Report Open Access

Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research

Fyfe, Aileen; Coate, Kelly; Curry, Stephen; Lawson, Stuart; Moxham, Noah; Røstvik, Camilla Mørk

In 2013, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council funded a 4-year project on
the editorial and commercial history of the world’s oldest-surviving scholarly journal
(‘Publishing the Philosophical Transactions: a social, cultural and economic history of
a learned journal, 1665-2015’, AH/K001841). The project is led by Dr Aileen Fyfe at the
University of St Andrews in partnership with the Royal Society.

The project team convened a workshop at the Royal Society, 22 April 2016, on ‘The Politics
of Academic Publishing, 1950-2016’. This briefing paper is informed by the contributions
of those who attended that day, and we thank them for their insights. The authors of this
briefing paper are a sub-group of those who attended the April 2016 workshop.

This report is based upon the primary (historical) research of the Philosophical
Transactions project team, combined with a literature review, and the expertise of the other
authors (principally in higher education research, and in scholarly communication).

We are grateful for the comments of our critical friends: Rick Anderson, Sue Clegg,
Steven Hill, Nick Hillman, John MacColl, Sally Mapstone, Cameron Neylon, and Stuart Taylor.

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