Publications | Free Full-Text | A Provisional System to Evaluate Journal Publishers Based on Partnership Practices and Values Shared with Academic Institutions and Libraries

Abstract:  Background: Journals with high impact factors (IFs) are the “coin of the realm” in many review, tenure, and promotion decisions, ipso facto, IFs influence academic authors’ views of journals and publishers. However, IFs do not evaluate how publishers interact with libraries or academic institutions. Goal: This provisional system introduces an evaluation of publishers exclusive of IF, measuring how well a publisher’s practices align with the values of libraries and public institutions of higher education (HE). Identifying publishers with similar values may help libraries and institutions make strategic decisions about resource allocation. Methods: Democratization of knowledge, information exchange, and the sustainability of scholarship were values identified to define partnership practices and develop a scoring system evaluating publishers. Then, four publishers were evaluated. A high score indicates alignment with the values of libraries and academic institutions and a strong partnership with HE. Results: Highest scores were earned by a learned society publishing two journals and a library publisher supporting over 80 open-access journals. Conclusions: Publishers, especially nonprofit publishers, could use the criteria to guide practices that align with mission-driven institutions. Institutions and libraries could use the system to identify publishers acting in good faith towards public institutions of HE.