Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Resources and Services

An introduction to scholarly communication and various resources for researchers at UWG.

Traditional publishing in the academy occurs via:

  • University Presses (I.e. Oxford, Univ of KY, Duke)
  • Presses run by Professional Associations   (Society Biblical Literature, APA, etc).  
  • Some Commercial Presses that may have academic divisions or imprints :  Elsivier, Sage, Some imprints of Harper Collins -- for example.

What the author typically pays for with traditional publishing: 

1)  Book/monograph  indexing  --- Publishers typically expect faculty to create their own indexes for their books.  Clauses in book contracts my specify that if the faculty member elects for the press to do this instead, the cost of the indexing will be deducted from any royalties.  

2)  Article Submission Fees -- Not every publisher charges fees for submission of articles. This is more typical in the sciences than in the humanities.  These fees help defray the costs of reading and the review process given some publishers receive (and reject) many more manuscripts than those that make it to publication where they have the potential to generate income for the press.  This prevents the costs for administrating the review process from swamping the press.  

Expenses assumed by the publisher if it is a traditional publishing model

1)   Peer review (articles) or manuscript/book proposal review/evaluation by outside readers in the field.

2)   Copy Editing & Line Editing

3)  Some correcting to house style (for some authors, in some circumstances, in some cases).  Note, Authors are encouraged to try to follow .\

4)  Some assistance with graphic preparation.  (note, Not every University Press has a graphics department that can offer this service, but will simply go to press with author prepared diagrams and charts.  In .those cases authors sometimes choose to contract out of pocket with an external graphic designer to create print ready graphics for submission to the press with the final manuscript).    

4)  Layout, page, and cover design.

5) Oversize pages, excessive thickness (binding), colored graphics.  

6)  Proofreading

7)  Printing and/or platforms for Ebooks.

8) Copyright Registration

9)  Marketing and promotion, which may include

  • Listing on publisher's website and in any printed catalogs
  • Promoted at publisher booths at appropriate academic conferences
  • Review copies to appropriate journals in the field  (publisher may ask author for recommendations of most appropriate titles).  
  • Perhaps light advertising of other sorts. 

10) Distribution   (shipping and or making available for sale to bookstores and library distributors).  




What is a Subvention (Subsidy) Press?

Although still offering peer review of manuscripts, the costs of publication are split between author and publisher.  

Subvention publishing occupies the space between traditional publishing and open access publishing.  

Examples of subsidy presses include The Edwin Mellon Press as well as the Pickwick imprint of Wipf  & Stock. There are several others.   

For journal publishers, increasingly there are subvention fees.  Such fees are more prevalent for articles in some disciplines than others.  

Why Are There Subsidy Presses?  

Many worthy academic publications have small audiences and subsequently are published at a loss.  Perodical subscriptions or book sales are not sufficient to cover the costs of publication.  The publisher charges the author fees to bridge the gap between sales and production costs.  

Strategies Publishers Use for Subsidies 

One or all of the following strategies may be in force with a particular publisher.  It is wise to ask a publisher up-front about fees and/or to carefully read the "about" page of. a potential publishers website.  

  • Shifting Some Production Tasks to Author:  For example, submission files from the author may require special fonts, margins, spacing so they are essentially camera ready and cut down on the press' typesetting charges.  
  • In the case of books:  
    • No royalties are paid (for books), but author may not be charged fees 
    • Or, royalties for book publications are paid only after a certain number of sales.  Note, many books may never reach the threshold to generate royalty income. 
  • Up Front Fees to Author (in this model,  for books, royalties are sometimes paid to author for every copy sold; articles are a type of publication that don't generate royalites).:   
    • Surcharges for oversize formats or extra wide volumes; color images; foreign languages, footnotes, equations, scientific symbols
    • Fees for specific elements of processing:  Editing, cover design, ISBN, etc.  
    • Flat fee:  Article Processing Charges, Manuscript per page charges, flat manuscript processing charge.  

Reasons to Consider Use of a Subsidy Publisher for Book Manuscripts:

  • Are open to publishing types of academic work that are infrequently accepted by traditional publishers (lightly revised dissertations, Festschriften, collections of papers given at a small, local conference),   
  • Will sometimes publish worthy works or narrow or niche subjects with few readers.  These are often works that traditional publishers can't afford to publish.
  • Cutting edge works -- May publish worthy, well-researched works that are experimental -- ie,  use new methods or have controversial content that may not find ready acceptance with the audiences of mainstream publishers.  
  • Quicker Turnaround for Unsolicited Manuscripts:  Subsidy publishers may have a more rapid peer review and editorial decision-making timeline than traditional publishers.  Traditional publishers, by contrast, may prioritize review of solicited manuscripts (subject editors at traditional publishing houses may invite proposals for specific books that they believe have an eager readership).

Cautions about Subsidy Publishers for Book Authors

  • Depending on discipline, may not have sufficient prestige to satisfy promotion and tenure committees of a work's worth.
  • Some libraries do not collect works produced at subsidy presses unless a faculty member specifically requests a specific title be added to the collection or the book arrives as a donation.   
  • Publishing with a subsidy press can be costly for an author.   


What is Self Publishing?  

Self-Publishing is a model in which the author/creator assumes all of the costs of brining the book or article to the general public.  Usually publishing houses that offer self-publishing will offer a series of ala carte services that authors may choose to purchase, such as cover design, proofreading, layout and so forth.

In contrast with subsidy publishing, self publishing often does not include a peer review process.  Instead, the publisher will produce any manuscript who's author is willing to pay.

Self-Publishing presses are sometimes known as "Vanity Presses" and self-published works often don't meet criteria for promotion and tenure in some research intensive schools in academy.  

When is Self Publishing Appropriate for Academics?

Time is of the essence. The lack of review process streamlines publication which may be helpful with the author is seeking to address current events or has a legal motivation to protect one's innovation or invention by being the first to publish.  

Establishing a Productivity Record and Market Base.  Some traditional publishers may look at statistics and ratings for self-published books such as those self-published Amazon Kindle Books in weighing wetter to offer a contract.  

For Deliberately Limited Print Runs of Supplemental Course Materials.   Self publishing may be a good avenue to pursue for small run (100 or less) copies of supplemental course materials developed by an instructor for student use such as workbooks, lab manuals, and so forth, especially if print verses electronic formats are preferable and the items are not suited to electronic open publishing.  

Control of Distribution or Access is Desirable.  Self-publishing may be an option when a well-known scholar is experimenting with a different genre or subject and is seeking feedback on the new endeavor from small or limited audiences. In a testing  phase, an author may wish to avoid the work distracting or detracting from a main body of work and research that is published through more standard academic publishers with wider distribution networks.  





If one is seeking the widest distribution and the most affordable access for readers, Open Source Publishing is the way to go.  

With Open source publishing, the costs of production may be funded by a sponsor such as a Government Agency, Grantor, University, or Non-profit.  Academic repositories are one example of Open Source Publishing.

Some Open Source Publishers may offer peer review and electronic distribution, A few Open Source Publishers require authors to assume all of the costs of publication.  

Particularly in the sciences, some traditional journal publishing houses may offer  either pre-print versions of articles  as open access, or alternately dual publication where and author can elect (often for a fee) for both traditional versions and open access versions of the manuscript.  It is sometimes possible to budget for these fees when writing grants to support one's research.  

Additional Information 

The Ingram Library has resident experts on Open Source Publishing with a particular emphasis on textbooks and materials to support classroom work.  For more information, see the OER (Open Educational Resource)  guide