March 2011 report from the Association of American University Presses

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) published a report in March titled, “Sustaining Scholarly Publishing: New Economic Models for University Presses.” From the AAUP website:

This report a) identifies elements of the current scholarly publishing systems that are worth protecting and retaining throughout this and future periods of transition; b) explores business models of existing projects which hold promise; c) outlines the characteristics of effective business models; d) addresses the challenges of the transitional period we are entering; and e) arrives at recommendations that might allow us to sustain high-quality scholarship at a time when the fundamental expectations of publishing are changing.

You can read the full text of the report here (PDF).

The authors make five recommendations:

  1. Prevent wasteful duplication of effort and ensure that significant developments are not lost in the clutter.
  2. Existing partnerships should be supported and the development of new ones encouraged.
  3. The role of agencies outside the presses in providing funds to work toward the digital future has  been, and will continue to be, crucial.
  4. The trend toward more open access publishing is clear; but it will not succeed unless sustainable business models can be developed to support it. Nonprofit publishers, especially university presses, should become fully engaged in this discussion with the support of their parent institutions.
  5. Proposals and plans for new business models should explicitly address two issues: the potential impact of the new model on existing parts of the press’s program and the requirements, both operational and financial, for making the transition to the new model. Ideally the consideration of these issues would involve the relevant author community as well as the press, its partners such as libraries or societies, and the funding agency.

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