AAUP Receives Grant to Explore new Discovery-and-Delivery Platform for Scholarly Books

October 13, 2015 (New York, NY) — The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has received a planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the exploration of a university press platform for discovery and delivery of longform scholarship.

With the working name UPScope, the discovery and delivery platform would be based on the model of AcademyScope, the innovative content visualization and discovery interface developed by the National Academies Press (NAP). Using the unique “Related Engine” search algorithm, AcademyScope surfaces the deep web of connections between NAP publications, breaking down disciplinary silos and creating new paths linking scholarship.

“Viewing AcademyScope for the first time was revelatory,” said Peter Berkery, AAUP Executive Director. “What if we could provide that kind of intellectual access to the greater corpus of knowledge embedded in scholarly monographs? And what if that point of discovery was also a doorway for readers and researchers to access the content in a direct and easy way?”

With the assistance of this 6-month, $166,000 planning grant, AAUP will explore the applicability of the NAP technology to longform scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, and develop a business model for a transformative delivery platform for AAUP member-published content. By creating a single location where university press books may be discovered, browsed, sampled, read, and purchased or accessed in a range of formats, the envisioned UPScope platform will offer an attractive and unique resource for scholars. By deploying the Related Engine algorithm to significantly enhance existing search functions, the platform will offer readers and researchers deeper and broader perspectives on the connections between scholarly works.

Berkery will lead the project, with the assistance of UPScope Project Manager Ellen W. Faran (recently retired director of the MIT Press), a business planning consultant, an executive advisory council, and a technology advisory council. During the planning project, AAUP will investigate business models and develop a business plan for UPScope; create technical specifications for a web-based platform; and develop a full proposal for implementation.

About AAUP

The Association of American University Presses is an organization of 140 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, AAUP advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds integrity, diversity, stewardship, and intellectual freedom as core values. AAUP members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, the arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.

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