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Publishing Studies: Academic Publishing


Admission requirements

Successful completion of the BDMS first-semester obligatory core courses. Only available for Book and Digital Media Studies students and BDMS exchange students. Others may contact the course organisers.


Traditionally, publishers are the agents that organise, and to a large extent control, the dissemination of printed information, increasingly also in electronic forms. Publishing Studies looks at the wider role and meaning of publishing in society and analyses the mechanisms within the so-called publishing industries and different publishing fields, ranging from academic and educational publishing to trade book publishing, but with special emphasis on academic publishing. The whole publishing chain will be covered, from the work of authors, through the activities of publishing houses to retailers and even customers, be they private persons or institutions like libraries. Moreover the course will examine new and emerging practices in publishing, mostly resulting from the introduction of digital technology and convergence, such as for instance participatory media, open access publishing, digital printing and new rights regimes. Main goal of the course is to develop and elaborate relevant research questions and identify issues in present day publishing that demand research, as well as to discuss work that has already been done on these issues.

Course objectives

Students 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. They learn to understand and to analyse the main questions and issues that engage this sector and acquire a long-term perspective on publishing: past, present and future, specifically in the context of the process of continuous change now confronting the industry as a result of the application and advance of new technologies. Students will become able to identify a subject and topic for research, to plan and carry out the necessary research and to prepare a written account, also in preparation for writing an MA thesis within the field of publishing studies.


Timetable on the website:

Mode of instruction

Lectures, seminars, reading list, excursions.

Course Load

The course load of this course is 140 hours.

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 24

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature, preparing excersises and/or presentations: 66

  • Time to prepare for the exam and/or write a paper (including reading / research): 50

Participation in all sessions of this course is compulsory. Upon prior consultation, the lecturer can permit absence at one session for compelling reasons. Students who are absent twice during the course (8 weeks) will be excluded from further participation and will have to re-take the course.

Assessment method

Course essay. In the case of a fail, you are entitled to rewrite the final course essay.


This course is supported by“Blackboard”:

Reading list

  • Borgman, Christine L., Scholarship in the digital age: Information, infrastructure and the internet, Cambridge Mass, & London: MIT Press, 2007

  • Campbell, Robert, et al. (eds), Academic and professional publishing (Oxford: Chandos, 2012)

  • [Choice of either:] Clark, Giles, and Angus Phillips, Inside book publishing, 5th edn, London and New York: Routledge, 2014 (U.K. perspective; or:] Albert Greco, The book publishing industry, 3rd edn, London and New York: Routledge, 2013 [US perspective]

  • Fitzpatrick, Kathleen, Planned obsolescence: Publishing, technology, and the future of the academy, New York: New York University Press, 2011

  • Thompson, John, Merchants of culture, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2010.

  • Thompson, John, Publishing in the digital age: The transformation of academic and higher education publishing in Britain and the United States, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005

  • Suber, Peter, Open access, Cambridge Mass & London: MIT Press, 2012

  • Willinsky, John, The access principle: The case for open access to research and scholarship, Cambridge MA & London: MIT Press, 2005

  • Selected articles to be provided.


Enrollment through uSis is mandatory. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs



Media Studies student administration, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;

Coordinator of studies: Mr. J. Donkers, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 1.01b.