Science publisher

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A science publisher is a specialized specialist publisher that publishes academic publications for university purposes and / or predominantly job-oriented research literature. Both aspects of study literature and specialist literature for scientific discourse include journals (including electronic ones), monographs, anthologies, textbooks and handbooks, reference works, conference volumes and commemorative publications, as well as scientific qualification papers ( university publications such as dissertations or habilitation theses). Magazines, conference proceedings and monographs are primarily used as communication media for internal science communication and are aimed at scientists in universities and companies as well as students.

In 2009, 42 percent of the sales of the 100 largest publishers in Germany were distributed among specialist information and science publishers.

Groups of publishers

In 2003, Michaletz and Rese distinguish between groups of publishers for economic book publications. They state that this analysis cannot be transferred one-to-one to all other areas of science, because the same technical demands do not always have to be made on the publications.

  1. "Full provider", such as B. Gabler , Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag , Springer , who offer the entire spectrum (journals, dissertations , post- doctoral theses , scientific monographs , edited volumes, reference works , textbooks ).
  2. "Textbook publishers", such as B. Vahlen , De Gruyter , Oldenbourg , Lucius & Lucius , who have specialized in the “ textbook market ” - other genres are underrepresented or not available.
  3. "Publishers of original scientific monographs and edited volumes":
a. Mainly publications of habilitation theses and book titles by established scientists, such as B. in Mohr Siebeck Verlag
b. Mainly publications of dissertations such as B. Franz Lang, Dr. Kovač , Shaker , Logos Verlag Berlin etc.

The providers cited under 1. and 2. are set up similarly in terms of “the cost situation” and their reputation is “similarly high” due to their long existence - only the narrowing of the providers under 2. to the range of textbooks means that both groups of providers here together “Compete most fiercely”.

The differences between the provider groups 3a and 3b with a focus on the “scientific book segment”, on the other hand, differ primarily in their different “quality differentiation”: publishers like Mohr Siebeck clearly pursue a “quality strategy”, the scientific series they publish “a very tough one Selection process ”, which on the one hand results in an absolutely lower number of publications and on the other hand has a high“ reputation effect ”for the author. Publishers of this kind are often "persuasive actors" who z. In some cases, they do not require any printing subsidies at all, but co-finance scientifically interesting, but less easy-to-sell works via the " Renner " in a mixed calculation .
The providers under 3b, on the other hand, do not allow selection, but rather “recognize a quantity orientation” and operate “a policy of 'publication against printing subsidies'”. Thanks to their “extremely” lean cost structure, they can “make the relatively cheapest offers” in terms of printing subsidies - but the reputation effect of a publication housed here “is extremely low”. Holger Höge again makes it clear that the services of the providers of group 3b named by him and supplemented by other providers require a series of preliminary considerations for the author, if z. For example, it is cheaper for the author to use a cover from one of the ranks of a provider than to bring in his own draft of the cover.


Some scientific publishers, which apart from the mere printing of dissertations in large numbers, hardly offer any other services, came across in early 2014 u. a. criticized by the Berliner Tagesspiegel when it became known that the printing subsidies required by such specialist publishers from the authors are high - in individual cases they can amount to “up to 10,000 euros”. In addition to this, the findings in a publication advice published in 2020 at universities , according to which "not only the immediate publishing performance (...) is included in the decision for or against a publisher", so that "some scientists (...) a higher (Accept) a contribution to printing costs or reduced author's rights in order to be able to appear in publishers who enjoy a high reputation in their respective subject and whose name stands for the high quality of the works published there. ”It also says:“ Since the publishing landscape for Editors or authors are meanwhile very difficult to survey and unfortunately some publishers who do not operate seriously also actively contact potential authors, it is advisable to take a really close look at the publisher before signing a publishing contract. "This criticism can also refer to low-cost providers such as B. the science publishers of the OmniScriptum Publishing Group . University publications can be published here free of charge, but without proofreading or editing. The education and science journalist Armin Himmelrath said in 2019 about this offer: “One should be careful, it is not a real scientific publication. It is known at the universities that it seems dubious. So it is not good for your own list of publications. ”Thus, depending on the assignment of the academic publishers for the university area, as was done by Mario Rese, a differentiation must also be made as to the extent to which they are per se related to the publishers or, according to Eduard Schönstedt and his subdivisions of the grant publishers are still to be counted among the " printing cost publishers " or actually only among the " cost publishers " in the sense of service companies for self-publications , with which de facto no publishing contracts but contracts for work are concluded - or whether they generate their sales on the basis of both or more business models achieve.

The broadcasters NDR and WDR as well as the Süddeutsche Zeitung and other national and international media reported in 2018 that more than 5,000 German scientists (around 400,000 researchers worldwide) had published their research results in worthless online specialist journals from pseudoscientific publishers - and that often financed with public money. In Germany, numerous researchers from the Helmholtz Association and the Fraunhofer Institutes , but also scientists from German universities and employees of federal authorities are affected. It has been known for years that these pseudoscientific publishers disregard fundamental rules of scientific quality assurance. “What is new, however, is the rapidly increasing extent. According to research, the number of such publications at five of the most important publishers has tripled worldwide since 2013, and even quintupled in Germany. "According to references to predatory publishing and in the area of ​​scientific conferences on" providers who only pretend technical quality and scientific honesty " the Technical University of Ilmenau, under the heading “How can researchers protect themselves?”, refers to “checklists”, which you should pay attention to when choosing suitable specialist journals. A somewhat more detailed checklist in German from the medical faculty of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel , which provides explanations of the publishers themselves with the question of their affiliation or listings in associations such as Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Open Access Scholarly Publishers' Association (OASPA) and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

The "world market leader in science publishers with around 2500 journals" Elsevier has also drawn criticism in the area of ​​the publication of research results . In an interview on January 24, 2018, Leonhard Dobusch sees no problem in principle in the fact that “research (...) in many areas is dependent on private service providers”. On the other hand, it is problematic if a publisher like Elsevier on the one hand refuses to make research accessible in the new digital sector or does not use it to the extent that it would be possible, and at the same time exploits "monopolistic market positions in pricing". "And the monopolistic position of Elsevier, which has just less to do with the publisher and the publisher performance, but with the fact that science is a reputation game, if you will." According to the German scientific journal Academic started scholars and scientists of many universities with the message "From today without Elsevier contract" in the research year 2019. And after the contracts with Elsevier expired at the turn of the year, numerous libraries took a stand against the high license fees of this science publisher and did not renew the contracts - which has resulted in that since then More than 200 universities and research institutions in Germany are cut off from Elsevier's electronic offerings, including the universities in Berlin, Bonn and Munich and non-university research institutions such as the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer Society . ( See also the section: Elsevier # Criticism of Elsevier )

Individual evidence

  1. Verena Huber: On the typology of the current German publishing landscape. , PDF file p. 24 of 117 pages, In: Ursula Rautenberg, Axel Kuhn (Hrsg.): Alles Buch - Studien der Erlangen Buchwissenschaft XLVI. Book Studies / University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, 2012, ISBN 978-3-940338-27-3 .
  2. Günther Fetzer: Professional goal of editing: Activities - Basic knowledge - Paths to the job UTB 2018 p. 81
  3. Svenja Hagenhoff, Björn Ortelbach, Lutz Seidenfaden, Matthias Schumann: New forms of science communication. Universitätsverlag Göttingen 2007, p. 6
  4. Verena Huber: On the typology of the current German publishing landscape. , PDF file p. 28 of 117 pages, In: Ursula Rautenberg, Axel Kuhn (Hrsg.): Alles Buch - Studien der Erlangen Buchwissenschaft XLVI. Book Studies / University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, 2012, ISBN 978-3-940338-27-3 .
  5. a b c d Claus Michaletz and Mario Reese: Do economic book publications have a future? The cool view of economics and the expectations of a publisher . in: Mario Rese, Albrecht Söllner, B. Peter Utzig: Relationship Marketing: Location determination and perspectives , Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg 2003. ISBN 978-3-642-62888-7 ; Pp. 273-292; especially 283 and 284.
  6. Holger Höge: Written work in studies and work: a guide . Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart (3rd edition) 2006. ISBN 978-3-17-019176-1 ; Pp. 117, 118
  7. a b Gemma Pörzgen: Doctor Digital - Bringing your own dissertation to a publishing house gives her prestige. But the Internet is cheaper and faster. Digital publishing also depends on the subject. online in Der Tagesspiegel from February 18, 2014
  8. a b See PDF file, p. 88 of 397 pages. In: Karin Lackner, Lisa Schilhan, Christian Kaier (eds.): Publication advice at universities , Transcript Verlag , Bielefeld 2020. ISBN 978-3-8376-5072-3 .
  9. Dubious publishers - theses: be careful when publishers make publication offers , moderation: Paulus Müller, interviewer: Armin Himmelrath , broadcast on November 20, 2019 in Deutschlandfunk Nova , online at
  10. ^ Eduard Schönstedt: Der Buchverlag , Stuttgart 1991, pp. 60-62 .; see page 21 and 22, footnote 44 in: Jong-Rak Shin: Self-published in the literary life of exile in the years 1933–1945 ; Dissertation , June 2007, PDF file with 220 pages (793 kB)
  11. See PDF file, pp. 177, 178 of 397 pages. In: Karin Lackner, Lisa Schilhan, Christian Kaier (eds.): Publication advice at universities , Transcript Verlag , Bielefeld 2020. ISBN 978-3-8376-5072-3 .
  12. kas / dpa : Research - Thousands of scientists publish in pseudo-journals , report in Research & Teaching from July 19, 2018, online at
  13. Technische Universität Ilmenau  : Selection of suitable, quality-assured publication organs and participation in scientific specialist conferences: joint recommendations by the Rectorate and the University Library of the TU Ilmenau , online at
  14. Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel : Explanations and notes on the serious publication of scientific papers according to the principles of good scientific practice , online at
  15. ^ Debate about scientific publishers - Germany vs. Elsevier , Leonhard Dobusch in conversation with Frank Meyer on January 24, 2018 in Deutschlandfunk Kultur , online at
  16. Katrin Schmermund: Deal negotiations - How the scientific community defies the dispute with publishers , report in Research & Teaching of January 24, 2019, online at