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EUP 75: Our Journals Publishing

Discover the story of journals publishing at Edinburgh University Press, from the beginnings in the 1980s all the way through to exciting current developments.

by Sarah McDonald

A text based banner in shades of blue with 75 in the background. Text reads Celebrating 75 years of connecting people and ideas. The

When and how did Edinburgh University Press start publishing academic journals?

The journals business at EUP began in the late 1980s, when Martin Spencer was recruited as Managing Director. He brought Africa, a hugely successful journal, with him from Manchester University Press. Our early journal titles covered an interesting and somewhat random selection of subjects, including cosmology, Austrian studies, tropical animal health and parliamentary history.

By 1992, we had six journals on our list (Paragraph is the only one of these we still publish today) and so a business plan was put together, which aimed to increase journal revenues significantly (from £110k to £230k) over the next five years.

Can you give us a sense of the range and variety of journals EUP currently publishes?

While early journals at EUP covered a broad range of topics (from plant ecology to sports biomechanics), a concerted effort was made in more recent years to bring our journals in line with our core book publishing lists – to enable joint marketing and promotion, and to contribute to our efforts to build prominent and world-leading lists in our chosen subject areas. We now publish nearly 60 journals, mainly in the fields of Literary Studies, Scottish Studies, Philosophy, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, Linguistics, Law and Film Studies. We also publish a handful of journals in related fields, typically in partnership with societies who share the mission and vision of the press to create a community of authors and editors committed to publishing world-class academic research.

What are some highlights from the EUP journals list?

We have a growing list of Scottish Studies journals which support our position as the leading publisher of Scottish academic content. This year, we will publish our first Cross-Journal Special Feature which brings together critical thinking on race and racism in Scotland, across eight journals covering literature, history, philosophy, archaeology and current affairs.

We publish a number of prestigious journals on behalf of learned societies and are proud of our close working relationships with partners such as the Society for the History of Natural History, whose journal Archives of Natural History celebrates its 50th volume this year, the Society for Dance Research and the International Gothic Association.

Our largest list, Literary Studies, includes over 20 journals covering topics such as crime fiction, children’s literature, deconstruction, Romantic studies, Chinese literature and translation.

A journal cover displaying an image of a fox stood beneath a tree, with the words 'Archives of Natural History' below. There is a 50th anniversary edition stamp in the top right corner.
Archives of Natural History, Volume 50 Issue 2

What’s new for EUP journals in 2024?

We have a number of exciting new initiatives this year:

  • In January, we joined Research for Life which provides institutions in low- and middle-income countries with online access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content. This extends the existing EUP Developing Countries Initiative to a further 51 countries.
  • We are running a Subscribe to Open pilot for two journals, to trial this equitable Open Access model with a view to expanding the offering in 2025 if successful.
  • We are launching our new Early Career Boards, in which early career researchers (ECRs) are paired with a mentor from the journal’s existing editorial board. This will help prepare ECR board members to be confident, active and effective peer reviewers, as well as giving them an in-depth introduction to journal publishing.

What does the future hold?

The journals business has grown steadily since the first six titles in 1992, and will reach 60 journals in 2025. We now see over £1m in annual journal subscription sales and our journals list is an integral part of the EUP publishing programme. We have a dedicated and enthusiastic team, and are looking forward to working in partnership with our editors and societies to achieve our current five-year strategic plan to connect people and ideas, inspire creative thinking and shape the world we live in.

We are particularly excited about the launch of a brand-new journal in 2025 which has been many years in the planning – the Journal of Islamic Art and Architecture, founded by Professor Robert Hillenbrand, a long-time EUP author, series editor and advisor. Filling a gap in the available literature for a journal dedicated to the field of Islamic art and architecture, it promises to be an important and visually delightful publication.

* With thanks to Vivian Bone and Timothy Wright for their help in piecing together the origins of journal publishing at EUP.

About Sarah McDonald

Sarah McDonald

Sarah McDonald has been Head of Journals at Edinburgh University Press since 2008. Prior to this role, she was a Senior Commissioning Editor working across Linguistics and Film Studies.

You can contact her at Sarah.McDonald@eup.ed.ac.uk.

Get in touch with our Journals team

Edinburgh University Press
Edinburgh University Press
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