New Directions for AAUP

In June 2005, the Association of American University Presses began the process of examining its present services, scholarly communications' likely future, and its' members ongoing needs. A new strategic plan for the association, to insure that the association's goals and programs match the mission and activities of university and scholarly presses, developed. In late 2006, the AAUP Board and the Strategic Planning Committee distributed the approved strategic plan to its members.

The AAUP strategic plan reconfirms the association's mission: to assist its members through professional education, cooperative services, and public advocacy. The association recognizes that the landscape in which this mission is conducted has changed dramatically in recent years. This new landscape includes new technologies that have brought change to every step of the publishing process, new partners—both academic and commercial—who are spearheading new experiments in scholarly communications, and shifting markets for the products of scholarly publishing.

The rapidly changing landscape in which university presses operate, with its wealth of opportunities for innovation, often requires more resources and expertise than any one press can bring to bear. The new strategies the AAUP has outlined are intended to enable its members to seize these new opportunities.

One element of the new strategic plan is to broaden the association membership and strengthen the representation of all members' points of view, concerns, and interests in the governance and general activities of the association. To serve this goal, AAUP will, for example, increase the participation of associate members (presses affiliated with non-degree granting institutions) in association governance.

Professional development is amongst the most valued service of the association, and such development and training is particularly important in this landscape of change and innovation. The AAUP has outlined a number of current and planned education and training programs for staff at presses of all sizes to learn new tasks and new ways of performing old tasks.

In cooperative services, it is clear that there are several areas where already successful association programs can be made yet more valuable. Online components must be developed to complement existing marketing programs such as course-adoption catalogs and cooperative advertising agreements. The development of new marketing services associated with the popular Books for Understanding program is another goal of the plan. The association also intends to explore ways in which presses can cooperate in the electronic delivery of content.

It is a time of innovation—both exciting and uncertain— in scholarly communications; the new strategic plan of the AAUP maps a path for the association and its members to meet and even lead these innovations.