FAQ

OPuS was founded in 1997 to bring together the publishing community of Oxford and its surroundings, to mix, mingle and debate the current issues in the industry.

Now, OPuS has over 2000 members and represents over 20 publishing and related companies. OPuS hosts a diverse range of publishing events every year with expert speakers from both inside and outside the industry. It sets out to present all aspects of the publishing industry, so those attending events can look at activity outside their own area of work – to understand the complex ecology of contemporary publishing.

What does being a member of OPuS mean?

OPuS is a membership organisation. Membership is either by company/organisation, or for individuals. When a company or organisation joins, all its employees become members of OPuS.

Can I join OPuS as an individual?

Yes, you can. The current individual rate is £30. But, if you work in a company or organisation, it’s better value for you and your employer for the company/organisation to join. Contact the OPuS secretary, Penny Perrins for information about company/organisation membership

Who can come to OPuS events?

Anyone who works for a company or organisation that is a member of OPuS, or individual members of the Society can attend events free of charge.

Non-members are welcome to attend to get a feel for the quality of OPuS events, before (we hope) joining. The standard entry fee for non-members is £10.

What about companies in the ‘publishing services’ sector: can they join OPuS?

Members already include design and packaging companies, digital service outfits, training organisations, and legal firms: so the answer is Yes.

I work in the publishing department of an organisation. My department has 15 staff: the main organisation has over 1,000 employees. Do we join at the 15 or 1000-person rate?

We would accept your organisation as a member at the 15 employee rate.

I am in the editorial department of an educational publisher for the UK market. What can OPuS do for my career development?

Your employer should provide focussed sector-specific training for you: OPuS can provide a view of the wider industry you work in, so you can look over the walls of the silo you work in. And some topics, like the regular session on developments in copyright and Intellectual Property law, have a very wide application. And, of course, OPuS events are a great opportunity to meet others working in the industry in the Oxford area, and widen your social contacts.

I don't work in Oxford. Can I still join OPuS?

Yes, we’re quite flexible over “the publishing community of Oxford”. We have members based in Cambridge, Thame, Wallingford and Swindon.

How is OPuS run?

There is an AGM held in May, where the Chair and Committee is elected. Any individual can put themselves forward for election, with a proposer and a seconder. Although there is no direct allocation of Committee members to companies in membership, we do try to make sure that the major companies or organisations are represented on the Committee. We also try to ensure that there is an OPuS Rep in each member company but this does depend on people putting themselves forward for the role.

I would like to be the OPuS Rep in my company. What should I do?

Contact the OPuS Committee, we will be delighted to tell you what is involved. The key function is to help promote OPuS events within your company, encourage attendance, and suggest topics of interest for future events.

What does ‘being a member’ entitle me to?

You can come to all general OPuS events at no charge (see events for a listing of current and past events). You can come to any special events where there may be a cover charge (like the International party held in the winter). And, you can join the OPuS Committee and help shape the future of the Society and the events programme.

What sort of topics do you cover in OPuS events?

We aim to cover a broad range of subjects based on current topics in the industry and responses from membership surveys. Recent topics have been as diverse as Open Access, Discoverability, ELT Publishing, Branding, Developments in Copyright Law, the role of content aggregators, and Tablets and eReaders.

Does that mean you don't deal with traditional print publishing?

Not at all, but OPuS tries to reflect changes in the industry with topics on digital and online advances. However, we have also had live authors like Phillip Pullman, Colin Dexter, Joanna Trollope, and Michael Frayn; an event built round PR guru Max Clifford; or sessions on career planning or international publishing. We always plan to have at least one event in the year that is not high-tech.

How are OPuS events organised?

Events begin with informal drinks and networking (usually 60mins), and is followed by the scheduled talk (usually 90mins). Most events have two or three speakers – experts in their field – who speak for 20-30 minutes each. Some events are more like a debate. There is always plenty of time for questions.

How formal are the events? They sound like formal lectures, a bit like being back at college or Uni.

We have knowledgeable speakers so the events are informative but also fairly informal. Speakers treat their topic thoroughly with visual aids where appropriate. We frequently invite two or three speakers with different views on a topic or different areas of experience. And one event in the year – in the summer – brings an author and their editor together in a conversation about the creative relationship. We have had authors from many parts of the publishing industry, and these events feel more like a session at a literary festival.

How often do you hold these events?

Roughly every two months, usually between 6.30 and 9.00 on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Check our forthcoming events calendar for details for individual events.

Where do you hold events?

Mostly in Oxford Brookes University, either in the Main Lecture Theatre or in a meeting room in the Buckley Building on the main Gipsy Lane campus. Some events are on the Headington Hall campus, either in the Willow lecture room, or in Headington Hill Hall. Check out our forthcoming events page for details for individual events.

I’ve got an idea for an OPuS event. What should I do?

Email the secretary with your ideas, or contact any of the Committee. We are always looking for suggestions from members for topics they would like covered, so you don’t need to put forward a detailed plan.

What is the role of Oxford Brookes University in OPuS?

The Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (OICPS) at Oxford Brookes University is a member of OPuS, and there are currently three staff members on the Committee. Brookes also provides venues for OPuS meetings, and all students (undergraduate and postgrad) are members of OPuS so can attend all events. The students provide an endlessly refreshed source of enthusiastic curiosity about the industry.

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