Rankings of academic publishers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are a number of approaches to ranking academic publishing groups and publishers.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Rankings rely on subjective impressions by the scholarly community, on analyses of prize winners of scientific associations, discipline, a publisher's reputation, and its impact factor (particularly in the sciences).

Ranking challenges[edit]

Publications are often judged by venue, rather than merit.[7] This has been criticized in the Leiden Manifesto[8] and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment. According to the manifesto, "Science and technology indicators are prone to conceptual ambiguity and uncertainty and require strong assumptions that are not universally accepted. The meaning of citation counts, for example, has long been debated. Thus, best practice uses multiple indicators to provide a more robust and pluralistic picture."[8]

Moreover, studies of methodological quality and reliability have found that "reliability of published research works in several fields may be decreasing with increasing journal rank",[9] contrary to widespread expectations.[10]

In a study assessing an increasingly-diversified array of publishers and their service to the academic community, Janice S. Lewis concluded that college and university librarians ranked university presses higher and commercial publishers lower than did members of the American Political Science Association.[4]

According to Colin Steele, a librarian at the Australian National Library in Canberra, "Listings of publishers by title also fail to take into account that some university presses are strong in certain disciplines, but not across the whole spectrum."[11] Rankings can vary widely by discipline.

Australian Political Science Rankings[edit]

The Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) has ranked academic publishers, taking into consideration both book and journal publication.[1]

In 2007, their top-ranked (A+) publishers were:

  1. Cambridge University Press
  2. University of Chicago Press
  3. Columbia University Press
  4. Harvard University Press
  5. MIT Press
  6. Oxford University Press/Clarendon (UK/US)
  7. Princeton University Press
  8. Stanford University Press
  9. University of California Press
  10. Yale University Press

In 2007, their second-ranked (A) publishers were:

  1. Alfred A Knopf
  2. Allen & Unwin
  3. Cornell University Press
  4. Duke University Press
  5. Edward Elgar
  6. Elsevier Science Ltd
  7. IPA, Warsaw
  8. Johns Hopkins University Press
  9. Kluwer
  10. Manchester University Press
  11. Melbourne University Press
  12. New York University Press
  13. Palgrave MacMillan (UK & Australia, St Martins' Press in US)
  14. Politico's
  15. Polity Press
  16. Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
  17. Sage Publications
  18. Science Publishers
  19. Univ of Pennsylvania Press
  20. University of Michigan Press
  21. University of Minnesota Press
  22. University of New South Wales Press
  23. University of Toronto Press
  24. WHO/EDM, Geneva
  25. Wiley-Blackwell
  26. AP, London
  27. Basic Books, New York
  28. Blackwell, Oxford
  29. Clarendon Press, Gloucestershire, UK
  30. CRC, Ghent, Belgium
  31. CRC, New York
  32. Harper & Row, New York
  33. John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, UK
  34. Pergamon Press, Oxford/Amsterdam
  35. Prentice Hall, Eaglewood Cliffs (NJ), USA
  36. Random House, New York
  37. Springer, London/Berlin

SENSE rankings[edit]

The Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE Research School) has ranked scientific publishers every year from 2006 until 2022.[12] This ranking was intended for internal use only and is not anymore available.

Spanish National Research Council rankings[edit]

In 2012 and 2014, the Spanish National Research Council asked 11,864 Spanish academics to name the 10 most prestigious academic publishers from over 600 international and 500 Spanish-language publishers. It received 2,731 responses, a response rate of 23.05 percent. Results were compiled using a weighted average.[13] The results were:

  1. Cambridge University Press
  2. Oxford University Press
  3. Springer Nature
  4. Routledge
  5. Elsevier
  6. Peter Lang
  7. Thomson Reuters
  8. Blackwell
  9. De Gruyter
  10. McGraw Hill[13]

Granada Rankings[edit]

To quantitatively assess the output of a publishing company, a research group associated with the University of Granada created a methodology based on the Thomson-Reuters Book Citation Index.[14] The quantitative weight of the publishers is based on output data, impact (citations) and publisher profile. According to the Granada study, the 10 leading companies were:[14]

  1. Springer
  2. Palgrave Macmillan
  3. Routledge
  4. Cambridge University Press
  5. Elsevier
  6. Nova Science Publishers
  7. Edward Elgar
  8. Information Age Publishing
  9. Princeton University Press
  10. University of California Press

Libcitation rankings[edit]

The Research Impact Measurement Service (RIMS) at the University of New South Wales presented a quantitative methodology of bibliometric comparisons of book publishers.[15][16][17] In a Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology article, Howard D. White et al. wrote: "Bibliometric measures for evaluating research units in the book-oriented humanities and social sciences are underdeveloped relative to those available for journal-oriented science and technology". The RIMS proposed what they called a "libcitation count", counting the libraries holding a given book as reported in a national (or international) union catalog. In the follow-up literature, comparing research units or even the output of publishing companies became the target of research.[15][18] White et al. wrote,

Libcitation counts reflect judgments by librarians on the usefulness of publications for their various audiences of readers. The Libcitation measure thus resembles a citation impact measure in discriminating values of publications on a defined ground. It rewards authors whose books (or other publications) are seen by librarians as having relatively wide appeal. A book's absolute appeal can be determined simply by counting how many libraries hold it, but it can also be gauged in relation to other books in its subject class.[15]

Libcitations, according to the RIMS, reflect what librarians know about the prestige of publishers, the opinions of reviewers, and the reputations of authors.[15]


  • Amsler, S. S., & Bolsmann, C. (2012). University ranking as social exclusion. British journal of sociology of education, 33(2), 283-301.
  • Andrés, A. (2009). Measuring academic research : how to undertake a bibliometric study. Oxford : Chandos Publishing.
  • Bornmann, L., Mutz, R., & Daniel, H. D. (2013). Multilevel‐statistical reformulation of citation‐based university rankings: The Leiden ranking 2011/2012. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(8), 1649-1658.
  • Braun, Tibor et al. (1985). Scientometric indicators : a 32 country comparative evaluation of publishing performance and citation impact. Singapore ; Philadelphia : World Scientific.
  • Dill, D. D., & Soo, M. (2005). Academic quality, league tables, and public policy: A cross-national analysis of university ranking systems. Higher education, 49(4), 495-533.
  • Donohue, Joseph C. (1974). Understanding scientific literatures: a bibliometric approach. Cambridge, MIT Press .
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  • Herb, U., Kranz, E., Leidinger, T., & Mittelsdorf, B. (2010). How to assess the impact of an electronic document? And what does impact mean anyway? Reliable usage statistics in heterogeneous repository communities. OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, 26(2), 133-145.
  • Hug, Sven E.; Ochsner, Michael; Daniel, Hans-Dieter. (2013). Criteria for assessing research quality in the humanities: a Delphi study among scholars of English literature, German literature and art history. Research Evaluation. Dec2013, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p369-383.
  • Kousha, K., Thelwall, M., & Rezaie, S. (2011). Assessing the citation impact of books: The role of Google Books, Google Scholar, and Scopus. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(11), 2147-2164.
  • Oltersdorf, J. (2013). Publikationen: Funktion und Repräsentation (Doctoral dissertation, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Philosophische Fakultät I).
  • Rostaing, H., Boutin, E., & Mannina, B. (1999). Evaluation of internet resources: bibliometric techniques applications. cybermetrics, 99.
  • Sadlak, J., & Liu, N. C. (2007). The world-class university and ranking: Aiming beyond status. Bucharest, Romania/Shanghai, China/Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Unesco-Cepes.
  • Sahel, J. A. (2011). Quality versus quantity: assessing individual research performance. Science translational medicine, 3(84)
  • Sieber, J., & Gradmann, S. (2011). How to best assess monographs?. Humboldt University Berlin.
  • Tausch, A. (2011). On the Global Impact of Selected Social-Policy Publishers in More Than 100 Countries. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 42(4), 476-513.
  • Taylor, P., & Braddock, R. (2007). International university ranking systems and the idea of university excellence. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 29(3),
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  • Torres-Salinas, D., Robinson-García, N., & López-Cózar, E. D. (2012). Towards a Book Publishers Citation Reports. First approach using the Book Citation Index. arXiv preprint arXiv:1207.7067.
  • Torres-Salinas, D., Robinson-García, N., Cabezas-Clavijo, Á., & Jiménez-Contreras, E. (2014). Analyzing the citation characteristics of books: edited books, book series and publisher types in the book citation index. Scientometrics, 98(3), 2113-2127.
  • Torres-Salinas, D., Robinson-Garcia, N., Miguel Campanario, J., & Delgado López- Cózar, E. (2014). Coverage, field specialisation and the impact of scientific publishers indexed in the Book Citation Index. Online Information Review, 38(1), 24-42.
  • Torres-Salinas, D., Rodríguez-Sánchez, R., Robinson-García, N., Fdez-Valdivia, J., & García, J. A. (2013). Mapping citation patterns of book chapters in the Book Citation Index. Journal of Informetrics, 7(2), 412-424.
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  • Vinkler, Peter (2010). The evaluation of research by scientometric indicators. Oxford [England] : Chandos Publishing.
  • Waltman, L., & Schreiber, M. (2013). On the calculation of percentile‐based bibliometric indicators. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 64(2), 372-379.
  • White, H. D.; Boell, Sebastian K.; Yu, H.; Davis, M.; Wilson, C. S.; Cole, Fletcher T.H. J. (2009) Libcitations: A measure for comparative assessment of book publications in the humanities and social sciences. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology. Jun2009, Vol. 60 Issue 6, p1083-1096.
  • Zuccala, A. A., & White, H. D. (2015). Correlating Libcitations and Citations in the Humanities with WorldCat and Scopus Data. In A. A. Salah, Y. Tonta, A. A. Akdag Salah, C. Sugimoto, & U. Al (Eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI), Istanbul, Turkey, 29th June to 4th July, 2015. (pp. 305-316). Bogazici University.
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  • Zuccala, A., Guns, R., Cornacchia, R., & Bod, R. (2014). Can we rank scholarly book publishers? A bibliometric experiment with the field of history. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.
  • Zuccala, A., Someren, M., & Bellen, M. (2014). A machine‐learning approach to coding book reviews as quality indicators: Toward a theory of megacitation. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 65(11), 2248-2260.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goodson, Larry P.; Dillman, Bradford; Hira, Anil (1999). "Ranking the Presses: Political Scientists' Evaluations of Publisher Quality". PS: Political Science and Politics. 32 (2): 257–262. doi:10.1017/S1049096500049416. JSTOR 420561.
  2. ^ Steele, Colin (2008). "Scholarly Monograph Publishing in the 21st Century: The Future More Than Ever Should be an Open Book". The Journal of Electronic Publishing. 11 (2). doi:10.3998/3336451.0011.201.
  3. ^ Garand, James C.; Giles, Micheal W. (2011). "Ranking Scholarly Publishers in Political Science: An Alternative Approach". PS: Political Science and Politics. 44 (2): 375–383. doi:10.1017/S1049096511000229. JSTOR 41319924.
  4. ^ a b Lewis, Janice S. (2000). "An Assessment of Publisher Quality by Political Science Librarians". College & Research Libraries. 61 (4): 313–323. doi:10.5860/crl.61.4.313.
  5. ^ Samuels, David (2013). "Book Citations Count". PS: Political Science & Politics. 46 (4): 785–790. doi:10.1017/S1049096513001054.
  6. ^ Rhodes, R. A. W.; Hamilton, Margaret (2007). "Australian Political Science: Journal and Publisher Rankings" (PDF). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Lee, Icy (2014). "Publish or perish: The myth and reality of academic publishing". Language Teaching. 47 (2): 250–261. doi:10.1017/S0261444811000504. S2CID 146536290.
  8. ^ a b Hicks D, Wouters P, Waltman L, de Rijcke S, Rafols I (23 April 2015). "The Leiden Manifesto for research metrics" (PDF). Nature. 520 (7548): 429–431. doi:10.1038/520429a. PMID 25903611. S2CID 4462115. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  9. ^ Brembs, Björn (2018). "Prestigious Science Journals Struggle to Reach Even Average Reliability". Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 12: 37. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00037. PMC 5826185. PMID 29515380.
  10. ^ Triggle, Chris R; MacDonald, Ross; Triggle, David J.; Grierson, Donald (3 April 2022). "Requiem for impact factors and high publication charges". Accountability in Research. 29 (3): 133–164. doi:10.1080/08989621.2021.1909481. One might expect, therefore, that a high JIF factor indicates a higher standard of interest, accuracy and reliability of papers published therein. This is sometimes true but unfortunately is certainly not always the case (Brembs 2018, 2019). Thus, Björn Brembs (2019) concluded: "There is a growing body of evidence against our subjective notion of more prestigious journals publishing 'better' science. In fact, the most prestigious journals may be publishing the least reliable science."
  11. ^ Steele, Colin (2008). "Scholarly Monograph Publishing in the 21st Century: The Future More Than Ever Should be an Open Book". The Journal of Electronic Publishing. 11 (2). doi:10.3998/3336451.0011.201.
  12. ^ "SENSE - Quality & Criteria". www.sense.nl.
  13. ^ a b http://ilia.cchs.csic.es/SPI/metodologia_2014.html and http://ilia.cchs.csic.es/SPI/prestigio_expertos_2014.php
  14. ^ a b Torres-Salinas, Daniel; Robinson-Garcia, Nicolas; Miguel Campanario, Juan; Delgado López-Cózar, Emilio (2014). "Coverage, field specialisation and the impact of scientific publishers indexed in the Book Citation Index". Online Information Review. 38: 24–42. arXiv:1312.2791. doi:10.1108/OIR-10-2012-0169. S2CID 3794376.
  15. ^ a b c d White, Howard D.; Boell, Sebastian K.; Yu, Hairong; Davis, Mari; Wilson, Concepción S.; Cole, Fletcher T.H. (2009). "Libcitations: A measure for comparative assessment of book publications in the humanities and social sciences". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 60 (6): 1083–1096. doi:10.1002/asi.21045. hdl:1959.4/44715.
  16. ^ Drummond, Robyn; Wartho, Richard (2009). "RIMS: The Research Impact Measurement Service at the University of New South Wales". Australian Academic & Research Libraries. 40 (2): 76–87. doi:10.1080/00048623.2009.10721387.
  17. ^ For a recent summary of the literature see Tausch, Arno (2017), Die Buchpublikationen der Nobelpreis-Ökonomen und die führenden Buchverlage der Disziplin. Eine bibliometrische Analyse Bibliotheksdienst, March 2017: 339 – 374. SSRN 2674502
  18. ^
    • Zuccala, A., Guns, R., Cornacchia, R., & Bod, R. (2014). Can we rank scholarly book publishers? A bibliometric experiment with the field of history. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology