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Survive or perish: Investigating the life cycle of academic journals from 1950 to 2013 using survival analysis methods

Meijun Liu, Xiao Hu, Yuandi Wang and Dongbo Shi

Journal of Informetrics, 2018, vol. 12, issue 1, 344-364

Abstract: Since the emergence of the world’s first academic journal in 1665, numerous academic journals have been launched and ceased publication. At the turn of the twenty-first century, academic journals are experiencing a dramatic revolution amidst increasingly fierce competition. However, limited research has investigated the survival pattern and the reasons why some academic journals have survived and others have not. Drawing on the data of academic journals in Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory from 1950 to 2013, this study examined the life cycle of academic journals and revealed contributing factors related to the survival probabilities of academic journals using a Kaplan-Meier estimator, log-rank statistics, Cox proportional hazards models and propensity score matching. The results show that (1) the average survival rate of all the academic journals presents a rising-decreasing-rising pattern; (2) the third year after commencement is a peak year for academic journals to cease publication; (3) academic journals published in the UK, China, India and Russia, those in the field of technology, and those published in a single language cease publication sooner than their counterparts; (4) academic journals that provide online formats at launch time have a higher probability of surviving than non-online ones and those that provide online formats after launch time; (5) academic journals that provide print versions at launch time are more likely to survive than those without print formats and those that provide print formats after launch time; (6) academic journals that have a peer-reviewed process and that are published in multiple languages have a higher chance of survival; (7) academic journals published in English in China and Japan suffer a higher risk of termination than those published in native languages; (8) academic journals in the field of technology are more likely to cease publication than journals in the field of natural science; and (9) academic journals published in China can survive with a relatively high probability.

Keywords: Academic journals; Survival analysis; Life cycle; Propensity score matching (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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