Oxford University Press

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Oxford University Press (OUP) is the largest university press in the world.[1] It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as OUP's chief executive and as its major representative on other university bodies. Oxford University has used a similar system to oversee the Press since the 17th century.[2]

The university became involved in the print trade around 1480, and grew into a major printer of Bibles, prayer books, and scholarly works.[3] Its Press took on the project which became the Oxford English Dictionary in the late 19th century, and expanded to meet the ever-rising costs of the work.[4] As a result, the last hundred years has seen Oxford publish children's books, school text books, music, journals, the World's Classics series, and a best-selling range of English Language Teaching texts to match its academic and religious titles. Moves into international markets led to the Press opening its own offices outside the United Kingdom, beginning with New York in 1896.[5] With the advent of computer technology and increasingly harsh trading conditions, the Press's printing house at Oxford was closed in 1989, and its former paper mill at Wolvercote was demolished in 2004. By contracting out its printing and binding operations, the modern Press publishes some 6,000 new titles around the world each year, and employs a global workforce that numbers approximately 4,000. As part of a charitable organization, OUP is committed to major financial support of its parent university, and furthers the university's aims of excellence in scholarship, research, and education through its publishing activities.

OUP was first exempted from US Corporation Tax in 1972 and from UK Corporation Tax in 1978. As a department of a charity, OUP is exempt from income tax and corporate tax in most countries, but may pay sales and other commercial taxes on its products. The Press today transfers 30% of its annual surplus to the rest of the University, with a commitment to a minimum transfer of £12 million per annum. OUP is the largest university press in the world by the number of publications, publishing more than 4,500 new books every year and employing some 4,000 people. OUP publishes many reference, professional, and academic works including the Oxford English Dictionary, the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the Oxford World's Classics, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and the Concise Dictionary of National Biography. A number of its most important titles are now available electronically in a package called "Oxford Reference Online", and are offered free to holders of a reader's card from many public libraries in the UK.

Books published by Oxford have International Standard Book Numbers that begin with 0-19, making the Press one of a tiny number of publishers who have two-digit identification numbers in the ISBN system. By internal agreement, the first digit of the individual edition number (following 0-19-) can indicate a particular originating division, for example: 3 for music (before ISMNs were defined); 5 for the New York office; 8 for Clarendon Press publications.

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