Academic Publishers Statistics

Academic Publishers Statistics

The academic publishing industry generates around $19 billion annually globally. However, around 50% of that revenue is distributed between only 5 major players. Similarly to the book publishing industry, which has its own big five, academic publishing is dominated by a few major companies.

This report will look into the profitability and scale of academic publishing across the world, as well as look at the ever-growing role of open-access publishing in the industry’s profits.

  • The worldwide revenue from academic publishing stands at over $19 billion per year.
  • Out of this figure, over 50% is attributed to 5 major publishing companies – Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, Taylor & Francis, Springer Nature, and SAGE.
  • The academic publishing industry has one of the biggest profit margins, sometimes amounting to 40%.
  • Major players in academic publishing generate larger profit margins than some of the most successful tech companies, like Google and Amazon.
  • Elsevier is the biggest academic publishing company in the world, generating over $3.35 in revenue. SAGE, Springer Nature, and John Wiley & Sons all generate over $1.5 billion annually.

Largest academic publishers in the world

  • When it comes to the number of academic journals published, Elsevier published 2,928 journals in 2022, the most among all academic publishers.
  • Springer (2,920) and Taylor and Francis (2,508) are the only remaining publishers with over 2,000 journals.
  • Together with Wiley (1,607) and SAGE (1,151), these 5 publishers have over 11,141 journals under their wing as of 2022.
  • This means that the Big5 in academic publishing accounts for at least 25% of all journals published worldwide.
PublisherPublished journals
Elsevier2,928
Springer2,920
Taylor & Francis2,508
Wiley1,607
SAGE1,151
Walter de Gruyter GmbH747
Egypts Presidential Specialized Council for Education and Scientific Research743
Oxford University Press485
MDPI408
CAIRN398

When it comes to open-access journals, the biggest publishers are still resisting this growing trend:

  • 20.18% of Elsevier’s journals are open-access, and this is the biggest share of open journals among the top 5 publishers.
  • Wiley has only 4.11% of journals with open access, and Taylor & Francis has around 9.97%.
  • On the other hand, publishers like MDPI and Copernicus are fully engaged in open-access and all of their journals are widely available for free.
PublisherOA journalsShare of OA journals
Elsevier59120.18%
Springer46715.99%
MDPI408100.00%
Walter de Gruyter39653.01%
Taylor & Francis2509.97%
Hindawi Limited22984.81%
Scientific Research Publishing22799.56%
FapUNIFESP (SciELO)20791.59%
Frontiers Media SA17898.89%
SAGE15613.55%
  • In 2022, Elsevier published around 702,217 academic articles through its journals, the most among all academic publishers.
  • No other publisher had over 450,000 articles published. Elsevier accounts for over 13% of all published academic articles per year.
  • Only 6 publishers produced over 100,000 academic articles in 2022.
  • 10 publishers account for almost 50% of all published articles during the year.
PublisherArticles published
Elsevier702,217
Springer 447,376
MDPI301,235
Wiley255,574
Taylor & Francis147,276
Frontiers Media SA126,116
Oxford University Press87,427
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers78,859
SAGE75,479
Ovid Technologies73,276
  • MDPI leads all academic publishers in the open-access category with 301,216, or 99.99% of its articles having open access.
  • Elsevier published over 175,414 open-access articles, but they account for only 24.98% of the publisher’s total.
  • 36.41% of Springer’s articles have open access.
  • Frontiers Media is the only remaining academic publisher with over 100,000 open-access articles published over the last year.
PublisherOA articles publishedShare of OA articles
MDPI AG301,21699.99%
Elsevier BV175,41424.98%
Springer Science and Business Media LLC162,88636.41%
Frontiers Media SA126,116100.00%
Wiley81,91532.05%
Oxford University Press (OUP)48,61755.61%
Hindawi Limited44,97589.07%
Taylor & Francis Ltd39,30726.69%
SAGE Publications25,86534.27%
Public Library of Science (PLoS)20,628100.00%