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AAUP Statement on Open Access

Contact: Brenna McLaughlin
212-989-1010 x24, bmclaughlin@aaupnet.org

Nonprofit Scholarly Publishers Call for Exploration of Open Access
Models to Improve Scholarly Communications

NEW YORK (February 27, 2007) - Discussions of the concept of open access to scholarly information are increasingly marked by highly charged rhetoric and an unfortunate polarization of opinion. The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) released a statement today outlining the association's perspective on what has become known as open access, and hopes to help steer the debate towards productive solutions that will best serve the entire scholarly community.

Read the complete statement online at:

Until quite recently, the debate has centered on one type of scholarly literature, scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journal articles, and one particular definition, entirely free-to-user, of "open access." AAUP believes that the conversation should expand to address the different creation and distribution needs of scholarly literature in all fields and formats, including monographs, and to consider a variety of models for providing open access-all of which entail risks and benefits to the entire system of scholarly communications that are not yet fully understood.

Knowledge carries costs for its production, and requires-in addition to the scholar's own work-knowledgeable editorial selection and careful vetting, and-regardless of a final digital or print format-quality in copyediting, design, production, and distribution. Many universities and scholarly societies have made significant investments in their presses and in the professional expertise of publishing staffs in order to support the spread of knowledge worldwide. Changing the system of scholarly communications requires us to take careful stock of the costs of doing so-not just for presses, but for parent universities, scholarly societies and their members, and all other universities and research institutions that benefit from the distribution of scholarship.

The AAUP recognizes that non-profit scholarly publishers have an obligation to confront the economic, legal, technological, and philosophical challenges to the existing system. Indeed, while proud of their past achievements, university presses and scholarly societies have never been averse to change. Being embedded in the culture of higher education that values experimentation and advances in knowledge, presses have been open to new ways of facilitating scholarly communications. Many AAUP members have begun experimenting with varieties of open access that seek to balance the mission of scholarly exchange with its costs. The AAUP and its member presses welcome the opportunity to participate with all willing partners to expand and strengthen scholarly communications, to serve our mission and to improve the system for all.

The complete statement is online at: http://aaupnet.org/aboutup/issues/oa/statement.pdf

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) is a membership organization representing 112 not-for-profit scholarly publishers in the United States and an additional 15 international scholarly publishers. These publishers are affiliated with research universities, scholarly societies, foundations, museums, and other research institutions. The mission of AAUP members is to serve an effective and creative system of scholarly communications and advance the knowledge of all peoples through their publications. The AAUP assists our members' fulfillment of this mission through services and advocacy.


Brenna McLaughlin
Communications Manager
Association of American University Presses
71 West 23rd Street, 901
New York, NY 10010
212-989-1010, x24
212-989-0275 fax