Association of Research Libraries (ARLĀ®)

Publications, Reports, Presentations

The Specialized Scholarly Monograph in Crisis: Or How Can I Get Tenure If You Won't Publish My Book?

September 11–12, 1997

Conference Sponsored by:
American Council of Learned Societies
Association of American University Presses
Association of Research Libraries

"Profit Squeeze for Publishers Makes Tenure More Elusive"
New York Times, November 18, 1996

"Saving 'Tenure Books' from a Painful Demise"
Chronicle of Higher Education, November 1, 1996

These headlines in the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education warn of the dangers posed by the threat to the specialized scholarly monograph. The primary market for specialized monographs—research libraries—has been burdened over the past decade with significant increases in the costs of science and technology journals, resulting in dramatic decreases in monographic purchases. Faced with this eroding market and declining subsidies from both universities and funding agencies, university presses can no longer afford to publish the specialized research which is central to their mission. As a consequence, young faculty are not getting tenured or promoted, undermining the future of education and scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.

This conference on the specialized scholarly monograph brought together faculty, administrators, publishers, and librarians to focus attention on an issue central to the entire academic enterprise. It examined the current state of scholarly communication and explored the potential of new technologies to provide both new means of dissemination and new formats for conducting research and communicating the results.