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Contemporary Academic Publishing


Admission requirements

Only available for Book and Digital Media Studies students and BDMS exchange students. Others may contact the lecturer.


Traditionally, publishers are the agents in the arena of scholarly communication that organise, and to a large extent control, the formal dissemination of knowledge and culture. Today they do so increasingly in hybrid paper and electronic forms. This course on Contemporary Academic Publishing examines the role and function of publishers in the process of scholarly communication, and analyses the mechanisms at work in academic publishing as a distinct publishing field.
Departing from the traditional functions of formal publishing (certification, registration, raising awareness, archiving and rewarding), this course focuses on the aligning or competing interests of the various stakeholders involved, including authors and their peers, the institutions where they work, funding bodies, policy makers, libraries, vendors and, last but not least, readers. The course will examine new and emerging practices in academic publishing, mostly resulting from the introduction of digital technology and convergence, such as for instance more informal publication practices, alternative forms of quality assessment (including peer review), open access publishing, and new players in the scholarly publishing field. Main goal of the course is to identify issues in present day academic publishing that demand research, to develop and elaborate relevant research questions, as well as to discuss work that has already been done on these issues.

Course objectives


  • learn to understand the nature of publishing as a socio-cultural phenomenon, as well as the principles and practices of (the main fields within) the academic publishing industry;

  • acquire a long-term perspective on academic publishing, specifically in the context of the process of continuous change confronting the industry as a result of the rise of digital technologies;

  • explore the main questions and issues that currently engage this sector;

  • will become able to identify a subject and topic that merits research,

  • will carry out such research and prepare a written account of it, perhaps in preparation for writing an MA thesis within the field of publishing studies.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Students will prepare a brief presentation on a current issue in academic publishing, that is followed by a discussion in class. Of course, active participation in such ensuing discussions is expected and appreciated. The course is further examined by a final essay on a topic that relates to any content addressed in the course, in consultation with the lecturer.


Presentation: 20%
Participation in class discussions: 5%
Essay: 75%


The participations in class discussions cannot be retaken; the other components of the first attempt may be.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Selected articles, freely available through the University Library, to be assigned via Brightspace.
In addition, students are advised to consult the following book as a reference guide with introduction to the basic principles and practices of academic publishing:

  • Rick Anderson, Scholarly Communication: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2018).


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, email:

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal


Not applicable