In the search for a publisher, different kinds of journals will have different priorities. Is your journal brand-new? Is the field emerging or well established? Is the journal affiliated with a society? As part of our series on journals publishing, we’ve thought about a few things to consider when selecting a publishing partner for your journal.
The Small Independent Journal
Perhaps you launched a small journal a few years ago, taking advantage of affordable digital publishing tools to run the whole operation yourselves. Your journal has developed a strong voice in its field, but it may lack a stable foothold in the market. You are ready to grow and are looking for a partner to help you scale up. Some questions to consider:
- Does the publisher have a proven track record of helping young journals evolve and attract stronger submissions?
- Joining library aggregations or collections can dramatically increase your journal’s circulation. What options does the publisher provide?
- Do they publish other good books and journals in your field? Is the marketing team already connected to the audience that you want to reach?
- Whether your journal has offered traditional subscriptions or is open access, you may want to reassess your long-term business model. Do the publisher’s suggestions seem realistic and sustainable? Do they reflect your journal’s mission and goals?
If you have a long-established, leading journal and are considering a change, you may be thinking about how your publisher fits into your academic mission. Perhaps you’d like to set an example for your peers and participate in non-profit, affordable, or even open access publishing models, but you also don’t want to jeopardize your revenue. You may be looking for a partner that can balance those priorities.
- Does the publisher have experience publishing top-ranked, field-defining journals?
- Do they have a positive relationship with its library customers and a good reputation in the industry?
- What is their current international sales and marketing reach?
- How do their subscription prices compare to their peers’ prices? How do prices change from year to year?
- How strong is their list of books and journals in your field? Overall size may matter less than strength in your particular arena.
If you’re starting a journal from scratch, you’ve probably been planning for years. You know exactly what gap the journal will fill in its field. You’ve lined up a list of editorial board members and potential authors, and you’ve already discussed special issue topics at conferences and workshops. But you may be looking for outside expertise when it comes to the nuts and bolts of publishing.
- Does the publisher provide enough customization to let you realize your vision of the journal?
- Are their journals designed with readability and a contemporary aesthetic in mind?
- Do your potential partners share your ambition and enthusiasm? Do they recognize why your title is important to its field?
- Will they help you develop a funding plan to support the journal as it gets off the ground?
- What’s their strategy for getting your journal into libraries and online discovery services from the very first issue?
When a society depends on your journal to fund its operations, you need a reliable publisher behind you. Worry-free quality, predictable profits, and membership support may be your highest priorities.
- Do you trust the publisher to offer outstanding editing and production services?
- How many special society services do you need? Some publishers only handle memberships while others provide a range of services, such as organizing your conferences.
- Where does your society fit in this publisher’s list of priorities? Are you a key partner receiving personal, VIP treatment?
- Does the publisher provide a dedicated and experienced point of contact?
- Is the publisher thriving and growing, with a secure financial future?
- Does the publisher offer an online platform that provides essential functionality to society members?
Do you have questions about your own journal? We’d be happy to discuss your publishing goals and what kind of partnership might be a good fit for you. Please contact Erich Staib, Senior Editor, to learn more. Learn more about journals publishing with our ongoing series.