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Mapping the journal publishing landscape: how much do we know?

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In debates about journals, their publishers and the future of both, it is important to be clear about what we are discussing. In this article, the sparse existing literature is surveyed, and original sources examined to provide further detail. The membership lists of six leading publishing associations, and the websites of their members, were also studied. More than half of all peer-reviewed journals in Ulrich's are published by or on behalf of/in association with nonprofit organizations. Other than the top few commercial publishers, there is little difference in size between the two types; the 'long tail' of publishers are small and therefore vulnerable, and yet most are not represented by any trade association. The majority of journals come from the USA or the UK. Nonprofits launch fewer new journals, but are also less likely to close journals. The quality advantage of nonprofit journals may be reducing, but nonprofit journals still predominate among the most highly cited journals.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

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    Learned Publishing will be moving to Wiley-Blackwell as of January 1, 2016. Please contact the publisher at for information on how to continue access to this title.

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