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Activism, Legitimation, or Record: Towards a New Tripartite Typology of Academic Journals
Abstract

Abstract:

Though it is widely accepted that academic publishing has both communication and credentialing functions, there have been no systematic attempts to categorize journals according to their various socio-political aims since Toby Miller’s intervention in the early 2000s. Yet one-third of all peer-reviewed academic journals currently in print did not even exist at the time of his writing. This article takes these new journals into account in order to develop a systematic typology of academic journals based on their intended social purpose, both within and beyond the academy. After an overview of similar typologies and their strengths and limitations, the author proposes a tripartite typology for academic journals: journals of (1) record, (2) transformational activism, and (3) professional legitimation. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings for the symbiotic relationship between the academy and scholarly publishing and argues that, in the digital age, this relationship is as important as ever.