How Many Academic Publishers Are There?

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How Many Academic Publishers Are There?

An intriguing question one can ask is the following:

How many academic publishers are there in the world right now?

Academic publishing is vast and dynamic, with many players disseminating scholarly work. There are currently over 2,000 academic publishers operating globally. This number is subject to change due to various factors such as mergers and acquisitions, closures, and the emergence of new publishing entities.

These publishers are responsible for a considerable volume of content; they produce several publications (volumes and issues) each year. The frequency of publication can vary widely, with newer journals often releasing one or two issues annually, while more established ones may publish more frequently, ranging from four to eight issues per year, and some even monthly or weekly.

A few large for-profit companies dominate the academic publishing landscape. Notably, five major publishers have been responsible for publishing 50% of all academic articles in the past few years. These companies, often listed among the largest publishers in the world, are:


Elsevier is one of the world’s most prominent and influential academic publishers. It is a Netherlands-based company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content. Elsevier is part of the RELX Group, formerly known as Reed Elsevier, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. Elsevier publishes over 2,600 peer-reviewed journals and over 11,000 books.


Springer, now part of Springer Nature following a merger with Nature Publishing Group and other entities, is known for its strong portfolio in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Today, Springer publishes thousands of peer-reviewed journals, including influential titles like Nature and The Lancet, and many books, including monographs, textbooks, and reference works.


Wiley-Blackwell is a scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, formed by the merger of New York-based John Wiley & Sons with Oxford-based Blackwell Publishing in 2007. It has a significant presence in the academic publishing industry, producing many journals, books, and online resources covering a broad spectrum of subjects.

Taylor & Francis

Taylor & Francis is a UK-based international academic publisher that operates globally. It is one of the largest and oldest commercial publishers of journals, books, and online resources, dating back to 1798. The company publishes scholarly journals and books across various subjects, including humanities, social sciences, behavioral sciences, science, technology, and medicine.


SAGE Publishing, commonly known as SAGE, is an independent academic publisher known for its commitment to quality in scholarship and education. Founded in 1965, it has grown into one of the world’s leading academic journals, books, and digital media publishers for scholarly communities. Its portfolio includes over 1,000 journals and over 800 new books published yearly.

These publishers have headquarters across different countries: Springer in Germany (Berlin), Taylor & Francis in the United Kingdom (Abingdon), Elsevier in the Netherlands (Amsterdam), and Wiley in the United States (New Jersey).

The concentration of such a significant portion of scholarly output in the hands of a few entities underscores their influence within the industry. However, the presence of over 2,000 publishers indicates that there is also a wide array of smaller and specialized publishers contributing to the diversity of academic literature.

What is an Academic Publisher, and What Does It Do?

An academic publisher is an organization or company disseminating scholarly research and intellectual output. This includes various materials such as academic journals, scholarly books, conference proceedings, and other forms of academic literature.

The primary function of an academic publisher is to manage the peer review process, which is essential for ensuring the quality and integrity of scholarly work. They oversee the selection, editing, production, marketing, and distribution of academic works.

An academic publisher’s role begins with submitting manuscripts by researchers and scholars. These submissions undergo a rigorous peer-review process, wherein experts in the relevant field evaluate the work for its originality, validity, significance, and clarity. They also play a crucial role in the preservation of scholarly records. They maintain archives of the published material, ensuring it remains accessible for future research and reference.

Academic publishers are crucial to advancing knowledge across various disciplines. They provide the infrastructure and services needed to publish and disseminate scholarly research, thereby supporting the academic community and contributing to the broader dissemination of information.

While the industry is marked by the dominance of a handful of major publishers, the overall ecosystem includes a diverse range of publishers catering to various academic disciplines and research communities.

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