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Publication culture in different disciplines

tekijä: Tuija Irmeli Oksman Viimeisin muutos perjantai 06. heinäkuuta 2018, 11.06

Learning about the publication culture in your academic field helps you recognize what kind of sources you need to seek. Depending on your academic field, some publication types may be more relevant for you than others. Publication types include books and scientific articles.

Learn more about publication cultures and information resources in Video Information resources for different needs and how to find databases (4 min).

Choose English subtitles from the quotation mark icon below the video screen.
(If the video does not work below, use this link to watch the video.)

Use these general guidelines and the table below to determine what kind of sources you need to seek.

  • All academic disciplines value international peer-reviewed articles. Peer-reviewing or refereeing means that an article is reviewed by other researchers, as well as the editors, before it is accepted to be published in a scientific journal. Hence, peer-reviewing is a prerequisite for being published in an academic journal. Many databases let you limit your search results to peer-reviewed articles or scholarly articles.
  • Books make up a considerable part of published research in humanities and social sciences. Since peer-reviewed articles are highly valued by all disciplines, both articles and books are relevant, though.
  • Conference papers usually have information on newest research or research that a research group is working on. Keep in mind that conference papers are rarely peer-reviewed and their quality may be questionable. Conference papers should not be your only choice. In academic fields such as business and economics and especially information technology, conference papers are published widely.

The modern western concept of science includes two distinct cultures: the traditions of natural sciences and human sciences, or studies, often described as hard and soft sciences. New fields often represent applied sciences which aim at finding solutions.

Your discipline

Typical methods of publication

Goals of research

Educational Sciences,
Social Sciences,
Economics and Business Studies

  • National and international peer-reviewed journal articles are favored.

  • Special characteristic is a large amount of monographs and articles in compilations and omnibus editions. Compilations are books that contain a set of articles, usually revolving around a common theme.

  • In addition to articles and books, conference publications are relevant in economics and business studies.
  • In humanities, knowledge formation is holistic and repetitive: it aims at interpreting and understanding phenomena comprehensively.
  • Educational sciences represent applied sciences which aim at finding solutions to social issues.
  • Social sciences have characteristics similar to both humanities and educational sciences.

Sport Sciences,
Health Sciences,

  • Main focus is on international research.

  • International peer-reviewed journal articles are favored.
  • Knowledge formation is closer to natural sciences than humanities and is theoretical, hierarchical and cumulative.
  • These disciplines aim at finding solutions by utilizing existing research.

Mathematics and Science

  • Main focus on international research.

  • International peer-reviewed journal articles are favored.
  • Knowledge formation is theoretical, hierarchical and cumulative
  • The goal of research is to find general regularities.

Other disciplines

E.g. Information Technology

  • In the field of information technology, for example, conference publications have traditionally been important, but peer-reviewed articles are highly valued as in all disciplines.

Publication culture is about where and how research is published. Different academic disciplines have their own kinds of publication cultures because they have their own established practices of knowledge formation and goals of research. Differences in knowledge formation mean e.g. differences in the general principles of how data is collected, how it is analyzed to form information and how information is interpreted to create knowledge. Other things that constitute a publication culture include co-authoring practices and publishing productivity.

References: Ministry of Education (2008) Disciplinary differences in publishing practices (In Finnish, summary in English)



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