Self-Publishing: Things to Consider

We live in a DIY society. Whether it’s knitting a sweater or building a deck, many of us derive great satisfaction from the sense of ownership and pride that comes from starting something from scratch.  In recent years, there has been a rise in self-published journals. But as with the home DIY project, there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. Below we discuss some of the advantages of working with a publisher, as part of our Journals Publishing Series, and some of the specific benefits of working with Duke University Press.

Quality and reputation

Partnering with a university press comes with a certain sense of established prestige. University presses are known to offer a supportive platform for emerging scholarship in new or existing fields and the quality and attention university presses give to a journal, especially one that is not yet established, adds authority and credibility. Another huge advantage is utilizing a university press’s editorial advisory board. The depth and rigor of the editorial advisory board approval process results in great publications a reader can trust.

Marketing and sales

Publishing a journal involves more than editorial and production work. To reach more readers, dedicated marketing is necessary. University presses have departments focused solely on this aspect of publishing. Marketing professionals represent the journal at conferences, create promotional materials, publicize content, offer direct marketing options, and work with academic libraries to make a journal visible to its readers throughout the world.

Online presence and digital discoverability

With the proliferation of online content, publishing has become more complex in the past few decades. While it may be simple and affordable to post a PDF online, it is not easy to make online content discoverable, and searchable. University presses have a secure online presence and contribute to digital discoverability through their work with Google, indexers, and librarians to help users find content. Because of this, university presses can help journals reach their best (and right) audiences.

Partnership and community

We all know that funding for universities and libraries is being cut around the world. As divisions of their universities, university presses are invested in supporting the whole scholarly community rather than gaining profits for their shareholders. University presses have incentive to keep scholarship affordable.

Publishing with Duke University Press

Duke University Press offers high-quality publishing services, with the standards, flexibility, and personal and individual touches that are trademarks of the best US university presses. We combine these traditional qualities with the commercial know-how and economies of scale that come from publishing 50+ journals. Our commitment to achieving the highest level of publication quality positions Duke University Press uniquely among academic publishers. Our publishing partners can rely with confidence on the stability of Duke University Press.

At Duke University Press, our marketing team promotes journals all over the globe through exhibits, web marketing, advertising, catalogs, publicity, social media, direct marketing, support for indexing and abstracting, and circulation. We work closely with editorial offices to make sure we reach the most targeted audiences for the journal. We offer subscriptions and back issues of our journals at Our humanities content appears online at We partner with Project Euclid to host our mathematics content online at

Those journals that decide to partner with Duke University Press benefit not only from our broad publishing expertise, but also from our staff’s genuine enthusiasm and attention. We invest our energy, ideas, and time into our publishing partnerships. We care about what we do and are committed to providing the best services possible over the long term. We exist to share the ideas of bold and progressive thinkers and support emerging fields of scholarship.

Contact Erich Staib, Senior Editor, for more information regarding our journals publishing program at Duke University Press and stay up to date with our current series on journals publishing. Learn more about the things publishers do in a post written by Kent Anderson on the Scholarly Kitchen, a scholarly publishing blog.

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