Who Has Published What in East Asian Studies? an Analysis of Publishers and Publishing Trends

By Chen, Su; Wang, Chengzhi | Library Resources & Technical Services, January 2008 | Go to article overview

Who Has Published What in East Asian Studies? an Analysis of Publishers and Publishing Trends


Chen, Su, Wang, Chengzhi, Library Resources & Technical Services


This study examines Western-language, particularly English-language, monographs on East Asian studies published in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and other countries from 2000 through 2005. The study provides a landscape view of the scope and trends of publications for both scholars and librarians in East Asian studies. The data for this study were collected from the YBP's GOBI (Global Online Bibliographic Information) database, covering publications profiled by YBP from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2005. The results of data analysis shed light on scholarly currents and publishing trends in East Asian studies over that six-year period.

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Scholars and librarians in East Asian studies often wonder how research productivity and publishing trends evolve in the field. Which publishers are active in this field? What subject areas have been covered prolifically or meagerly, and what does the publishing landscape look like? Traditionally, the areas of East Asian literature, history, and philosophy have been strongly represented. Is this still so? Have traditional trends experienced any shifts? Which publishers are the major players in the field? Do university presses publish in different areas from commercial publishers?

Some fifty years ago, Frederick Mote (1922-2005), a leading professor of Chinese history and culture at Princeton University, raised similar questions. He surveyed important academic publishers and their major publications, introducing new publishing developments in Chinese studies in the Republic of China on Taiwan to the Journal of Asian Studies audience. (1) He wrote, "Although the Journal has on several occasions during the last five or six years reported briefly on publication there, now there is perhaps some value in reporting more comprehensively on recent developments, both because the phenomenon itself is of interest, and because many recently published items will be desired by scholars and by research libraries." (2) The authors of this article share his rationale in the examination of recent scholarly currents and publishing trends.

The purpose of Mote's survey was "not to list all of the worthwhile books recently published, for that would be an obvious impossibility, but to make the general outlines and character of recent publication activities known, and to inform the reader of names and addresses of publishers from whom more detailed information can be obtained." (3) Today, however, improved technology can be utilized to achieve the goal of a fairly complete survey. Technologically, all worthwhile books recently published can be listed and analyzed. The authors used YBP'S Global Online Bibliographical Information (GOBI) database in hopes of providing a comprehensive analysis of nearly all publications profiled. The analysis helped reveal characteristics of these publications and East Asian studies publishing trends.

This study's purpose was to evaluate the scope of, and trends in, East Asian research and publications. In the study, the authors use the term "East Asian studies" to refer to studies on China, Japan, and Korea; "Chinese studies" includes People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Tibet. Within "Korean studies," both North Korea and South Korea are covered. In this study, the focus is on print books. The scope includes English-language monographs on East Asian studies published in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and other countries between 2000 and 2005. The data were collected from GOBI, covering publications profiled by YBP from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2005.

Research and publishing trends are of interest to publishers, though largely from the perspective of sales. The Association of American Publishers Industry Statistics Annual Report registers data based on publishers' responses to questionnaires, collecting data on the sale of books in the category of "Professional and Scholarly Publishing," which covers categories of technical, scientific, law, business, humanities, and medical materials. …

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