More journal articles and fewer books: Publication practices in the social sciences in the 2010’s

Authors : William E. Savage, Anthony J. Olejniczak

The number of scholarly journal articles published each year is growing, but little is known about the relationship between journal article growth and other forms of scholarly dissemination (e.g., books and monographs).

Journal articles are the de facto currency of evaluation and prestige in STEM fields, but social scientists routinely publish books as well as articles, representing a unique opportunity to study increased article publications in disciplines with other dissemination options.

We studied the publishing activity of social science faculty members in 12 disciplines at 290 Ph.D. granting institutions in the United States between 2011 and 2019, asking: 1) have publication practices changed such that more or fewer books and articles are written now than in the recent past?; 2) has the percentage of scholars actively participating in a particular publishing type changed over time?; and 3) do different age cohorts evince different publication strategies?

In all disciplines, journal articles per person increased between 3% and 64% between 2011 and 2019, while books per person decreased by at least 31% and as much as 54%. All age cohorts show increased article authorship over the study period, and early career scholars author more articles per person than the other cohorts in eight disciplines.

The article-dominated literatures of the social sciences are becoming increasingly similar to those of STEM disciplines.

URL : More journal articles and fewer books: Publication practices in the social sciences in the 2010’s


Who’s writing open access (OA) articles? Characteristics of OA authors at Ph.D.-granting institutions in the United States

Authors : Anthony J. Olejniczak, Molly J. Wilson

The open access (OA) publication movement aims to present research literature to the public at no cost and with no restrictions.

While the democratization of access to scholarly literature is a primary focus of the movement, it remains unclear whether OA has uniformly democratized the corpus of freely available research, or whether authors who choose to publish in OA venues represent a particular subset of scholars—those with access to resources enabling them to afford article processing charges (APCs).

We investigated the number of OA articles with article processing charges (APC OA) authored by 182,320 scholars with known demographic and institutional characteristics at American research universities across 11 broad fields of study.

The results show, in general, that the likelihood for a scholar to author an APC OA article increases with male gender, employment at a prestigious institution (AAU member universities), association with a STEM discipline, greater federal research funding, and more advanced career stage (i.e., higher professorial rank).

Participation in APC OA publishing appears to be skewed toward scholars with greater access to resources and job security.