The Association of American University Presses acknowledges the benefits of the Authors Guild’s Fair Contract Initiative and encourages the Guild’s efforts to educate its members about contract issues. However, the AAUP believes that in both tone and substance the Guild’s August 13th comments regarding university presses reflect an inaccurate understanding of university press publishing and its evolving role in the scholarly communications ecosystem. The competitive, adversarial Publisher-versus-Author model implied by the recent Authors Guild statement is not reflected in the mission or the actions of university presses. AAUP members publish an extraordinarily large number of first-time authors; education about publishing contracts, copyright, and its exercise is part of our daily business. University presses and their authors are primarily concerned with the widest possible dissemination of scholarship, and contractual practices reflect that shared goal. University presses are partners in collaboration with the academy’s researchers (our authors), librarians, scholarly associations, and other stakeholders. While there can be no one-size-fits-all-solution to the issue of copyright assignment or licensing, these stakeholders work together to identify solutions designed to support their institutions and serve scholarship.
The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) 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.