Our community has collected sets of testimonials from authors, university stakeholders, and other figures regarding the vital importance of university presses.

2014 University Press Week: Great Minds Don’t Think Alike

I believe university presses are central to the vitality, intellectual rigor, and prestige of research universities.They make it possible to establish ties with numerous other scholars outside one’s own university, and to stay on top of the latest scholarship in the field. Just like librarians, all those who contribute to book publishing are custodians of culture and should be appreciated as such. I have been involved with Syracuse University Press for almost two decades as an author, book series editor, and member of the editorial board, and have benefited enormously from this affiliation.”
—Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Professor and Chair of Political Science Department, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

“University presses are at the heart of research and scholarly communication. They publish research in disciplines that other publishers would avoid or do not understand, and they fashion the tools that enable researchers to do their work. Who else would undertake such immense and complex projects as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography or Oxford Art Online?”
—Dr. Stephen J. Bury, Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian, Frick Art Reference Library, and former Advisory Editor, Benezit

“University presses are too often dismissed as the poor cousins of the more robust commercial publishers. But can there be any question of the immense value and service they provide to all of us, even if many consumers have no idea where their reading matter is coming from? Like academia itself, university presses have long been a guarantor of the preservation and propagation of vitally important intellectual thought in our societies. This reality is even more pronounced in parts of the world that not too long ago suffered under autocratic rule—bringing to mind, for example, the role played by the likes of the Central European University Press in the former member-states of the Warsaw Pact. Where would we be without access to the ideas and creativity—not to mention fine writing—of leading thinkers who may not be in a position to tap into what’s popular at the moment (or indeed have any interest in doing so), but whose contributions to our store of knowledge and the very concept of the free flow of information are so manifestly invaluable?”
—Malcolm Byrne, Deputy Director, The National Security Archive at The George Washington University

It is no exaggeration to say that the revitalized discipline of art history, as it has unfolded over the last 30 years, would not be what it is without the contribution of Yale University Press. Landmark books marking that intellectual progress have, more often than not, come from Yale, where editors have understood how to commission books for the future rather than imitate what others are doing in the present. For art historians, the quality of design and reproduction of images at Yale has set the standard for the field: handsome, generous, informative, but not over-designed in any way that competes with the lucidity of the text. For these reasons, Yale authors see themselves as such and have a loyalty to Yale Press that counts for them as a vital intellectual partnership.”
—Thomas Crow, formerly Director, Getty Research Institute, now Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art, the Institute of Fine Arts, New York

“University presses have brought us some of the most innovative and exciting scholarship of recent decades. And their books read well and look handsome—a testimonial to the close relations their editors have with authors. Their location at the heart of the academic world creates a stir on campuses as well, inviting fresh writing and encouraging young people to think ahead to the hopes and challenges of contemporary publishing. May university presses continue to show the way.
—Natalie Zemon Davis, Professor of History, University of Toronto, and author of The Return of Martin Guerre (Harvard), now translated into 23 languages

“The world is a better place because of Syracuse University Press and her university press siblings. The university presses venture where others will not, enriching the persnickety marketplace with unique books that are beautifully designed, impeccably produced, and fanatically researched. Authors and readers alike owe these dedicated souls a great debt.”
—Michael Doyle, author of Radical Chapters: Pacifist Bookseller Roy Kepler and the Paperback Revolution (Syracuse)

University presses are central to the life of our democracies. They are essential sites for the production and transmission of deep knowledge. Moreover, in most cases they represent the only bridge between the work of scholars and their readers. To put it bluntly, the world is a much more learned place because of them.”
—Federico Finchelstein, Historical Studies Department Chair, Associate Professor of History, and Director of The Janey Program in Latin American Studies at the New School

“For the past ten years I have worked with Oxford University Press as an author and editor of several different books. I have great respect for Oxford’s longevity and global penetration of the market, and their emphasis on bringing the best scholarship and research to the social work field. Oxford University Press provided a unique approach that allowed me to write scholarly books that communicated to a wide audience. I have especially been impressed with the international reach of my books into Europe and Asia and the credibility my work has achieved being published by a university press.”
—Cynthia Franklin, Stiernberg/Spencer Family Professorship in Mental Health, The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work

“Imagine no scholarly press. Academics would never write serious books that give a big view of fields and findings and problems. Instead, they would devolve into manufacturers of footnotes for obscure journals. If you wanted to learn something you might search the internet and find videos of lectures, but a video or even a talk by a live person does not galvanize thinking like reading a serious book. Without our scholarly press, much of the intellectual life of the country, of the world, and oh yeah, even of the Marvel universe, would decay into a commercial break told by an idiot, signifying nothing.”
—Richard B. Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics, Harvard University, and Director, National Bureau of Economic Research

“University presses in general add important dimensions to their parent institutions: they advance scholarship, provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, work with university libraries to support access to research, and reflect the intellectual interests of the academic community in which they are situated. The best university presses do all that and more: they also preserve the social and political history of the regions where they are based, and bring the perspectives of minority cultures to the scholarly community and wider world. They carry the names of their parent institutions out into the international scholarly community through their publications; in so doing university presses support the links between their home institution and others around the world. Through publishing programs that include regional studies—whether historical, anthropological, political, or botanical—they remind the people of their region of the value of the scholarly engine in its midst. They also bring to those people an accessible means of access to that engine, through their day-to-day activities: launching books, hosting readings, and winning awards. This multi-faceted interface between the university and other communities, at home and around the world, is something no other institution can do as well as a university press can. The University of Alberta Press does it very well indeed.”
—Bill Harnum, President, and Carolyn Wood, Executive Director, Association of Canadian Publishers

“Syracuse University Press has served as an incubator for new ideas and directions in scholarship. For me, Syracuse University Press staff were indeed my teachers over the years, instructing me at every stage of the publishing process—how to prepare a manuscript for submission; the need to secure images and permission letters early in the process; the way to structure a proper bibliography and organize an index; the vital role of a copyeditor and how to best proof a manuscript; the importance of working with a production staff in the choosing of book titles, jacket descriptions, and cover designs; and ways to better market and promote the final product once the book is published. University presses have in-house expertise and draw from their location on campuses of higher learning.”
—Laurence M. Hauptman, SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at SUNY New Paltz, where he taught courses on Native American, New York, and Civil War history for 40 years

“University presses are crucial to the production and dissemination of knowledge throughout the United States and the world. Technology gives us access to more and more information, but it is harder and harder to judge its validity. Each book published by a university press—whether in cloth, paper, ebook, or online formats—has been critiqued by scholars in relevant fields and vetted by faculty committees. Just as importantly, each author receives advice from experienced editors as they hone their arguments and polish their prose. In a world overflowing with information, university presses provide authoritative studies for specialists as well as reliable and accessible books for students and popular audiences. They are the fountains from which new knowledge and informed debate flow. ”
—Nancy A. Hewitt, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History and Women’s & Gender Studies, Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, and author of several university press books

“The truth matters. Facts matter. Serious scholarship matters. If you value these things, buy your next book from a university press. Presses, such as Syracuse University Press, demand documentation of sources, enforce a rigorous system of peer reviews, and undertake a painstaking process of editing a work before it ever sees the light of day. The end product is something of value; it’s an honest search for the truth that represents the author’s best effort to get the story right.”
—Charles B. Kastner, author of The 1929 Bunion Derby (Syracuse)

“University presses represent the mind of America at its best. And oh, how we need to cultivate that mind. Now especially, when so much of our public discourse consists of sound-bites and ahistorical assertions yelled by celebrity pundits on cable-TV talk shows, we need the work of scholars and intellectuals committed to advancing reasoned, historically-informed, and critically considered ideas, insights, and arguments. Our democratic lives depend on the labors of America’s university presses.
—Harvey J. Kaye, Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and author most recently of The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great (Simon & Schuster)

“The University of Alberta Press contributes to the community of the University of Alberta, the city of Edmonton, the Province of Alberta, and the community at large through their continued publication of excellent books on a variety of topics. The press has consistently, over the years, demonstrated excellence in publishing practices and in diversity of content. They have exhibited the ability to be nimble, responsive, and creative in a rapidly changing industry,and have a reputation for being leaders in Alberta and Canada within the book publishing industry.”
—Kiernan Leblanc, Executive Director, Book Publishers Association of Alberta

“Liverpool University Press, like other first-rate university presses, provides a vital context for the scholarly publications of academics at all stages of their working lives.”
—Professor Dame Hermione Lee, President, Wolfson College, Oxford

“A university press is not a one-way stream. Of course, one of its important functions is to disseminate the work of the university’s scholars outward. However, I am not affiliated with the University of Alberta as either faculty or alumnus. But publication of my work through the press has led to my poems and other writing being adopted by faculty in their courses—a case of carrying the community into the university. Making research and creative work available to students of the University of Alberta (and elsewhere) is an incredibly important function.”
—Alice Major, President, Edmonton Poetry Festival Society

“I join in marking AAUP’s celebration of University Press Week by underscoring the unique role that university presses play in the dissemination of new knowledge and original scholarship. As the publishing industry focuses increasingly on sales and profit margins are squeezed, it is essential that critical contributions to knowledge and information are published even if the paying audience of book buyers is small. The importance of knowledge is not always measured in sales, but in its relevance to growth in an information-based economy and to evidence-based policy formation for human welfare.
—Douglas S. Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, and President, The American Academy of Political and Social Science

“In a period with rapidly changing and often disruptive technologies and business models, academic publishing and Oxford University Press anchor us in the timeless search for truth and knowledge.
—Patrick Olivelle, Professor Emeritus of Asian and Religious Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

“University of Alberta Press’s range of books has a wide appeal, including many titles beyond the academic market, and is an important cultural resource for the people of Alberta, the Prairies and beyond.”
—Dave Reynolds, Regional Procurement Specialist for Western Canada, Indigo Books, Music & More

“One thing I’ve found unchanged over my 40+ years as a publishing scholar is that university presses are still the heart of the scholarly communications network in the humanities. They fulfill a central role in the process of identifying significant new writing, generating expert review by peers, and creating new publications. Their results circulate throughout the world and infuse research and learning with new knowledge and inspiring ideas. Their editorial staff members channel the energy of thousands of minds through books, journals, and reference works that serve millions of readers each year. They are the indispensable institution within humanities research and education.
—Deane L. Root, Professor of Music; Director, Center for American Music; Fletcher Hodges, Jr. Curator, Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh; Editor, Grove Music Online

“The role of university presses in a world drowning in information but starving for truth is more crucial than ever. In times when facts are less accepted than opinions and analysis less valued than advocacy, university presses have a unique value in shaping and disseminating academic scholarship to the broader public. Our mission as educators at a crossroads university in the heart of Central Europe, with an increasing global engagement, is based on principles such as the pursuit of truth, freedom of speech, and commitment to think critically and challenge existing and conventional wisdom. University presses our are allies in this endeavor and we value their uncompromising publishing standards and professionalism.”
—John Shattuck, President and Rector, Central European University, and former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (1993-1998), US Ambassador to the Czech Republic (1998-2000), and CEO, John F. Kennedy Library Foundation (2001-2009)

“At a time that has pronounced the death of utopia, and when universities are becoming more and more corporate institutions, many university presses continue to keep the flame of high academic standards, regardless of the profit factor. Is this quixotic? Perhaps it is, but keeping up the hope that quality can finally prevail is at the core of the idealism that keeps scholars doing what they do. Especially important in the merciless fight of the survival of the fittest (publisher) are those presses that support smaller fields which might have a more limited—but passionate—reading audience, and thus contribute to the diversity of scholarship. Central European University Press had been at the forefront of this noble enterprise.”
—Maria Todorova, Gutgsell Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“The University of Alberta Press team reflects the commitment of the university itself to knowledge and academic leadership. The team inspires current and future scholars to a standard of excellence in publications covering a wide range of topics—history, culture literature, politics, art, drama, medicine, memoir, and sport. That the press has received numerous awards and nominations for design, production, and content must be a source of pride for the entire university community.
—Kate Walker, President, Ampersand, Canada’s Book & Gift Agency, Inc.

“The world of ideas depends crucially on university presses for its sustenance and survival. And it always will. The earliest of those presses now are centuries old, and yet they continue to expand the frontiers of knowledge, not only in terms of their content, but also in pioneering new modes of content delivery. I know this first-hand through my editorship of Oxford Bibliographies Online (in Criminology), which is opening up the discipline to a new generation of scholars who spend more time working in coffee shops than libraries. I have no idea where the generation of scholars who follow them will be spending their time, but I do know that university presses will be at their side.
—Richard Wright, Curators’ Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri Saint Louis

2012 University Press Week: Contributing to an Informed Society

“I’m proud to join AAUP in celebrating University Press Week because scholars and students, professors and public servants, citizens and communities rely on university presses to connect with one another. By sharing new ideas and challenging old assumptions, university presses – including Ohio’s own university presses – connect citizens with one another and give us the tools needed to strengthen our democracy.”
—Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio

“As we learned in grade school, ‘reading is fundamental,’ and we appreciate that University Presses keep that fundamental alive. This 75th anniversary of AAUP gives us the chance to say how much we value their services to the academic community. University Presses publish work of scholarly, intellectual, and creative merit, often for specialists and small but loyal regional audiences. These services are essential to free speech and a free press, as well as to the health of universities and the academic community.
—Orville Vernon Burton, president, Southern Historical Association

“As the Association of American University Presses celebrates its 75th anniversary, Fordham University joins in honoring a rich history of committed leadership and collaborative service to the academy and to society. Fordham University Press has partnered with AAUP since 1938 to advance academic excellence in the full pursuit of truth and to enrich public discourse through the dissemination of scholarly research of the highest quality across the disciplines. We look forward to our work with the AAUP to engage evolving challenges and opportunities for university presses in the decades ahead.”
—Stephen Freedman, Provost, Fordham University

“…Wayne State University Press is essential to the literature of our beautiful and socially rich state …The press has satisfied a need not filled by any other publisher.”
—Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of American Salvage (WSUP) and Once Upon a River (Norton)

University presses have a special role to play because of their close connection to their academic institutions and the values which they share with them. This gives them a particular role in disseminating knowledge in their own country, region and local language, as well as internationally. They are an integral part of the scholarly community and the global knowledge economy.”
—YS Chi, President, International Publishers Association, and Chairman, Elsevier Management Committee

“University presses provide American citizens and their leaders a wealth of authoritative knowledge and fresh insights on the nations, economies, cultures, and beliefs of virtually every corner of the world. They also advance in-depth understanding of our own country—the political, social, and cultural heritage of virtually every region, population group, and issue in America, past and present. University presses cover it all, and all of us benefit from their work.
—Dr. Robert A. Gates, former Secretary of Defense, former CIA director, and former president of Texas A&M University

“What words to describe the university press? Patient, ambitious, demanding, sustaining, generous, utterly essential. Serious thinking is unimaginable without it.
—William Germano, Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union

The role of the university press in the life of book publishing—indeed the life of the mind—has never been more crucial. University presses provide the reading public with access to ideas and talents that would otherwise remain unheard and unread. These brave presses defy marketplace trends to champion good books by good authors, and increasingly publish them as lovingly and skillfully as any commercial house.  As an author who publishes with commercial and university presses alike, I am proud to be affiliated with organizations and editors that take such exquisite care in promoting quality and innovation in my field of American history. UNC, Harvard, LSU, Kansas, Southern Illinois, and Fordham have all been second homes to me—and I hope, as well, for discriminating readers determined to seek out wisdom from the past that can inform the present and inspire the future.”
—Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“The immensely diverse group of American university presses constantly bring the qualities of discovery and excitement to the world of reading, and form the nerve center in the biology of a bookstore like ours. Books on the history and culture of our region, beautiful art books, novels that commercial houses find too risky to publish (but sometimes win a Pulitzer Prize), important new poetry, literature in translation, affordable paperbacks of forgotten backlist, the cutting edge of scholarship and new critical perspectives— skillfully and beautifully designed, judiciously selected and carefully edited, competently presented to our bookstore and to the reading public—all are essential to the character of our store, and a major reason why American publishing continues to be recognized throughout the world for excellence.”
—Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS

“As friends in the literary and free expression communities, PEN salutes the Association of American University Presses on its 75th Anniversary. The place of a university press helps ensure that books of learning and discovery, translation and history, analysis and imagination, will find a home which may not be available in the commercial world. In the many arenas of publishing, may the university presses long be sustained in their important imprint, their calling, and their accomplishments.”
—Steven Isenberg, Executive Director, PEN American Center

“Where would readers be without University Presses? Where would booksellers be?  Just in this year, 10% of titles appearing on the Long List for the SIBA Book Awards were from University Presses, and they made up 12% of the Short List! University Press titles penetrate particularly in the area of nonfiction. SIBA members rely on University Presses to provide quality publications with a commitment to regional subjects and scholarly content. We appreciate University Presses’ relationships with authors and booksellers alike.”
—Wanda Jewell, Executive Director, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)

“University presses not only provide the only outlet for those who produce serious scholarship in history, the humanities and the social sciences, they provide an opportunity for innovative manuscripts written by people outside of universities to see the light of day. I have not only published two historical works and a memoir with a university press, I have helped two authors, one a public school teacher, the other a professional basketball player turned banker, publish extremely well received memoirs that commercial publishers would have never invested in. University presses keep serious intellectual discourse alive in a nation where the profit motive holds greater and greater sway.
—Mark D. Naison, Professor of African American Studies and History, Fordham University, and Principal Investigator, Bronx African American History Project

“University Presses have a unique and sustaining value in shaping, representing, and communicating the best of academic research to a broad public. All academics have a stake in their success.
—James J. O’Donnell, Provost, Georgetown University

“It’s hard to overestimate the role that university presses now play in American intellectual life. The commercial presses have continued to shrink, and they no longer seem terribly interested in poetry or scholarly writing of any kind. In the twenty-first century, the university press has become the most vital link between educated readers and thinkers. I can’t emphasize more strongly the role these presses play in a world of shrinking resources. If we are to have a life of the mind, we need carriers of this life. University presses perform that essential function.”
—Jay Parini, poet, novelist, and biographer

“University presses are among the unacknowledged teachers of mankind, their books not simply preserving thought but awakening readers, harrowing minds, and sowing beginnings.
—Sam Pickering, literary scholar and essayist

Creativity, passion, and the urge for expression inspire scientists, artists, and humanists. University presses are a conduit for our scholarly communications to colleagues and to the general reader.”
—Bassam Shakhashiri, President, American Chemical Society

“Is it time for the monks to start packing their books and retiring into monasteries? Everywhere we look, once-proud commercial publishers are compromising their standards and abandoning their editorial function, once the glory of American publishing. This leaves the university presses as the major redoubt for serious bookmen, and bookwomen. Happily, a part of the public understand this, and is increasingly prepared to check what the academic publishers are issuing. Here, at least, is real hope for the future of the book and of reading in America. If the university presses succeed in their mission, it may not be necessary for the monks to start packing after all.”
—Fred Starr, Senior Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University SAIS

“Like other authors of historical works, it was a university press, in my case, Louisiana State University Press, that I found uniquely able to provide the informed research and editing required for my Asia reportage. By fostering university presses, AAUP provides indispensable means for publication of the broad range of books which our society requires.”
—Seymour Topping, author, former administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, and former managing editor of the New York Times

“During over twenty years as a buyer at Ingram Content Group, I have repeatedly witnessed the university press publishing mission fulfilled. For any news event, social movement, world change, or scientific breakthrough, everyone looks first to university press authors and publications for background, for analysis and authoritative information. University press publishing is vibrant and vital to the understanding of our global society.”
—Ron Watson, Lead Buyer (retired), University Press Group, Ingram Book Company

University presses serve an invaluable function in bringing titles to the public that have a small but intense readership, works of scholarly or artistic interest. In addition, university presses keep their books in print for a long time, unlike commercial houses. The University of Wisconsin’s lesbian and gay list, mainly of biographies and autobiographies, has helped me immensely in my work.”
—Edmund White, novelist