Academy Publishing House

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Academy Publishing House

legal form GmbH
founding 1946
resolution 2013
Reason for dissolution Takeover by the Walter de Gruyter publishing house
Seat GermanyGermany Berlin

The academy publishing (proper spelling: Akademie Verlag , formerly Academy-Verlag Berlin ) was a 1946 to 2013 existing German academic publisher based in Berlin . He has published works in the fields of philosophy, history, art and cultural studies as well as literature and language studies.

Since 1957, the publisher's logo has included the head of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , the founder of the academy in 1700, as well as the Latin motto “theoria cum praxi” (theory with practice) . In 2013, the Akademie-Verlag - which had been dependent on since 1997 - was taken over by the Walter de Gruyter publishing house .


Foundation of the publishing house

After its reopening on July 1, 1946, the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (renamed the Academy of Sciences of the GDR in 1972 ) adopted a statute which, among other things, provided for the establishment of its own publishing house. After the decision of the general meeting in December 1946, the Akademie-Verlag was brought into being. On January 21, 1947, the Berlin magistrate granted the business license so that the Academy's scientific activities no longer had to be managed by different publishers, but could be bundled in the Akademie-Verlag. The program was not limited to official publications of the Academy, but also included scientific works by other institutions and people.

Early years of the publishing house

Visitors to the Leipzig Book Fair in 1951 at the Akademie-Verlag stand

In 1947 14 books and five magazines appeared in the publishing house, but serial works and above all editions, yearbooks and individual works let the program grow steadily. Thanks to the affiliation with the academy, the publishing house quickly found access to leading academics at home and abroad during the emerging Cold War, which enabled the publishing house to establish itself as a valued partner.

The academy publishing house in the GDR

The expansion of the publishing house

Thanks to the important position that the Academy of Sciences had in research, the publishing house developed into the largest scientific publishing house in the GDR. In 1956 the program included 350 book titles and 45 magazines. In 1981 there were already 10,000 book titles and 59 magazines with almost 500 issues. The initially quite clear program grew in breadth and included around 25 areas of knowledge from the humanities and natural sciences, medicine and technology. New forms of publication such as dictionaries, scientific paperbacks, manuals and special monographs completed the product range.

Political influence and economic framework

Although the publishing house was not under the control of the Ministry of Culture , like almost all other GDR publishers, thanks to its connection to the Academy of Sciences , the party's influence on the publishing program gradually became visible and party representatives published their works in the publishing house. In addition, with the reform of the academy based on the Soviet model, suspicion of “pan-German” scientific publications grew, which is why the publishing house had to find a happy medium and argue intelligently in order to be able to continue projects.

In addition to these developments, Akademie-Verlag - like other publishers - was confronted with various difficulties: paper shortages, poor paper quality, technically backward printing companies, etc.


The mistrust was expressed to the publishing director Lothar Berthold and a colleague from the history editing department became the new publishing director.

Article 38 of the Unification Treaty, which came into force on October 3, 1990, concerned the Academy of Sciences of the GDR and thus also the publishing house, which in 1976 had become an institution of the Academy after being deleted from the commercial register: the joint committee formed by the new federal states and Berlin decided on the future of the publisher. After numerous offers to buy from publishing companies in Germany and abroad, the Akademie-Verlag was bought by the VCH Verlagsgruppe Weinheim on January 3, 1991, which made deep cuts in the structure of the Akademie-Verlag. The number of staff inflated by socialist guidelines had to be reduced: of 170 employees in 1991, 40 were still employed in the 1996 anniversary year. In addition, in coordination with the parent company, the broad program was limited to the core topics of philosophy, history, political and cultural studies, art history, literary and linguistic studies as well as mathematics and physics.

Until 1990, due to the materialistic view of history in the publications and German-German history, some of the publishing products in the FRG were only accepted with reservations. Often, however, visitors from the FRG bought the relatively inexpensive academy books and also helped them to spread widely in West Germany, which in turn benefited the publisher after the reunification of Germany , which had built up enough prestige to survive.

The split-up of the Akademie-Verlag

After the Weinheim specialist publishing group was sold to the John Wiley & Sons concern, the academy's scientific program was transferred to the new WILEY-VCH publishing house. The entire humanities book and magazine program, as well as the name and logo of the Akademie-Verlag, was taken over by R. Oldenbourg Verlag on October 1, 1997 ; since 2004 the Oldenbourg publishing group and thus also the Akademie-Verlag belong to the Cornelsen publishing house .

The end of the academy publishing house

At the beginning of 2013, Akademie-Verlag was taken over by Verlag De Gruyter together with Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag . Soon afterwards, De Gruyter deleted all references to the former Akademie-Verlag on his website.


  • Siegfried Lokatis : Scientist and publisher in the GDR. The example of the Akademie-Verlag. In: History and Society . Vol. 22 (1996), Issue 1: Publishers and Scientists. Pp. 46-61.
  • Siegfried Lokatis: The foundation of the academy publishing house. In: The Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1945–1950 . Meeting reports of the Leibniz Sozietät, Volume 15, Issue 7/8, 1997, pp. 81–98.
  • Simone Barck , Martina Langermann, Siegfried Lokatis: Every book is an adventure. The censorship system and literary publics in the GDR until the end of the sixties. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-05-003118-2 .

Individual evidence

  2. The publisher , accessed on April 14, 2015. In the “Brief Description of the Imprints ”, the De Gruyter Academy Research imprint merely states that it publishes works “that are created in collaboration with a German-language academic academy”.