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Scholarly Publishing

Provides information about journals, books, and open access for authors looking to publish scholarly works.


Scholarly Publishing refers to the formal publication of outputs of scholarly research (e.g., articles, books, and conference proceedings). 

Scholarly Communication is a more general term that includes scholarly publishing along with the outputs of scholarship. This includes both formal and informal outputs of scholarship -- from peer-reviewed articles and books to blogs, emails, video communications, or posts on social media platforms.

What’s in this toolkit

This toolkit focuses on formal scholarly publishing -- articles and books in particular -- with information about additional topics such as preregistering a studyposting a preprint of an article and sharing research data. This guide is a starting point and disciplinary practices vary. In this guide, we cover the following topics:

  • Preparing to Publish: Defining goals for publishing and sharing content, authorship, preregistration, data management plans, manuscript and citation style, preprints
  • Publishing an Article: Types of articles, choosing a journal, writing a cover letter, peer review
  • Publishing a Book: Choosing a publisher, writing a book proposal, peer review, publishing a book from a dissertation
  • After Acceptance: Rights of authors, negotiating a contract, depositing your work open access, sharing data, and tracking impact
  • Copyright Considerations: Reusing third-party content and help available in the Library Copyright Office

Trends in scholarly publishing

  • A move to online publishing (more recently for monographs)
  • A consolidation of academic publishing by for-profit publishers.
  • For instance, a study published in 2015 found that more than half of academic peer reviewed papers were published by one of the five largest publishers: Elsevier, Wiley, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and SAGE.
  • Rising prices of academic library subscriptions to publisher content
  • Reduced library budgets
  • Increased concern about the integrity of academic research (e.g., the “replication crisis”)
  • Increased desire for "Open Access" publishing (see our guide on Open Access). Some journals now require fees for authors to publish Open Access, or Article Processing Charges. These fees may place burdens on authors, particularly for scholars who may not have adequate funding.

Increased concerns related to diversity and social justice

  • Increased attention to the lack of diversity in the academy and in scholarly publishing in particular
  • Increased awareness of bias and systemic racism in scholarly publishing that affect scholarly publishing processes
  • Increased awareness of the benefits of publishing open access
  • Increased awareness that open access on its own does not address structural inequalities
  • For essays on issues of diversity and social justice in scholarly communication, see: Eve, M. P., & Gray, J. (Eds.). (2020). Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access

Libraries' Ongoing Work

In response to these changes, libraries are working on their own and with publishers to develop models of publishing that better align with the missions and values of institutions of higher education. For instance, the University of Michigan offers a variety of discounts and publishing options for authors to disseminate their work.