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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: March 2013

10 - Contract publishing



It has been said that as soon as the number of scholars in a given subject area reaches 500, two events generally occur: a society is formed and a new journal is launched. Although many societies publish their own journals, the majority of society journals are published under contract. Many new and smaller societies (and indeed some large ones) prefer to partner with a publisher to launch a new journal. The partner could be a commercial publisher, a non-profit University Press, or a related larger society with its own publishing program. (See discussion of societies’ role in journal publishing in Chapter 1, Introduction to journals.)

While this chapter addresses contract publishing for societies, a journal may equally be owned by other bodies such as an academic department at a university or an independent institute. In addition, the “publisher” may also be a society that publishes its own journal and offers publishing services to other societies. The same procedures generally apply.

Partnering with a publisher to launch a new journal offers a society a number of advantages:

It allows the society to concentrate on its mission to serve its members and advance the field.

It allows the society to retain ownership of the journal without the financial risk of self-publishing.

It provides a reduced-rate publication to members, again without the financial risk of self-publishing.

It provides access to a depth of publishing and marketing expertise which would be difficult to match for a single title.

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The Handbook of Journal Publishing
  • Online ISBN: 9781139107860
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Morris, Sally, 2007, Mapping the journal landscape: how much do we know?, Learned Publishing 20: 299–310 ()
UKSG, 2008, The Transfer Code of Practice, Version 2.0 ()
Further reading
Ashman, Pete, 2009, What societies want from a publishing partner, Learned Publishing 22: 209–19 ()
Association for Learning Technology, 2011, Journal tendering for societies: a brief guide ()
Bull, David, and Hezlet, Susan, 2000, What do societies and publishers want from publishing partnerships?, Learned Publishing 13: 205–7 ()
Campbell, Robert, 2010, Publishing partnerships can help society journals, Research Information April–May ()
International Council for Science, 1999, Guidelines for scientific publishing, Paris, ICSU Press ()
International Society of Addiction Journal Editors, 2010, Proposal for journal agreements with publishers and sponsoring organizations, project proposal ()
Singleton, Alan, 1981, Learned societies and journal publishing, Journal of Information Science 3: 211–26 ()
Ware, Mark, 2008, Choosing a publishing partner: advice for societies and associations, Learned Publishing 21: 22–8 ()