Types of Journal Publishers

When choosing to publish your journal article, it's important to note that there are different publishing models for journals that can impact how you want to communicate your intellectual works. This choice can impact how often your article is read, cited, and discussed.

Commercial Publishers

Access to articles published with commercial publishers is traditionally through subscriptions, print or electronic. The library or university pays annual fees so that the university community has reasonable access. Authors go through a peer-review process and most of the time are asked to sign over their copyright to the publisher. There are some commercial publishers that are adjusting their policies in order to be competitive in the open access era, allowing author self-archiving or deposit in repositories after a specific period of time. Subscription prices for commercially published journals have, on average, risen much faster than inflation during the last two decades. Some examples of major commercial publishers are Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley.

Society Publishers and University Presses

Access to articles published with society publishers is usually part of a membership fee or paid as a subscription. The library or university pays society publishers a lower rate on average than commercially published works. Increasingly, society publishers are partnering with commercial publishers or larger institutions for infrastructure and support.

University Presses publish works of scholarly, intellectual, or creative merit, often for a small audience of specialists or a regional community of interest. The Association of American University Presses can provide examples and give you more information about these organizations. The University of Minnesota Press specializes in the humanities and social sciences as well as works about Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

Non-Profit Non-Society Publishers

Non-profit organizations in particular are becoming involved in publishing open access journals with the goals of updating scholarly communication and making research into a freely available public resource. PLOS ONE and PeerJ are examples of this type of publisher.

Library Publishers

Access to articles published with library publishers is typically open, with the author retaining their rights to their work. The library supports the hosting, access and preservation of the journal. Library publishing platforms allow for a variety of works to be supported; from traditional peer-reviewed journals to student journals that are quality controlled. The Library Publishing Coalition can provide examples and give you more information about these institutions. The University of Minnesota Libraries offers publishing services to our affiliates.

Institutional and Subject Repositories

A repository’s purpose is to house and preserve the intellectual output of either the institution or subject discipline. A growing number of research funders are now making it a condition of grant that a duplicate of any research paper be placed in a repository for open access.

Institutional Repositories or Digital Repositories

Depending on the institution’s deposit policy, repositories contain working papers, pre- and post- prints of published works, teaching materials, technical reports, manuscripts, theses, conference proceedings, newsletters, and other published and unpublished materials that represent the discipline’s or institution’s intellectual property. Although publication agreements often require authors to cede copyrights to publishers, many commercial publishers allow some form of local archiving.

Subject-based Repositories

Subject or discipline based repositories are most common in those fields where researchers are accustomed to communicating their work to each other through informal networks before publication or, due to rapidly developing aspects of their field, need to get their research out quickly. The longest-established subject repository is arXiv, which was established in 1991 and covers the disciplines of physics and related subjects. PubMed Central, begun in February 2000, is the National Institutes of Health free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

Open Access Policy

University of Minnesota authors should be aware of our institution's Open Access Policy, which creates additional opportunities for authors who wish to deposit an open access copy of the article in the institution’s open digital archive, the University Digital Conservancy.

Open Scholarship & Publishing Services

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