Why I Joined: Paul Courant

Posted November 14, 2014

Authors Alliance is always seeking new members to join its community. Advisory Board member Paul Courant explains below why he became a part of the Authors Alliance.

Photo courtesy the Ford School of Public Policy, the University of Michigan

I joined the Authors Alliance because it has the promise of giving voice to the interests of writers and readers of academic literature, who are best served by an environment that makes it easy to find and use works that have little commercial value. (Works that have substantial commercial value are always easy to find, because someone is getting paid to make them available.) Much scholarly literature, current and past, is of little commercial value, but the ability to find and combine insights and results from the corpus of millions of such works is at the heart of the expansion of knowledge in the arts, humanities and sciences. I have worked on behalf of scholarly literature as a faculty member, as a dean and provost, as a publisher, and as a librarian. I have published dozens of academic papers that are available to students and faculty at universities that have good libraries, and that are very hard for anyone else to find. I am hopeful that the Authors Alliance will helps scholars, publishers and libraries to develop a scholarly ecosystem that will make these kinds of works easy to find and use, to the benefit of individuals and society at large. Academic authors also have special interest in the long-term preservation of their published work, and I am hopeful that the Authors Alliance will be effective in articulating that interest and in helping authors to be secure in the knowledge that the work that they do today can continue to be used years and decades hence.