Academic publishing describes the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal article, book or thesis form. Much, though not all, academic publishing relies on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication.
Most established academic disciplines have their own journals and other outlets for publication, though many academic journals are somewhat interdisciplinary, and publish work from several distinct fields or subfields. The kinds of publications that are accepted as contributions of knowledge or research vary greatly between fields, as do review and publication processes.
Academic publishing is undergoing major changes, emerging from the transition from the print to the electronic format. Business models are different in the electronic environment. Since the early 1990s, licensing of electronic resources, particularly journals, has been very common. Currently, a major trend, particularly with respect to scholarly journals, is open access via the Internet. There are two main forms of open access: open access publishing, in which the articles or the whole journal is freely available from the time of publication; and self-archiving, where authors make a copy of their own work freely available on the web.
STM publishing is a frequently-used abbreviation for academic publications in science, technology, and medicine.
Among the earliest research journals was the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in the 17th century. At that time, the act of publishing academic inquiry was controversial, and widely ridiculed. It was not at all unusual for a new discovery to be announced as an anagram, reserving priority for the discoverer, but indecipherable for anyone not in on the secret: both Isaac Newton and Leibniz used this approach. However, this method did not work well. Robert K. Merton, a sociologist, found that 92% of cases of simultaneous discovery in the 17th century ended in dispute. The number of disputes dropped to 72% in the 18th century, 59% by the latter half of the 19th century, and 33% by the first half of the 20th century. The decline in contested claims for priority in research discoveries can be credited to the increasing acceptance of the publication of papers in modern academic journals.
The Royal Society was steadfast in its not yet popular belief that science could only move forward through a transparent and open exchange of ideas backed by experimental evidence.
In academic publishing, a paper is an academic work that is usually published in an academic journal. It contains original research results or reviews existing results. Such a paper, also called an article, will only be considered valid if it undergoes a process of peer review by one or more referees (who are academics in the same field) in order to check that the content of the paper is suitable for publication in the journal. A paper may undergo a series of reviews, edits and re-submissions before finally being accepted or rejected for publication. This process typically takes several months. Next there is often a delay of many months (or in some subjects, over a year) before publication, particularly for the most popular journals where the number of acceptable articles outnumbers the space for printing. Due to this, many academics offer a 'pre-print' copy of their paper for free download from their personal or institutional website.
Some journals, particularly newer ones, are now published in electronic form only. Paper journals are now generally made available in electronic form as well, both to individual subscribers, and to libraries. Almost always these electronic versions are available to subscribers immediately upon publication of the paper version, or even before; sometimes they are also made available to non-subscribers after an embargo of two to twenty-four months, in order to protect against loss of subscriptions. Journals having this delayed availability are generally called delayed open access journals.
Main article: Peer review
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).
The process of academic publishing is divided into two distinct phases. The process of peer review is organized by the journal editor and is complete when the content of the article, together with any associated images or figures, are accepted for publication. The peer review process is increasingly managed online, through the use of proprietary systems, or commercial software packages such as ScholarOne ManuscriptCentral, Aries Editorial Manager, and EJournalPress.
Once peer review has been completed, the original author(s) of the article will modify their submission in line with the reviewers' comments, and this is repeated until the editor is satisfied.
The production process, controlled by a production editor or publisher, then takes an article through copy editing, typesetting, inclusion in a specific issue of a journal, and then printing and online publication. Copy editing seeks to ensure that an article conforms to the journal's house style, that all of the referencing and labelling is correct, and that there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Typesetting deals with the appearance of the article — layouts, fonts, headings etc., both for print and online publication. Historically, these activities were all carried out in-house in a publisher, but increasingly are subject to outsourcing. The majority of typesetting is probably now done in India and China, and copy editing is frequently done by local freelancers, or by staff at the typesetters in India or China. Even printing and distribution are now tending to move overseas to lower-cost areas of the world, such as Singapore.
In much of the 20th century, such articles were photographed for printing into proceedings and journals, and this stage were known as "camera ready" copy. With modern digital submission in formats such as PDF, this photographing step is no longer necessary, though the term is still sometimes used.
The author will review and correct proofs at one or more stages in the production process. The proof correction cycle has historically been labour-intensive as handwritten comments by authors and editors are manually transcribed by a proof reader onto a clean version of the proof. In recent years, this process has been streamlined by the introduction of e-annotations in Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, and other program, but it still remains a time-consuming and error-prone process.
The American Psychological Association (APA) style is often used in the social sciences. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is used in business, communications, economics, and history. The CMS style uses footnotes at the bottom of page to help readers easy to locate the sources. The Modern Language Association (MLA) style is widely used in the humanities.
Role of References and citations in academic writing
There are three important aspects for documenting sources. First, it also helps writers to give credits to other people and avoid plagiarism by identifying the sources. Secondly, it helps the writers to support their assertions and arguments. Finally, it helps readers to look for sources used in the paper and can find more information on the subject.
Publishing by discipline
Main article: Scientific literature
Most scientific research is initially published in scientific journals and considered to be a primary source; see that article for details. Technical reports, for minor research results and engineering and design work (including computer software) round out the primary literature. Secondary sources in the sciences include articles in review journals (which provide a synthesis of research articles on a topic to highlight advances and new lines of research), and books for large projects, broad arguments, or compilations of articles. Tertiary sources might include encyclopedias and similar works intended for broad public consumption.
A partial exception to scientific publication practices is in many fields of applied science, particularly that of U.S. computer science research. An equally prestigious site of publication within U.S. computer science are some academic conferences. Reasons for this departure include a large number of such conferences, the quick pace of research progress due to Moore's Law, and computer science professional society support for the distribution and archiving of conference proceedings.
Publishing in the social sciences is very different in different fields. Some fields, like economics, may have very "hard" or highly quantitative standards for publication, much like the natural sciences. Others, like anthropology or sociology, emphasize field work and reporting on first-hand observation as well as quantitative work. Some social science fields, such as public health or demographics, have significant shared interests with professions like law and medicine, and scholars in these fields often also publish in professional magazines.
Publishing in the humanities is in principle similar to publishing elsewhere in the academy; a range of journals, from general to extremely specialized, are available, and university presses print many new humanities books every year.
Scholarly publishing requirements in the humanities (as well as some social sciences) are currently a subject of significant controversy within the academy. The following describes the situation in the United States. In many fields, such as literature and history, several published articles are typically required for a first tenure-track job, and a published or forthcoming book is now often required before tenure. Some critics complain that this de facto system has emerged without thought to its consequences; they claim that the predictable result is the publication of much shoddy work, as well as unreasonable demands on the already limited research time of young scholars. To make matters worse, the circulation of many humanities journals in the 1990s declined to almost untenable levels, as many libraries cancelled subscriptions, leaving fewer and fewer peer-reviewed outlets for publication; and many humanities professors' first books sell only a few hundred copies, which often does not pay for the cost of their printing. Some scholars have called for a publication subvention of a few thousand dollars to be associated with each graduate student fellowship or new tenure-track hire, in order to alleviate the financial pressure on journals.
Distribution and business aspects for Open access journals
The rival to this subscription model is the open access journal model. (This is also known as "author-pays" or "paid on behalf of the author." ) where a publication charge is paid by the author, his university, or the agency which provides his research grant. The online distribution of individual articles and academic journals then takes place without charge to readers and libraries. Committing to the open access community means dispensing with the financial, technical, and legal barriers that have been designed to limit access to academic materials to paying customers. The Public Library of Science and BioMed Central are prominent and successful examples of this model.
Corporate interests often criticize the principle of open access on quality grounds, as the desire to obtain publishing fees would cause the journal to relax the standard of peer review. It is often criticized on financial grounds as well, because the necessary publication fees have proven to be higher than originally estimated. Open access advocates generally reply that because open access is as much based on peer reviewing as traditional publishing, the quality should be the same (recognizing that both traditional and open access journals have a range of quality). It has been argued that good science done by academic institutions who cannot afford to pay for open access might not get published at all, but most open access journals permit the waiver of the fee for financial hardship or authors in underdeveloped countries. By October 2006, it has become clear that open access journals are feasible in at least some situations, and some can be financially viable without outside funding. It remains unclear whether this is applicable to all--or even most-- journals.
A variant of this model, Hybrid open access publishing has developed since 2004. In this system, those articles that have a fee paid are made available open access immediately; the others are either made available after a delay, or remain available only by subscription. During 2004, many of the traditional publishers (including Blackwell Publishing , Oxford University Press, Springer Science+Business Media and Wharton School Publishing) introduced such models, and the move is continuing to spread. Proponents of open access suggest that such moves by corporate publishers illustrate that open access, or a mix of open access and traditional publishing can be financially viable, and evidence to that effect is emerging. It remains unclear whether this is practical in fields outside the sciences, where there is much less availability of outside funding. In 2006, several funding agencies, including the Wellcome Trust in the UK and several divisions of the Research Councils UK (UKRC) announced the availability of extra funding to their grantees for such publication fees.
New models of academic publishing
When publishing is not seen as a single act, but rather as an initiation of a process, an opening frame for collaboration, new models of academic publishing can emerge.
Publishing in wikis
Academic Publishing Wiki service offered at Wikia introduces wiki model into academic publishing that has a chance to make specialized knowledge generation really more transparent, just as Wikipedia revolutionized how we think about general knowledge, and just as Wikia Search have a chance to revolutionize how we think about search.
- Jonathan Culler and Kevin Lamb. Just being difficult? : academic writing in the public arena Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0804747091
- William Germano. Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious About Serious Books. ISBN 0-226-28844-7.
- Wellington, J. J. Getting published : a guide for lecturers and researcherLondon ; New York : RoutledgeFalmer, 2003. ISBN 0415298474
- John A. Goldsmith et al. "Teaching and Research" in The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career. ISBN 0-226-30151-6.
- Cary Nelson and Stephen Watt. "Scholarly Books" and "Peer Review" in Academic Keywords: A Devil's Dictionary for Higher Education. ISBN 0-415-92203-8.
- Carol Tenopir and Donald King. "Towards Electronic Journals: Realities for Librarians and Publishers. SLA, 2000. ISBN 0-87111-507-7.
- Björk, B-C. (2007) "A model of scientific communication as a global distributed information system" Information Research, 12(2) paper 307. [Available at http://InformationR.net/ir/12-2/paper307.html or http://www.sciencemodel.net/]
- Academic authorship
- Academic conference
- Acknowledgment index
- Academic journal
- Citation index
- Impact Factor
- JSTOR - Online archive of Academic Journals
- Law review — the generic term for a journal of legal scholarship in the United States, often operating by rules radically different from those for most other academic publishing
- List of scientific journals
- List of academic databases and search engines
- Moving wall
- Open access
- Open access publishing
- Peer review
- Scholarly method
- Scientific method
- Scientific literature
- Survey article
- Grudin, Jonathan (April 2-7 2005). "Why CHI Fragmented". CHI '05 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Portland, Oregon: ACM Press. pp. 1083–1084. Check date values in:
- Marek Niezgódka (2005): Virtual Library of Science and the way towards a unified multimodal digital platform of knowledge resources in Poland, ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/ist/docs/ka4/au_niezgodka_ws150905_en.pdf
- Costs of publishing an article - publication charg, processing fee,.. source: BMC
- Libertas Academica Open access publishing in medicine and the biological sciences
- Online research collaboration tool for students
- "Who Owns John Sutherland?" by John Sutherland, a discussion of publishing from the London Review of Books.
- "How to Write a Scientific Paper" by E. R. Schulman, Annals of Improbable Research, Vol. 2, No. 5 (1996).
- New Scientist, 30 August 2005, "Most scientific papers are probably wrong"
- "Links for writing a scientific paper"
- Public Library of Science
- Scholarly publishing bibliography compiled by Charles W. Bailey, Jr., updated frequently
- Reported crisis in scholarly publishing
- Crisis in Scholarly Publishing: Executive Summary, by Stephen Boyd and Andrew Herkovic (1999)
- The Future of Scholarly Publishing (from the Modern Language Association, (2001))
- The Crisis in Scholarly Communication (2002?)
- Understanding the Economic Burden of Scholarly Publishing, by Cathy N. Davidson (2003)
- The Scholarly Communication Crisis (2004)
- A Failure in Communications, The metamorphosis of academic publishing by Brian Evans (2006)
- The Crisis in Scientific Publishing (University of Maryland, frequently updated.)