Woodrow Wilson Center Press Celebrates 20 Years of Scholarly Publishing

Jul 18, 2007

WASHINGTON—On July 11, 1987, the Woodrow Wilson Center Press published its first book: The Search for Peace and Unity in the Sudan, edited by Francis Mading Deng and Prosser Gifford. Today, twenty years and around 180 books later, the Press continues to play an important and valuable role at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, by presenting outstanding research and analysis to excellent editorial and production standards for a worldwide readership.

Woodrow Wilson Center Press titles satisfy a variety of niches, ranging from popular accounts of historical topics to fundamental reviews of scholarly fields. Under the leadership of Joseph Brinley, who has been director of the Press since 1994, and the dedication of his small staff, which includes Yamile Kahn as editor, Pamela Moore, and Erin Mosely, the Press manages to consistently fulfill the mission of the Center, putting out books that serve as authoritative texts on the most important policy issues of the day, both domestic and international.

"The Press is a vital component of the Wilson Center, and an extraordinary contributor to the marketplace of ideas," said president and director Lee H. Hamilton. "To review its publications is to marvel at the breadth of the subject matter, the quality of the writing and editing, and the attractiveness of the presentation. This is a testament to the remarkable leadership of Joe Brinley and his team, and the terrific collection of scholars and writers they have published."

"We are delighted at the Press to mark this anniversary," Joseph Brinley added. "The Woodrow Wilson Center, where book writing is a central activity, is a wonderful place for us to serve as publishers."

The Woodrow Wilson Center Press publishes only books developed through the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. What this often means is that each of its books has grown directly out of research and writing conducted at the Center, either by scholars in residence or staff members, or else proceeds from some program activity such as a workshop or a major conference.

The Press is responsible for assuring the scholarly and editorial quality of its books and for designing and printing them. The most significant quality control is in the hands of the Center's publishing committee, a group of senior staff members who decide whether to publish each title. Their decisions rely on the advice of a network of peer reviewers—experts throughout the world, many drawn from among the Center's friends and alumni, who read manuscripts for the Press and comment on them. It is an academically rigorous process, one that ensures the ultimate quality of Wilson Center publications and maintains the Press's reputation as being a purveyor of serious, reliable, and authoritative books.

Interestingly, the Press directly manages only this first part of publication, relying on a group of co-publishing presses to handle the rest. It typically partners with major university presses, especially those of Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University, and for occasional books those of University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University, the University of California, and others. These partners use their expertise to announce new books to particular audiences in the scholarly, policy, and general book-reading communities and to place the books themselves in all the appropriate venues for sale, treating the Woodrow Wilson Center's books just as their own. The Press's use of co-publishers allows its very small staff to publish effectively in many different subjects and to the varied audiences the Center serves.

For more information about the Woodrow Wilson Center Press, or to search its backlist of titles, please visit Woodrow Wilson Center Press.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and world affairs.