The annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses featured a plenary session on three big ideas for publishers to think about, namely copyright, public intellectuals, and new business models. But the biggest idea explored during the conference, which ended on Saturday, was a simple one: advocacy.
If university presses want to avoid irrelevance, or existential threats like the temporary closure that imperiled the University of Missouri Press last year, they need to make themselves known on their campuses and beyond.
That theme threaded through the conference, most obviously at a high-energy plenary session that revisited the Missouri situation. But it could also be heard at sessions on social-media strategies, how to make friends and allies on campuses, fresh fund-raising approaches for presses, and the sometimes uneasy relationships between presses and academic libraries.

In a lunchtime address, the association's new president, Philip Cercone, called on the group to "remain true to our vision" but said it was also time to "repair bridges and roads and invest in building new ones."

The association must expand its membership, said Mr. Cercone, who is director of McGill-Queen's University Press, in Canada. But presses must also make room for university-based scholarly publishing that takes different forms, he said.