Sustaining Scholarly Publishing

New Economic Models for University Presses

A Report of the AAUP Task Force on Economic Models for Scholarly Publishing
March 2011

Download the Reporticon.pdf

Within the scholarly communications ecosystem, scholarly publishers are a keystone species. University presses—as well as academic societies, research institutions, and other scholarly publishers—strive to fulfill our mission of "making public the fruits of scholarly research" as effectively as possible within that ecosystem. While that mission has remained constant, in recent years the landscape in which we carry out this mission has altered dramatically.

The expertise residing within university presses can help the scholarly enterprise prosper in both influence and impact as it moves ever more fully digital. However, the simple product-sales models of the twentieth century, devised when information was scarce and expensive, are clearly inappropriate for the twenty-first century scholarly ecosystem.

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.

CommentPress Edition
The full text of the report has also been made open for review and comment through MediaCommons Press. Read and engage with the report online.

Task Force on Economic Models
Lynne Withey, University of California Press, Chair
Steve Cohn, Duke University Press
Ellen Faran, MIT Press
Michael Jensen, National Academies Press
Garrett Kiely, University of Chicago Press
Will Underwood, Kent State University Press
Bruce Wilcox, University of Massachusetts Press
Richard Brown, Georgetown University Press, ex officio
Peter Givler, AAUP, ex officio
Alex Holzman, Temple University Press, ex officio
Kathleen Keane, Johns Hopkins University Press, ex officio

Press Coverage and Commentary
AAUP Media Release

University Presses Are Urged to Work Together to Survive
Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/7/11

The New Economics of the University Press—A Report from the AAUP
Joe Esposito, Scholarly Kitchen, 3/7/11

Towards a Sustainable Digital Future
Dennis Lloyd, The Digital Digest, 3/7/11

New Report on Business Models for Scholarly Publishing
Inside Higher Ed, 3/7/11

First Thoughts on Sustaining Scholarly Publishing
Barbara Fister, LJ Academic Newswire, 3/10/11

Hacking the Academic Press: or Herding Pushmi-Pullyus
Barbara Fister, Library Babel Fish/Inside Higher Ed, 3/10/11

As We May Publish: My reflections on AAUP's Sustaining Scholarly Publishing report
Richard Edwards, MediaCommons, 3/16/11