May 20, 2022

New Report: "Sustaining Scholarly Publishing: New Business Models for University Presses"

“Sustaining Scholarly Publishing: New Business Models for University Presses” was published by the Association of American University Presses.

From the AAUP Web Site:

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.

From the News Release (PDF):

“Sustaining Scholarly Publishing” explores many current scholarly publishing experiments and initiatives, defines characteristics of effective business models and the challenges of transitioning from a traditional sales-based model, and presents several recommendations for sustaining high-quality scholarly publishing throughout this time of change. The AAUP report was prepared by the Task Force on Economic Models for Scholarly Publishing, chaired by Lynne Withey, now-retired director of the University of California Press.


Among the report’s recommendations:

• Active and open sharing of lessons learned by participants in existing digital publishing projects should be an ongoing process.

• The support of foundations, libraries, and university administrations in providing funds to work toward the digital future has been, and will remain, crucial.

• Open access is a principle to be embraced, if publishing costs can be supported by the larger scholarly enterprise. University presses, and nonprofit publishers generally, should be fully engaged in these discussions.

• Proposals and plans for new business models should explicitly address the potential impact of the new model on other parts of a press’s programs, as well as explicitly address the requirements, both operational and financial, for making the transition to a new model.

Access the Complete Report (32 pages; PDF)

See Also: Commentary from Publishing Expert/Consultant Joe Esposito (via The Scholarly Kitchen)

In my view, the presses would do well to consider why SAGE, the American Chemical Society, Wolters Kluwer, and Elsevier thrive — not to mention Oxford University Press. Have the presses simply been outsmarted over the years? What have the presses learned from this? Or will they simply be bested yet again by other organizations as scholarly publishing continues to evolve?

See Also: “University Presses Are Urged to Work Together to Survive”
by Jennifer Howard, The Chronicle of Higher Education

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.