The mission of the Association of University Presses reflects the common mission of our member publishers: to cultivate knowledge around the world through the dissemination of vetted works of scholarship and to ensure academic excellence through high professional and editorial standards. One of our community’s founding tenets was famously articulated by Daniel Coit Gilman on the establishment of Johns Hopkins University Press: “It is one of the noblest duties of a university to advance knowledge, and to diffuse it not merely among those who can attend the daily lectures—but far and wide.” The promise of open access to scholarly works, that a lack of financial resources or institutional standing will not prevent the dissemination of knowledge to any individual anywhere in the world, is fully in line with that mission.
Many of our member presses have established open access programs with journals, books, or other types of online publications. Experiments with funding models, platforms, workflow innovations, distribution networks, and discovery of open access scholarship are ongoing and growing, and our community freely shares experiences and results from these initiatives with colleagues throughout the scholarly communications ecosystem. As with any idea or publishing model, the Association measures support for any particular open access initiative against our core values of intellectual freedom, diversity, integrity, and stewardship.
We weigh terms, requirements, and outcomes of any project or policy against the effects on the intellectual freedom of authors and communities that may be the subject of research, as well as readers. We look to the diversity of voices who are able to take part in the scholarly conversation as well as to the diversity of readers reached by any dissemination platform. We look to the integrity of the scholarly record as it is preserved, translated, and credited. And we look to build robust systems of scholarly publishing—stewarding the resources of institutions, supporting the labor of scholarly communications, and respecting the work of researchers throughout the cycle of scholarship.
The Association will continue to monitor developments in open access policies, platforms, and programs. The members of our Association hold a range of views, institutional commitments, and resource capacity in regards to open access models and projects. AUPresses will create resources, pursue partnerships, respond to policymaking, and hold open conversations that further this important and evolving idea in scholarly communications in order to inform and support our members.
October 2019, The Association of University Presses Board of Directors