As its name suggests, SSAP is the go-to publisher in China for scholarly titles in the humanities and social sciences. It is a publishing wing of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, drawing its authors from the academy as well as other top research institutions in the country.
SSAP’s best-known and most widely acclaimed product is the Yearbook series, which provides a comprehensive overview of China’s latest developments in various areas, including mobile internet development, climate change, population and labor, low-carbon economy, real estate, and construction for the Belt and Road initiative. Divided into three categories (with blue books for economy, green for society and the environment, and yellow for international issues and relations), the Yearbook series currently has more than 575 titles, with about 200 published annually. Many have been translated into other languages, including English, Japanese, Korean, and Russian.
Xie Shouguang, the president, says the 32-year-old SSAP is much more than a publishing company. “What we are is a service provider,” Xie says. “We disseminate research information in the humanities and social sciences to readers, and while the majority of our publications are China-specific, our market is truly global.”
Copublishing deals with publishers in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America have certainly given SSAP a global readership. “Our collaboration with Brill, for instance, started in 2006 with the Chinese Research Development series, which is largely based on the Yearbooks,” Xie says. “Then there is Chinese Dream and China’s Development Path, a series that we colaunched with Springer Nature in 2013 and is now on volume 20, and counting.” SSAP also recently registered a branch office in St. Petersburg and is busy selecting titles for translation into Russia.
SSAP’s database division brings in the most revenue. There are five databases, including one on the Yearbook series, one on world nations, and one on the Belt and Road. Offering upwards of 150,000 articles, the databases are subscribed to by more than 3,000 clients, mostly universities, research institutions, and libraries, including the libraries of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale universities.
Then there is the scholarly series, which started in 2012. “This is a hybrid of book and journal,” says Xie, pointing out that there are more than 150 series covering about 20 disciplines. “While the revenues from these publications are negligible, they encapsulate our pursuit for the best in scholarly content and academic research.”