One way or another, we are all well aware of the importance given to prestige in our education system.  As early as possible in our educational careers, many anticipate attending one of the most prestigious universities in the world.  Going further in our higher education, we realize the significance of prestige in academia through various means including awards, doctorates, and rankings.  However, what role does prestige play in scholarly publishing? How does prestige determine one’s success or even failure in academic publishing? After careful analysis and observation, we point out ways prestige plays a pivotal role in scholarly publishing.

 Internal Prestige

While most of us are fully aware of how prestige plays a role in our perceptions, it is a defining factor in publishing.  Actually, in many cases, the factor of prestige becomes more significant than monetary reasons. This is exactly where internal prestige plays a role in academic publishing for authors. The reason why many authors choose not to self-publish and associate with prestigious publishers is the need to feel as a proper author. With benefits such as professional licensing, copyediting, and marketing – authors feel more motivated and accomplished on a psychological basis.

External Prestige

External prestige can be seen as even a more important reason than internal prestige.  Let’s go back to the example of self-publishing.  While psychological factors regarding prestige play an important role, the pressure of being accepted by peers is also a vital factor involved.  In academia, self-published work is not acknowledged and even seen as a last resort. However, an exception of this situation would be Barry Esler’s rejection of a $500K contract to self-publish. Just how our own social circles and sense of prestige impact various decisions, the same example could easily be seen in the publishing industry as well.

Prestige and Open Access

Anyone observing news on academic publishing is clearly aware of the growing interest in open access. However, is prestige seen in open access? For example, consider the statement of Yale’s librarian, Susan Gibbons,”So the faculty have to make this decision along the way to publish in an open access journal and give up perhaps some of the prestige that’s associated with one of the more established journals. So, sometimes what you’ll see is some of the junior faculty are less inclined to publish in open access journals because they are focused on the career path and tenure track process.”  However, as open access gains more acceptance, will this perception change? Proponents of open access have also been seeking other ways to bring prestige in open access, such as seeking the endorsements of prestigious universities.
What are your experiences with prestige in academic publishing? Do you think it is playing a greater role than ever before? Or is it slightly losing its significance in academic publishing? Let us know your thoughts by emailing us at – we’d love to hear from you!