There is a newer version of the record available.

Published April 5, 2024 | Version v1
Preprint Open

You don't know what you've got till it's gone: The changing landscape of UK learned society publishing

  • 1. Research Consulting


This study draws on a longitudinal dataset of 277 UK learned societies covering the period 2015-2023 to provide evidence-based insights into the changing landscape of society publishing. It identifies a rapid decline in the number of self-published societies and an increasingly complex outsourcing landscape. New publishing partnerships are emerging with university presses and other not-for-profit entities rather than commercial publishers, while all but the largest UK societies have seen their publishing revenues decline in real terms since 2015. In general, UK learned society publishers are seeing their influence wane as market conditions favour publishing models focussed on quantity rather than quality. The decline of independent society publishers represents an unintended consequence of the transition to open access, but the trend towards increased outsourcing may be based on flawed assumptions. Analysis of financial data for a subset of 21 societies indicates that self-published societies have achieved sustained growth in their revenues from publishing while societies with publishing partners have seen a significant decline. For those societies with the means and the will to publish journals in their own right, this study provides compelling evidence for retaining, or even reclaiming, their independence.


You don't know what you've got till it's gone - Preprint.pdf

Files (719.7 kB)

Additional details

Related works

Dataset: 10.5281/zenodo.10933120 (DOI)