Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur December 4, 2007

The Death of the Scholarly Monograph in the Humanities? Citation Patterns in Literary Scholarship

  • Jennifer Wolfe Thompson
From the journal Libri

A significant effect of the crisis in academic publishing is the decline in publication and purchase of the scholarly monograph in the humanities. As library collections of monographs in the humanities continue to shrink, humanities scholars are clearly confronting difficult challenges in performing and publishing their research. Analysis of viable solutions to the publishing crisis in general, and in the humanities in particular, requires concrete information about the current state of academic publishing. The purpose of this study is to provide some insight, through citation analysis, into current patterns of scholarly publishing in the field of nineteenth-century British and American literary studies. Emerging and shifting publication formats, currency in secondary materials, and existing core groups of authors, works, journals, and publishers were evaluated.

By extending a sample selection method developed by Yeva Lindholm-Romantschuk and Julian Warner, this study examined 6,708 citations from both monographs and periodicals. The citations were first classified as references to primary or secondary materials. Citations to primary materials were tabulated according to publication format. For citations to secondary materials, the following aspects were identified and recorded: author, date, journal title (if applicable), publisher (if applicable), and publication format. The analysis showed that scholars in this field still generally fit the traditional profile of humanities scholars, using a large number of primary sources, drawing upon secondary sources from a broad age spectrum, and relying heavily on the monograph format for both primary and secondary materials. Electronic publishing is not generally considered a viable alternative to print publishing. Articles form an important aspect of literary research, but are not substitutes for monographs. Groups of core works and authors were not identifiable in this sample. However, significant core groups of journals and publishers do exist in this discourse community, and publishing is dominated by university presses. Because the sample was not randomized, the results of the study are not generalizable. However, the results map part of the territory of current scholarly communication in the humanities, provide information to illuminate further discussion of solutions to the publishing crisis in this field, and indicate areas for further research.

Jennifer Wolfe Thompson B.A, University of Kansas, 1981 M.A., University of Missouri at Kansas City, 1987 M.L.I.S., Kent State University, 2002. A Master's Research Paper submitted to the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Library Science 923 Hillcrest Ave. SW; North Canton, Ohio, U.S.A. 44720. E-mail:

Received: 2002-05-07
Accepted: 2002-07-23
Published Online: 2007-12-04
Published in Print: 2002-September

© 2002 by K. G. Saur Verlag GmbH, Federal Republic of Germany

Downloaded on 5.12.2023 from
Scroll to top button