Talk:Academic publishing

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Different fields[edit]

As the article notes, this varies a lot by field, even more so than acknowledged in the subsections here. For example, computer science, although often considered some sort of a science, does not primarily publish in journals. There are journals of course, and people do publish in them, but a common maxim is that "the journal is where research goes to die"—it's the home for canonical write-ups of work that has been well-known and studied for at least several years. The new stuff—i.e. the stuff people care about—is almost exclusively published in conferences, several of which (SIGGRAPH, for example) have prestige within the field equivalent to that of journals in other fields. --Delirium 21:49, Apr 12, 2005 (UTC)

I'd be all for including much more detail on field-by-field publication practices. Why not add some of this to the article? -- Rbellin|Talk 16:48, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I contributed a question relevant to this discussion under another section of the talk page, Monograph publishing. - The Aviv (talk) 05:05, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Peer Review and the Sokal Affair[edit]

Peer review is a central concept for most academic publishing; other scholars in a field must find a work sufficiently high in quality for it to merit publication. The process also guards against plagiarism. Failures in peer review, while they are probably common, are sometimes scandalous (the Sokal Affair is arguably one example, though this controversy also involved many other issues).

IMHO, the Sokal Affair was not about a failure in peer review, but about problems arising if you do not have peer review. If no one objects, I will remove the reference to the Sokal Affair.--zeno 12:04, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
I agree it doesn't really belong here. A reference to it probably does belong in the peer review article, but not in the more broad academic publishing article. --Delirium 06:44, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Early journals[edit]

"Among the earliest research journals were the Proceedings of meetings of the Royal Society in the 17th century." Is this a ref to Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society? If so, the sentence could be reworded and linked to Phil Trans. Nurg 10:53, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

It appears to be referring to that article's subject, so go ahead! -- Rbellin|Talk 05:30, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

System is disorganized[edit]

Cut from intro:

The "system," which is probably disorganized enough not to merit the title, varies widely by field, and is also always changing, if often slowly.

Whose point of view is this, that the system is disorganized? And what does "disorganized" mean, anyway? Is this a denial that there is a system of publishing which bases itself on peer review? Or a denial that the purpose of peer review is to achieve the greatest form of objectivity possible?

Hm, I actually have seen some denials of the latter. Or I should say, complaints that it works out badly in a significant number of cases. Do we have an article about Suppression of science? Or would that be covered in Paradigm shift? --Uncle Ed 14:34, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

That text may have been mine originally, though I honestly can't remember. While I understand why phrasing it this way might be too colorful or idiosyncratic to pass the NPOV test, academic publishing is (obviously this is my opinion as an academic) in fact very variable from discipline to discipline and between journals and presses, so that it's hard to generalize about it as a "system." For instance, peer review is by no means as universal as you seem to imply above, nor is striving for objectivity the goal of many disciplines. Remember, academia is not synonymous with science. -- Rbellin|Talk 21:37, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I get it now. Want to write a paragraph or two about that for the article about the discipline to discipline variations in academic publishing and its use of peer review? --Uncle Ed 13:08, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

overlap with scientific literature[edit]

This article takes no proper account of the article on Scientific litrature. The first section, history, refers only to scientific publishing, and should be moved, along with many of the specific links. (I agree with Rbellin)

The history of scholarly publishing in general is a much larger subject, which I do not promise to address--the first step is to find the other articles in WP,  if any, as they are not linked.   DGG 23:04, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

ancient links[edit]

Some of the external links refer to conditions in 1990, and need to be replaced. I have just done that. The open-access section at the end is now 2 yrs old, and I will update it soon, with references. The earlier part of Distribution and business aspects can be improved & sourced, & I will soon, if nobody gets there first. DGG 23:04, 29 September 2006 (UTC) lead to a 404 error on --Klamma (talk) 14:32, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

electronic articles[edit]

electronic articles redirects to here, and that is not really obvious. I'm not sure there is a standard term for them, but for the moment I will make a page that explains the concept at least. I have also updated this article a good deal. Links and reference updates will follow. We need an article on History of academic publishing. Merge/rationalization with "scientific publishing" to follow. DGG 06:14, 11 October 2006 (UTC)


the term does not persist--I havent seen it for years. ; have you contemporary evidence for more than its occassional use.? We should start an article "History of the Academic Journal," and then there would be a place for it. I've kept it, but de-emphasized it. DGG 00:56, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

US emphasis?[edit]

Is the situation described different elsewhere? I think it's similar in the UK, but I do not know beyond that.DGG 05:34, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

History of[edit]

I agree we are not yet ready for a page on history of academic publishing, though when we are I'd be glad to start one. There are a number of books, and some relevant journals. Was an article actually started and then deleted? But what I'm planning to do as I have the time is build up articles for individual publishers as documentation permits. DGG 06:56, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

removal of material[edit]

If there is objection to some of the material, do not remove large blocks, but explain why here, so it can be discussed and appropriate sources added, or agreement reached otherwise. DGG 04:57, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

I didn't delete that material, but I think I have deleted similar stuff here or elsewhere (probably from Academia) before, and I agree with its removal. A bunch of unsourced, essay-like material, speculating vaguely about the future of academic publishing and citing only Odzylko, has been added anonymously several times to this and similar articles. No more sources have ever been provided, and it can't easily be adapted into non-original research because it's speculation about the future, not description of the current state of affairs. In addition, it seems to me frankly to range from quite idiosyncratic to simply wrong in its interpretation, and in any case it's interpretive and synthetic material that needs a source and has been so tagged for a long time. I think deleting it (plus maybe copying it to this Talk page to await sourcing) is justified at this point. -- Rbellin|Talk 05:03, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Agree with Rbellin, the sections have are essay-like, have been tagged unsourced for a year and unless anyone is willing to rewrite them and include sources, they probably should be deleted. Addhoc 06:19, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
May I suggest a compromise: move them to talk? -- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:57, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Good idea. Addhoc 23:01, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Current status and potential developments[edit]

Research journals have been so successful that the number of journals and of papers has proliferated over the past few decades, and the credo of the modern academic has become "publish or perish". Except for generalist journals like Science or Nature, the topics covered in any single journal have tended to narrow, and readership and citation have declined. A variety of methods reviewing submissions exist. The most common involves initial approval by the journal, peer review by two or three researchers working in similar or closely related subjects who recommend approval or rejection as well as request error correction, clarification or additions before publishing. Controversial topics may receive additional levels of review. Journals have developed a hierarchy, partly based on reputation but also on the strictness of the review policy. More prestigious journals are more likely to receive and publish more important work. Submitters try to submit their work to the most prestigious journal likely to publish it to bolster their reputation and curriculum vitae. A quantitative (and not uncontroversial) measure of the prestige or importance of a journal is its impact factor, which is increasingly used as a criterion for promotion and in the awarding of tenure.

Some journals now include an open source element; i.e. the authors are allowed to post unreviewed material and designated reviewers or the reader community freely comments on the material and thus provide an alternative method of quality control. Such journals can be open access, such as PLoS One, or Psycoloquy, or subscription, such as Current Anthropology.

The mathematician Andrew Odlyzko has argued that research journals will evolve into something akin to Internet forums over the coming decade, by extending the interactivity of current Internet preprints. This change may open them up to a wider range of ideas, some more developed than others. Whether this will be a positive evolution remains to be seen. Some claim that forums, like markets, tend to thrive or fail based on their ability to attract talent, perhaps just the same as with conventional journals. Some believe that highly restrictive and tightly monitored forums may be the least likely to thrive, and some think the exact opposite. Semantic publishing is changing the face of scientific publishing. In particular, self-publishing of experiments on the web could potentially make all the experiment data available as semantic data objects that can be searched, shared and integrated by anyone at any time. This simple but radical idea is being explored by W3C now (demo).

Distribution and business aspects[edit]

It was a fact of pre-technology life that, no matter how dedicated, one person can only give a limited number of lectures to the small groups of students who can travel to hear them; and, if articles are to be written and distributed, only a small number of copies can be hand-written or typed. The development of the printing press therefore represented a revolution for communicating the latest hypotheses and research results to the academic community and supplemented what a scholar could do personally. Ironically, this improvement in the efficiency of communication created a challenge for libraries which have had to accommodate the weight and volume of literature. To understand the scale of the problem: about two centuries ago, the number of scientific papers published annually was doubling approximately every fifteen years. Today, the number of published papers doubles about every ten years.

But the new reality of internet technology is that it is far cheaper to send out electronic versions of a paper than to have it printed in a journal. Unlike their medieval counterparts, modern academics can now run electronic journals and distribute academic materials without the need for publishers. Not surprisingly, publishers perceive this emancipation as a serious threat to their business model. In reality, the interests of scholars and publishers have long been in conflict. The purpose of copyright is to protect the capital invested in the "work" by the publisher, while the wish of the scholar is to have the work as widely distributed as possible.

Publishing academic journals and books is a large part of an international industry. The shares of the major publishing companies are listed on national stock exchanges and management policies must satisfy the dividend expectations of international shareholders. Although some specialist academic publishers used to take a less commercial view of their business, the industry has been consolidating and, as smaller units are absorbed into the larger, standardised accounting and profit-oriented policies have dominated the industry. Critics have claimed that these policies now constrain more altruistic leanings of academic publishing.

Adding how to[edit]

I wished to add the following simple rule to explain how to write academic paper effectively. However, Rbellin dosen't want to add it and he removed it already. I'm not sure what is wiki and what is something to be included. In my opinion, every knowleadge which can be represented information (e.g. 0 and 1) is an candidate to be included here. Any opinion? JSK 06:44, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

  • How to write: Since each person has his or her writing style, it is true that there is no perfect way to write a paper effectively. However, there can be some guidence to write a paper making readers better understood. One well-known rule is to follow a tip:
Wikipedia is not a "how to" guide. That's an official policy - see WP:NOT#GUIDE. In any case, telling people to write clearly, correctly and concisely is not particularly helpful - what's the alternative, to write obscurely, incorrectly and at tedious length? andy 07:32, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
It is true that writing 3C-ly (Clearly, correctly and concisely) is obvious. However, I don't know why this basic rule is emphasis for academic paper writing over and over. In my opinion, just notating about the meaningless definition of academic publishing as illustrated currently is NEVER more informative for wikipedia readers than re-emphasizing the importance of reminding 3C in academic paper writing. If it is still suggested to remove section how to write, I instead suggest to remove whole part of academic publishing which is already not an appropriate topic for encyclopedia JSK 09:00, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
This is a matter of policy - it's not something you can argue about. Nor does rewriting it as per your recent edit get round the policy. And anyway your rewrite was not in itself clear, correct and concise - it was unclear and used the non-existent word "publishments" which you didn't even spell consistently. andy 10:08, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
I could not hide my mind. I eventually second expert's opinion that it is policy but not a negotiable point. Moreover, it will not be directly applied to the article before getting consensus here. By the way, it is noteworthy for everybody to agree that 3c is an essential feature of academic publications. However, regardless of the importance of 3c, such description does not exist in this article. So, what is your opinion how to let 3c being implied in this article. In my opinion, why don't we apply the previous sentence after updating as follows? JSK 12:37, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Differently from general publications, academic publications should be clear, correct and concise since it delivers technical research results.
That statement is incorrect and misleading:
1. What are "general publications"? Publications can't simply be divided into academic and general, each with distinct characteristics
2. Clarity, accuracy and conciseness are important in very many forms of non-fiction publishing. Academic publishing is no different in this respect from the publishing of newspapers, textbooks or car maintenance handbooks.
3. Academic publications to not exist simply to deliver technical research results. Most academic publishing falls outside this narrow definition.
4. Other requirements even of technical publishing can run counter to the "3Cs". For example conciseness might prevent writing from being readable, informative, interesting or provocative.
andy 12:25, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your clarification and It looks requiring not short time to be answered. By the way, based on WP:NOT#GUIDE, is the section of Scientific literature#Preparation of an article appropriate for Wikipedia? It is not perfectly but quite related to one of how to type paragraphs. JSK 12:38, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
That section is descriptive not prescriptive. andy 12:40, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Academic Publishing Industry[edit]

A college professor once told me that his manuscript was rejected because it was short on filler; he only wanted to include that which he thought was necessary for two semesters on English Composition, but he stated that(on his account, his narrative, lecture) however the publishers said it needed to fit certain specifications of length to be sold; and he went on to say that such publishing companies are owned by or have stock market shares related to petroleum companies...Does any one know where I can find good literature either validating or invalidating such statements with regards to the oil industry influencing college textbooks?--Recoverypsychology 18:09, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Textbook publishing --especially elementary textbooks--is really a separate branch of the publishing industry--See Textbook -- I just noticed it for the first time, and it seems to be a pretty good article. Textbooks naturally do have to be intended to meet the standard pattern of coursework. I am not aware though of any such conglomerate--perhaps he meant a more general comparison with respect to commercial practices. DGG (talk) 03:44, 11 November 2007 (UTC)


Does anybody else see the gross irony of Academic publishing needing citations for more than half a year? What a riot. • Freechild'sup? 18:41, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

seems to be no longer a problem. DGG (talk) 23:55, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Reference formatting[edit]

I'm of the opinion that this section is a little too elementary. The role of citations in scientific papers needs a more extended discussion, here or elsewhere. I've shortened it to the basics. and business writing is not academic publishing, so Ive removed that reference.DGG (talk) 23:55, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

See my comment at....[edit] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:49, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Social Science section[edit]

The paragraph on journals in the social sciences has to be changed. It confuses the quantitative, "hard" nature of the hard sciences with the approach taken in evaluating articles for publication. The hard sciences are not "hard" because they are difficult, they are "hard" because they are quantitative, using cleanly defined and inflexible and therefore quantitatively measurable concepts. Economics is quantitative and therefore less of a "soft" science than the other social sciences, but that does have anything to do with publication standards. Not only does it not mean that publication standards are more quantitative, which the paragraph incorrectly states that they are, but it also does not mean that publication standards are more difficult, which the paragraph implies. The paragraph needs a rewrite. Rlitwin (talk) 18:12, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Political bias section[edit]

It feels like the section is an angry rant rather than a constructive factual informative writing. There might or might not be an issue with political bias in the academia, but there is enough political bias in that section itself, and I don't feel comfortable with it. The section should either be very heavily edited to get the right point across, or deleted completely. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Peer review section[edit]

Reading the current peer review section, several questions pose themselves: 1/ Who the heck is Rena Steinzor and why should we be interested in her/his views? And 2/ If peer review is so bad, why is it still being used after all these failures. Truth, of course, is that although peer review sometimes fails (and every failure is one too many), overall, it works pretty well. And for every breakthrough article that reviewers/editors failed to recognize, there are hundreds if not thousands where things went well. Same for scientific misconduct: those articles where peer review uncovers problems never get published and we don't hear about them. We only hear about cases where things went wrong and a fraudulent article was published... Perhaps this section should be adapted somewhat to make it more evenly worded. --Guillaume2303 (talk) 22:23, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Monograph publishing[edit]

The first paragraphs defines academic publishing in terms of journals, books, and theses, and then goes on to explain academic journals almost exclusively. Academic book publishing is a big industry, about a third of it consisting of university presses and the other two thirds private publishers (like SAGE, Routledge, etc.). There isn't as much discussion of monograph publishing going on right now, because the same crisis in its economic foundations and business models isn't really happening (but is looming on the horizon). But the relative degree of attention that journal versus monograph publishing are getting among scholars shouldn't affect their relative coverage in an encyclopedic article on academic publishing. I'm not saying there's any reason to look for a 50/50 proportion, just pointing out that this article on academic publishing is almost solely about journals. Rlitwin (talk)

Would the book The Art Instinct by Denis Dutton be considered an academic book, a popular book, or both? Some books seem to be both. In the front flap of The Art Instinct, it says: "In this groundbreaking new work, Denis Dutton overturns a century of art theory and criticism and revolutionizes our understanding of the arts." The book does not require specialized knowledge: it is written for the general public. Yet, I understand it offers original research of academic significance - in the fields of aesthetics / art theory / art philosophy, criticism, and evolutionary psychology. I understand that for some disciplines, especially in the humanities, books can be both academic and popular; that is, offering a contribution to human knowledge, but written for the lay audience. I suppose that would be ideal for a researcher, if possible. However, in disciplines where specialized knowledge is required to discuss research, popular books have emerged to serve the purpose of summarizing progress for the general public. This ties into the Different fields section of this talk page. I would indeed be interested in seeing more revelation about the whole hierarchy of publishing in the different fields, from academic to popular, and where applicable, the hybrid of academic and popular (popular academic publishing), with attention to the various mediums, from journals to books. There is no article about popular books in general (that is, books written for the wide audience), and their uses. There are two articles about popular science books, Popular science and Science book. - The Aviv (talk) 04:57, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Bibliometrical rankings of book publishing companies[edit]

This recent addition by Al_Andaluz_Toledano seems neither necessary nor useful. I suggest the edit be undone.

--ChrisSampson87 (talk) 08:44, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Care to explain why you think it's unnecessary and useless? fgnievinski (talk) 16:06, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
I'd be interested to hear why it might be deemed necessary or useful. Though possibly interesting, so much information is not needed on this article. There seems no good reason to give the selected rankings such prominence; no ranking is objective and will change over time. Unlike university rankings, they are not themselves particularly noteworthy. Similar pages (e.g. Academic journal, even College and university rankings) do not present rankings. If rankings were to be included, they should all be in a single table - the current presentation is untidy, consuming a third of the article page space. But a brief paragraph citing the different rankings would suffice, if deemed necessary. --ChrisSampson87 (talk) 08:00, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
Well I think the contributions - especially those by the University of Granada - are major innovations in the field of bibliometry and help us rank publishers by solid quantitative arguments and not just by subjective impressions alone! Al Andaluz Toledano (talk) 13:18, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
@Al Andaluz Toledano: Are you involved in any potential conflict of interest in these rankings that you'd like to disclose? fgnievinski (talk) 18:46, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
@ChrisSampson87: I agree a single paragraph would suffice, and detailed information should be moved into the respective pages: SENSE and Bibliometric Indicators for Publishers. fgnievinski (talk) 18:46, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Keep. I think it's quite useful. No need to hide the results away. These are serious efforts from strong academic units and deal with a topic that academics themselves consider very important when making decisions about hiring and promotion. Rjensen (talk) 18:59, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
At the SENSE article there is a tag asserting that there is a discussion here, about proposal that "portions of Academic_publishing#Bibliometrical rankings of book publishing companies be split from it and merged into [the SENSE] article." I oppose that, as SENSE is an academic program. Its published rankings of academic book publishers is a byproduct, incidental to the article about the academic program. That material is in fact appropriate to be moved from there to an article about academic book publisher rankings, or to a section in article on Academic publishing, instead. FYI, I am inclined to remove the tag advertising discussion from the SENSE article as it just does not make "sense" at all, given the title/topic of that article. --doncram 01:53, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I also think that this stuff does not belong here. After all, we don't rank journal publishers either. Ranking of publishers is, in any case, not a major aspect of "academic publishing" (the subject of this article) and spending such a large part of the article on a minor aspect is undue. --Randykitty (talk) 14:57, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
I disagree with Randykitty and I think the rankings are appropriate for this article. Rjensen (talk) 19:53, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
For the SENSE stuff, see DGG's remarks at Talk:Nova Science Publishers. --Randykitty (talk) 20:01, 3 November 2015 (UTC)
The rankings are totally unreliable--aee my comments. They appear to have been generated for one specific non-typical academic program. They have no general validity whatsoever, not even on the face of it. I suppose they could be mentioned at SENSE, but they should not be presented there. They absolutely do not belong in a more general article. See my prior discussion. I can go into it at length if desired. Bibliometrics is a science, but it is possible to twist bibliometric data to support almost anything, by using them outside the area of validity. RJensen, is a large publisher of many unimportant books of higher quality than a small publisher of highly important books? My answer would be, it depends on what you mean by quality, and since the term has no defined meaning in this context, there's nothing that can be validly measured. I'd say this in terms of the "quality"of an individual book also: the traditional meaning could be either high literary merit, or highly refined technical production, neither of which is relevant in this context either. DGG ( talk ) 04:02, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
DGG is a leading expert here and I will bow to his advice. :) Rjensen (talk) 04:18, 4 November 2015 (UTC)