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Academic Publishing: Upskilling Tips

Academic publishing provides materials that range from journals to textbooks and study guides. Supplying for schools, libraries, universities and more, academic publishing can be segmented into Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM), Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) and Law. Whether you’re a student or a working professional, here are our top tips and resources that will help you to pursue a career in academic publishing.

Key Knowledge

  • Peer Reviewing: Understanding peer reviews is generally considered necessary to academic quality. This is the process of deciding whether work should be accepted, accepted with revisions or rejected.

  • Open Access: Be aware of this publishing model for academic research. It allows readers to acquire work with no financial, legal or technical barriers.

  • Academic vs. Trade: In an editorial role, commissioning will be a significant part of your job. This may differ from trade publishing, so you must understand the differences between sectors if you want to consider making a transition later in your career.

Online Courses

There are a selection of paid academic publishing courses available in order to gain knowledge of the industry and develop your skills.

  • Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers: Created by UK publishers, this course includes modules about the online tools used, the skills required, industry trends and networking sessions. Register for the 2021 programmes here, at a cost of £275 for a member and £475 for a non-member.

  • R Upskill Academic Publishing Course: Dive into the world of journal articles to learn about the top academic publishers and the peer review publication process. There is a 14-day free trial, followed by a payment of $17 a month.

  • Journals Quickstarter Training: Run by the Society for Scholarly Publishers, you can learn from experts in the academic field about the editorial, production and finance departments. For a single-user license, the cost is $250 for a member and $300 for a non-member.

Reading Material

  • The Publishing Training Centre (PTC) has several guides to choose from. You can register here to download the material.

  • Key Issues in Online Academic Publishing: Explore the changes from print to online academic publishing through books and journal articles. This course also details the differences in marketing and sales between consumer and educational publishing.

  • Social Media for Academic Publishers: Marketing platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are key. This guide explains how to maximise your social media strategy through different sources and how to measure engagement.

  • Key Issues for Academic Publishers: This course provides a more general overview about trends and sales, including the growing demand for Open Access publishing for students and researchers.

  • Commissioning and List Management for Educational Publishers: Created by Paul Cherry, the Publishing Director for secondary schools at Hodder Education, this course includes top tips on becoming a Commissioning Editor, the core skills required and whether it’s a suitable role for you.

  • Untangling Academic Publishing: Produced by Imperial College London, this course explains how academic publishing has changed since before World War II and the importance of peer-reviewed journal articles.


  • Scholarly Kitchen: This independent blog communicates different commentary and encourages open discussion about scholarly publishing. Whilst aimed at a US market, some information may be transferable for those of you in the UK.

  • Book Machine: This is an immersive online platform that boasts numerous opportunities to learn and connect, and often spotlights academic publishers.

  • STM Publishing: This foundation unites academic publishers in their shared mission of advancing research. Subscribe to the mailing list to receive their newsletter and keep up-to-date with developments in the industry.

  • Education Endowment Foundation (EEF): For those interested in children’s academic publishing, this charity aims to improve the educational prospects for children from low-income backgrounds. Follow them on Twitter to keep up with their influence in the education market.

Bonus Advice

Thanks for reading our new feature on academic publishing. Join us again in the next issue, where we’ll be sharing upskilling resources for digital publishing!


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