Information Studies


INST0051 - Academic and Journals Publishing

The aim of this module is to provide students with historical context and an up to date working knowledge of the academic publishing sector, including current developments. The opportunities for publishers within this area are varied and exciting, providing exposure to cutting-edge ideas and researchers with an international outlook and global importance.

Academic publishing, and its supporting services, represents by far the largest and most important area of publishing in terms of revenues and employment. Knowledge sharing continues to expand as research centres in previously closed marketplaces (such as in India, East-Asia and more recently South-America) enter the global market. Books and journals remain the most common forms in which research is disseminated but technological developments are advancing (specifically in the areas of dissemination, metadata and analytics) and where varied types of publisher draw skills, inspiration and business models. It is an area of publishing uniquely drawn into institutional, governmental and international policy-making.

This module will run throughout the spring term. Students will be introduced to the core concepts surrounding scholarly communication and dissemination, key stakeholders and operational and strategic requirements of an academic publisher.

Topics include: scholarly communication, peer review, process management, "impact" measurement, analytics, discipline variance, open access (OA), financial and business modelling. Some attention will be given to the differences between trade, academic, education and professional publishers. Students will benefit from guest speakers with experience from within industry leading publishing houses across various disciplines.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the motivations and developments which underpin our contemporary understanding of "scholarly communication".
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the current opportunities or challenges which face academic publishers, researchers and readers.
  • Develop an understanding of academic business strategy, policies and market developments outside of classroom learning.

Assessment: An academic essay or report of no more than 3000 words.

Term 2: Optional for students on the MA in Publishing programme.

Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this module.

Module Leader: Jon Newbury

Further information for students currently taking this module