Introduction to the Journals Section

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STEVE COHN, DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS

The AAUP Business Handbook >> Part Five: Journals


According to the 1992-1993 AAUP Directory, more than half the members of the Association of American University Presses produce at least one periodical, and journals form a major part of the publishing program of many member presses. But for a variety of reasons journals publishing has tended to be low on the priorities list of most university press administrators, and financial officers are no exception.

A journal is not just a book by another means. Journals publishing differs from book publishing in many ways, most of which have to do with its regular rhythms and the publisher's long-lasting relationships both with the journal's creators and backers and with the journal's purchasers and readers. (As journals people have been heard to say, "A journal is more like a marriage; a book is more like a one-night stand.")

Not only the operations of journals publishing, but also the financial arrangements that surround those operations are quite different from those of book publishing. (That is why, for example, the AAUP journals managers have had to design their own annual statistical survey separate from the "AAUP statistics," which were set up to fit book publishing.) If a business manager is to work effectively with those people, in the press and outside it, who work on the editing and publishing of journals, then the business manager must under stand these differences and accept them, not fight against them by trying to fit the journals operation into a preconceived framework based on knowledge of book publishing and its financial arrangements. And this is true whether the press publishes one journal as an incidental operation or a hundred journals as a major division of the press. Those of us in university presses who work primarily with journals do want to educate university press business managers in our ways of thinking (and we are also very aware that we have much to learn in return from our financial officers). That's the purpose of this section of the handbook, as we see it. It has been created through a collaborative effort between journals managers, with the advice and consultation of those business managers who are knowledgeable about journals publishing.

More and more, journals and book people alike are recognizing the need for collaboration between the two publishing operations. Like siblings everywhere, we do feel rivalry at times. But in these tough times, if we don't help each other stay afloat, most likely we will all sink. So talk to us, please. But we hope you will read and think through this section of the handbook first. That will save us all a good deal of frustration.


The AAUP Business Handbook >> Part Five: Journals

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