The past year demanded more of every one of us, in every sector, and university presses were no different. Students and researchers needed quick, remote access to educational and research materials as pandemic lock-downs shuttered classrooms, libraries, and dormitories. Authors and workers needed generous and imaginative approaches to shifted work, school, and care environments and expectations. Communities, near-by and global, needed trustworthy information and analysis on topics ranging from the novel coronavirus and public health, to white supremacy and movements towards justice.
The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) and its members pivoted, adapted, and responded to these needs through a difficult and often grievously painful year. Throughout, university presses maintained and demonstrated the benefits they bring to society, to scholarship, and to the university. Our Value of University Presses statement, last revised in 2019, enumerates these benefits.
The pandemic upended how presses do much of their work, and we know that the continuing work towards equity and justice in our world demands more such changes—but the reasons why we do this work are the rocks we stand on in the turbulent stream of history we live through.
University Presses and Society
1: University Presses make available to the broader public the full range and value of research generated by university faculty and by scholars outside the academy.
2: University Press books, journals, and digital publications present the foundational research and analysis that is drawn upon by policymakers, opinion leaders, nonprofits, journalists, and influential authors.
3: University Presses contribute to the abundance and variety of cultural expression at a time of continuing consolidation in the commercial publishing industry.
4: University Press publications provide deep insight into the widest range of histories and perspectives, giving voice to underrepresented groups and experiences.
5: University Presses make common cause with libraries, booksellers, museums, and other institutions to promote engagement with ideas and expose the public to a diversity of cultures and opinions.
6: University Presses help draw attention to the distinctiveness of local cultures through publication of works on the states and regions where they are based.
7: University Presses seek a wide readership by publishing in formats from print to ebook to audio to online and by making publications available in accessible alternative formats for those with print-related disabilities.
8: University Press translation programs make available to English-language audiences vital works of scholarship and literary importance written in other languages.
9: University Presses rediscover and maintain the availability of works important to scholarship and culture through reprint programs and through revival of key backlist titles, often via open digital editions.
10: University Presses encourage cultural expression by publishing original works of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and the visual arts.
University Presses and Scholarship
11: University Presses, through their rigorous peer review and faculty board approval process, test the validity and soundness of scholarship in order to maintain high standards for academic publication.
12: University Presses add value to scholarly work through careful editorial development; professional copyediting and design; extensive promotion and discoverability efforts; and global distribution networks.
13: University Presses include in their community a wide array of institutions – including scholarly associations, research institutes, government agencies, museums, and international presses – thus representing a diversified research culture.
14: University Presses recognize important fresh perspectives in scholarship by sponsoring work in emerging and interdisciplinary areas that have not yet gained wide attention.
15: University Presses sponsor and develop the work of early-career scholars through publication of their first books, which establish credentials and develop authorial experience.
16: University Presses publish established and start-up scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM disciplines that contribute to a thriving ecosystem of article-based scholarship.
17: University Presses actively promote the translation of works by English-speaking authors into other languages, making their scholarship available to researchers, students, and readers worldwide.
18: University Presses commit to multivolume publishing projects and dynamic digital resources, partnering with librarians, foundations, and other organizations on works of wide scope and enduring importance.
19: University Presses collaborate with learned societies, scholarly associations, and libraries to explore how new technologies can benefit and advance scholarship.
20: University Presses publish books, journal articles, and digital projects used in undergraduate and graduate courses as essential components of well-rounded syllabi and reading lists.
University Presses in the University Community
21: University Presses extend the mission, influence, and brand of their parent institutions, making evident their commitment to knowledge and ideas.
22: University Press publishing programs span the humanities, arts, social sciences, STEM fields, and professional schools, representing the full expanse of university research.
23: University Presses demonstrate their parent institutions’ support of research in essential academic fields – particularly in the humanities and social sciences – that are rarely supported by federal or corporate funding.
24: University Presses extend their parent institutions’ efforts at community engagement and outreach by publishing books of interest to their local communities and to a broader regional readership.
25: University Presses raise the public profile and reputation of their parent institutions by generating positive news coverage and reviews, receiving book awards, and maintaining active social media presences.
26: University Presses play a leading role in experimenting with and developing new platforms for delivering and engaging with scholarship.
27: University Presses partner with campus libraries, digital humanities centers, and other university departments to advance non-traditional initiatives in scholarly communication.
28: University Presses provide distribution and other publishing services to other university units and also act as distributors for independent publishers, ranging from established presses to innovative scholar-led initiatives.
29: University Press staff act as local experts for faculty and administrators, providing guidance on intellectual property, scholarly communication, and the publishing process.
30: University Presses engage in the teaching and learning mission by providing substantive work study, internship, and apprenticeship experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.