The original aim of academic publishing was to communicate the latest research results to the academic community via academic journals and textbooks. Academic papers were submitted for peer review (the scrutiny of other experts in the same field) and made available to a wider audience.
Today, academic publishing of journals and textbooks is a large part of an international industry. However, there are also some academic publishing organisations which are not-for-profit, set up specifically for the purpose of publishing academic research material. The majority are departments of universities, colleges, and museums publishing books for scholars and specialists. Nevertheless, university presses sometimes engage in trade publishing as well as academic publishing, marketing books to the general consumer as well as the academic market.
Most academic work is published in journal article or book form. Though today, because of the sheer number of published academic papers, modern academics now try to run electronic journals and distribute academic materials without the need for publishers. Since about the early 1990s, licensing of electronic resources, particularly journals, has been very common.
Academic publishing companies include large, global and small, independent companies, not for profit organisations and learned societies.« Back