Sector Profile: Academic Publishing

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Academic publishing refers to journals, articles, theses or books which disseminate the latest research findings. It is largely reliant on peer-review, the process of having an article checked by fellow scholars for accuracy. Content is generally written by researchers working in universities or other institutions who submit their articles to the publication. Each academic field has its own specialist magazine or publication, although there are some academic journals which cover multiple areas of research. Many academics are drawn to a career in publishing as it combines cutting-edge research with an interesting job that can be very challenging.

Jobs in academic publishing

The jobs in academic publishing that are suited towards PhD holders and former university staff include, among others:

  • Editor/Deputy editor
  • Publisher's representative
  • Proofreader

These jobs demand a certain level of familiarity with the subject area and the academic world. Therefore, many people with a strong academic or research background work in academic publishing roles such as those above.

Editorial jobs require the ability to recognise relevant and interesting content, and to make contacts with academics and researchers in universities and other institutions who can contribute to the publication. It marries a passion for research with a demanding and interesting role.

Publishing is an industry that is based on financial profits, so the atmosphere is quite different to that of a university. You can expect to work in a team, and to be challenged to improve profits and manage a budget.

Employment in Academic Publishing

Some of the top employers in academic publishing include:

Oxford University Press

Royal Society of Chemistry

John Wiley

Reed Elsevier


A deputy editor can expect to earn around £30k. Salaries will rise with experience, and a sideways move into management can lead to greater financial rewards. The atmosphere of working at publishing houses is exciting, with the kind of enthusiasm you would expect from a profits-based employer linked in with the creativity of journalism and the intellectually challenging environment of academic research.

Graduate training schemes are available from employers such as the Royal Society of Chemistry. Most job descriptions specify a good first degree, or relevant postgraduate qualifications, as pre-requisites.

Finding a job in academic publishing

Your search for a job should start right here on, where jobs are regularly advertised by charity sector publishers and the major academic publishing houses. You can find more information on training schemes on company websites, or through your university careers service.

Networking can be vital for learning about opportunities in academic publishing. You can also check the journals and publications in your subject for vacancies in their print editions (usually available in university libraries) and online.

The benefits of working in academic publishing

  • Intellectually stimulating environment
  • Varied and interesting duties
  • Decent salary with opportunities for career development
  • Makes use of university contacts and is at the cusp of academic research

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