Your choice of publisher affects how often your work is read, cited, and discussed.

Characteristics of commercial publishers

  • Access to journal articles is usually through subscriptions, print or electronic, usually paid by university libraries.
  • Subscription prices have risen much faster than inflation and much faster than libraries’ budgets.
  • Some publishers have "hybrid open access" models in which authors pay a fee to make their article openly available to all readers, while the rest of the journal remains subscription-access.
  • Authors are usually asked to sign away their copyright. Learn how to Manage Your Rights to protect your control over your work.
  • Some publishers allow the author to archive their article in a repository after a specified embargo period. SHERPA/RoMEO provides information on publisher policies.

Characteristics of society publishers and university presses

  • Access to society publishers’ journals and books is usually part of a membership fee or paid as a subscription.
  • Some society publishers partner with commercial publishers.
  • University presses often focus on a specialist audience or a regional community of interest. See the Association of American University Presses for more information.
  • The University of Minnesota Press specializes in the humanities and social sciences as well as works about Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

Characteristics of non-profit, non-society publishers

  • Some non-profits are formed to create open access journals, making research into a freely available public resource. Examples include PLOS ONE and PeerJ.

Characteristics of library publishers

  • Provide preservation of journals/books as well as hosting and access.
  • Support a variety of works, from traditional peer-reviewed journals to student-run journals.
  • Publications are usually open access.
  • Authors usually retain their rights to their work.
  • The University of Minnesota Libraries' Publishing offers publishing services to all U affiliates.See the Library Publishing Coalition for more examples.

Characteristics of self publishing

  • Print or electronic formats, or both, are available.
  • Authors can experiment with pricing and distribution models to earn money and/or achieve wider distribution.
  • Usually lacks editorial support or benefit from an established publisher’s reputation.

Characteristics of institutional and subject repositories

  • Intended to make intellectual output available and preserve it.
  • Can be used to get research out quickly.
  • May contain published and unpublished materials: working papers, pre-prints, teaching materials, technical reports, manuscripts, theses, conference proceedings, newsletters, etc.
  • Many research funders require all resulting research papers to be deposited in an open-access repository.
  • A traditional publication agreement may allow archiving in a repository, or an author can negotiate to retain this right. U researchers can also use the U’s Open Access Policy to deposit a copy in the University Digital Conservancy.

Characteristics of federal agency repositories

  • If you receive funding from a federal agency, check their policy to see if you are required to deposit a copy of your research products in a specific sharing venue.


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