋大學曾收溫家寶家族基金會巨額捐款 - 即時新聞 - 20170819 - 蘋果日報".
  45. ^ Annual Report for the year ended 30 April 2016 (PDF), retrieved 25 July 2019
  46. ^ Annual Report for the year ended 30 April 2017 (PDF), retrieved 25 July 2019
  47. ^ Annual Report for the year ended 30 April 2018, retrieved 25 July 2019
  48. ^ WWF Timber Scorecard 2019, retrieved 25 July 2019
  49. ^ Open Research, retrieved 26 July 2019
  50. ^ UC and Cambridge University Press Agree to Open Access Publishing Deal, retrieved 26 July 2019
  51. ^ Post-Elsevier breakup, new publishing agreement 'a win for everyone', retrieved 26 July 2019
  52. ^ Annual Report 2019, Cambridge University Press, retrieved 26 July 2019
  53. ^ Cambridge Submission to cOAlition S Consultation on Plan S (PDF), retrieved 26 July 2019
  54. ^ Annual Report for the year ended 30 April 2016 (PDF), retrieved 25 July 2019


  • Anonymous; The Student's Guide to the University of Cambridge. Third Edition, Revised and Partly Re-written; Deighton Bell, 1874 (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009; ISBN 978-1-108-00491-6)
  • Anonymous; War Record of the Cambridge University Press 1914–1919; Cambridge University Press, 1920; (reissued by Cambridge University Press, 2009; ISBN 978-1-108-00294-3)
  • A History of Cambridge University Press, Volume 1: Printing and the Book Trade in Cambridge, 1534–1698; McKitterick, David; 1992; ISBN 978-0-521-30801-4
  • A History of Cambridge University Press, Volume 2: Scholarship and Commerce, 1698–1872; McKitterick, David; 1998; ISBN 978-0-521-30802-1
  • A History of Cambridge University Press, Volume 3: New Worlds for Learning, 1873–1972; McKitterick, David; 1998; ISBN 978-0-521-30803-8
  • A Short History of Cambridge University Press; Black, Michael; 2000; ISBN 978-0-521-77572-4
  • Cambridge University Press 1584–1984; Black, Michael, Foreword by Gordon Johnson; 2000; ISBN 978-0-521-66497-4, Hardback ISBN 978-0-521-26473-0

External links[]

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Cambridge University Press

Coordinates: 52°11′18″N 0°07′55″E / 52.1882°N 0.1320°E / 52.1882; 0.1320