Steve Ball

Associate Lecturer in Publishing

Staff Photograph
Staff Photograph

Steve (seated right) groovin’ on down with Counterfret at Woodstock Live 2007

Personal Profile

Academic and professional history

1967-1971 Undergraduate engineering studies, Hatfield Polytechnic (now University of Hertfordshire); undergraduate engineering apprenticeship, Hawker Siddeley (also National Certificate in Engineering and EITB Certificate). In 2012 made Associate of University of Hertfordshire

1976-1979 Philosophy/Psychology, then Philosophy, at University of Exeter; BA Hons Philosophy, 1979

1979-1981 Postgraduate study in philosophy (MPhil then PhD registration), University College London

2004 Associate Teacher’s Accreditation, Oxford Brookes University

Academic prizes

1968-9 Polytechnic Prize (best student, first year engineering), Hatfield Polytechnic

1976-7 Exeter University Philosophy Prize

1977-8 Exeter University Philosophy Prize

Teaching appointments

2004- Senior Lecturer, Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, Oxford Brookes University

1994-2004 Associate Lecturer in Publishing (module tutor on undergraduate and postgraduate editorial modules, and evening and day course teaching), Oxford Brookes University

Summer 1999 Visiting lecturer, MA course, Dept Filologia, Divisió de Ciències Humanes i Socials, University of Barcelona

Other teaching and training work

2007, January: teaching publishing short course at University College Cork

1991-2005 Designing and delivering bespoke training courses for publishers on editorial subjects and language usage

1999-2004 Tutor, Oxford School of Massage

1995-2004 Tutor, copy-editing distance learning course, Publishing Training Centre

1990-1992 Adult education teacher in philosophy, University of Oxford Department of Continuing Education / WEA

1984-1987 Adult education teacher in philosophy, Exeter University Extra-Mural Department / WEA, in Devon

Publishing career history

1987- Independent contractor for a wide range of UK publishing clients - editorial consultancy and commissioning; academic, technical and general editing services; editorial project management; freelance and contract writing; writing and editing of distance learning material; DTP and print buying.

1984-1987 Basil Blackwell Ltd, Oxford: Senior Desk Editor in Humanities and Social Sciences, and Associate Commissioning Editor for environment, geography, agriculture and forestry lists.

1970s-1984 Editor of social sciences, humanities, technical and trade titles for a range of UK publishers; also freelance editor and/or proofreader for OUP, CUP, Blackwell, Macmillan, etc.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Publishing Principles (U65000, level 4), module leader.
  • Publishing Research (U65033, level 5), module leader.
  • Publishing Major Project (U65090/99, level 6), module leader
  • Publishing List Development (U65082, level 6), module leader.

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Editorial Management (P65022), module tutor
  • MA Independent Study (P65030), programme leader for Journals Certificate students
  • Journals Publishing (P65037), module leader
  • Programme leader for the postgraduate Certificate in Journals Publishing.


Steve researches journals publishing and scholarly communication, academic publishing, the interplay between publishing and politics, issues in academic publishing such as quality, cost and change, and all editorial functions.

  • Journals publishing, scholarly communication and alternative models of dissemination.
  • Academic publishing in general, including ethical and access issues, and new technology.
  • The publishing of politics (and the politics of publishing).
  • All editorial topics, including commissioning and list building; management; intervention and decision-making: legal and other editorial issues: editing in academic and SSH and STM journal environments.


Executive Editor, The Political Quarterly (also Company Secretary, 2005-2013, The Political Quarterly Publishing Co Ltd)

Membership of Professional Bodies

Founder member (from 1989), Society for Editors and Proofreaders

Member, Political Studies Association

Member, Media and Politics group, PSA

Member of MECCSA and other media groups

Member of SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Readership and Publishing)

Books and other publications

Inside Journal Publishing (Oxford: Routledge, forthcoming, 2014).

(Ed. and Introduction), Defending Politics: Bernard Crick at The Political Quarterly (PQ/Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).

The Complete Guide to Writing your Dissertation (Oxford: HowTo Books, March 2012).

The Care of Photographic Materials and Related Media: Guidelines on the Care, Handling, Storage and Display of Photography, Film, Magnetic and Digital Media (London: Museums and Galleries Commission, 1998). With contributions by S. Clarke, P. Winsor.

Larger and Working Objects: A Guide to their Preservation and Care (London: Museums and Galleries Commission, 1997).


Susan Christopherson and Stephen Ball, ‘Media Services: Considerations Relevant to Multilateral Trade Negotiations’, Trade in Services: Sectoral Issues. UNCTAD/ITP/26. (New York: United Nations, 1989), pp. 249-308.

‘Domestic life in the classical period’, ch. 1 of The Domestic World, a volume in the Time-Life ‘History of the World’ series (Time-Life Books UK, 1991).

Journal Articles

‘A Synoptic Outcome Survey of the Quantitative Accrual of Opinion Tokens in Western Democratic Polities’, The Political Quarterly, vol. 79, no. 4, 2008, pp. 604-11. [Under the pseudonym 'Jeremy L. B. Evets': a parody of political and academic writing to launch the Bernard Crick Prize for Political Writing.]

‘Viruses: from curiosity to computer armageddon, and back?’, Learned Publishing, vol. 8, no. 4, October 1995.

‘Publish and you may be damned’, Sunday Correspondent, 3 June 1990, p. 20. [On intellectual property, in the ‘Meanings’ series]

Reference Articles

‘Creating a website’, feature article for Hutchinson Multimedia Encyclopaedia, 1999 and subsequently.

‘Quality in a digital age’, feature article for Hutchinson Dictionary of Computing, Multimedia and the Internet (Oxford: Helicon, 1999), pp. 86-87.

Research Dissemination

Presentation on open access to Society of Young Publishers meeting, 12 June 2012.

‘A closer look at the politics of open access’, paper presented to the annual conference of the Political Studies Association, London, April 2011.

‘Publishing politics’, paper presented to the annual conference of the Political Studies Association, University of Manchester, April 2009.

‘The demise of the Citizen’, paper (on the failure of the UK radical newspaper the Sunday Citizen in 1967), presented at the PSA Media in Politics Group conference, UEA, Norwich, November 2008.

‘Stand up for quality’, Public Lecture (on quality in academic and educational publishing) delivered at Oxford Town Hall on 24 September 2008, sponsored by the NUJ and Unite.

‘Professional interference: the rise - and fall? - of editorial intervention in publishing’, paper presented at the annual conference of the Society of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, Oxford Brookes University, 24-27 June 2008.

‘Understanding the democratisation of knowledge’, paper presented to the annual conference of the Political Studies Association, University of Swansea, April 2008.

‘The new politics of the open’, paper presented to the annual conference of the Political Studies Association, University of Reading, April 2006; also shortened form presented to Centre for Democracy Studies, Oxford Brookes University, October 2006.