Duke University Press supports the academic mission of Duke University by disseminating knowledge through the publication of printed books, periodicals, and electronic collections. The Press contributes most significantly to the University's dual commitments to "advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship" and to "promote a sincere spirit of tolerance, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom, and truth."
Of the objectives listed in the University's mission statement, the Press contributes most significantly to the University's dual commitments to "advance the frontiers of knowledge and contribute boldly to the international community of scholarship" and to "promote a sincere spirit of tolerance, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom and truth."
Like the University as a whole, the Press seeks to pursue its objectives with vision and integrity. In the case of the Press, that means a commitment to the highest standards of both critical scholarly review and professional publishing judgment.
By insisting on thorough peer review procedures in combination with careful editorial judgment, the Press performs an intellectual gatekeeping function, ensuring that only scholarship of the highest quality receives the imprimatur of the University. At the same time, through its close association with the faculty and its own willingness to take risks, the Press reflects the bold spirit of the University: it does not and must not shy away from scholarship that is innovative or controversial.
By insisting on high editorial standards and on excellence in design and production, the Press enhances significantly the manuscript raw materials it receives from its authors, creating publications that are a pleasure to look at and hold, that do not frustrate the reader through sloppiness or inconsistency; and thus it helps to foster the love of learning.
By promoting the books it publishes to an international community of scholars as well as to nonspecialist readers outside the academic world, the Press ensures that scholars have available the resources they need for their teaching and research, and helps to bridge the gaps that can sometimes grow between the academic community and the broader community of educated readers.
Through business practices that place service to scholarship above commercial interest, without sacrificing the business acumen necessary to make the most of its limited resources, the Press fosters nonprofit attitudes toward scholarly communication, demonstrating that universities can build efficient and businesslike operations that do not sacrifice long-term goals for short-term profits.
If the university presses vanished, scholarly communication in the liberal arts, and particularly in the humanities and social sciences, would shrivel; the system for granting academic promotions and tenure would collapse; graduate and upper-level courses would lack texts; and academic libraries would be faced, in many fields, with a sudden shortage of new materials. Duke University Press represents the important contribution that Duke University makes to this vital and essential scholarly publishing enterprise. And, by performing its role in this enterprise in a manner that is both excellent and in keeping with the special character of its parent university, Duke University Press helps to make Duke one of the nation's outstanding universities.