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Types of Scientific Publications

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Introduction to Scientific Publishing

Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology ((BRIEFSAPPLSCIENCES))


This chapter summarizes briefly different forms of journal and book publications. Different types of publications from both groups are defined and a possible assessment is given in the form of a publication pyramid. Types of publications which cannot be collected in the above mentioned groups are summarized under the expression grey literature. At the end of the chapter, different ways of identification of publications such as International Standard Book Number, International Standard Serial Number, Library of Congress Control Number and Digital Object Identifier are introduced.

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  1. 1.

    One may also find slightly different definitions, especially in a non-academic context [1, 2]: A magazine as a periodical with a popular focus, the so-called popular magazine such as ‘Time’, ‘Newsweek’, ‘U.S. News & World Report’ and the journal as a scholarly periodical which is written by experts and contains original research, data, conclusions, and a bibliography.

  2. 2.

    There is also the possibility that some university departments or units publish journals and books on a non-profit basis. However, this is rather the exception. On the other hand, there are many scientific societies, e.g. IEEE or ASME, that publish their own journals. The question here is: Act they still as a society or are they already commercial publishers?

  3. 3.

    The Merriam-Websters Online Dictionary defines a ‘patent’ as “a writing securing for a term of years the exclusive right to make, use, or sell an invention”.

  4. 4.

    University administrations give also credit and support to patents, e.g. by covering the patent fees. However, it should be considered that patents are rather to protect an idea or process etc. from being applied by industrial competitors. In a classical view of universities there is no series production of any products. However, there are nowadays different trends which are manifested, for example, in the support of startup companies by university administrations. In addition, patents are seen as a sign of research close to industrial reality.

  5. 5.

    See Chap. 5 for further information on abstract and index databases.

  6. 6.

    The creation of a ‘publication pyramid’ was inspired by the commonly known food pyramid.

  7. 7.

    EAN-13 is an international bar code standard. EAN stands for the European Article Numbering system.

  8. 8.

    The EAN International (founded in 1977 as the European Article Numbering Association (EANA), renamed in 1992) and the Uniform Code Council (UCC) were joined in 2005 under the name of GS1.

  9. 9.

    “A serial is a publication in whatever medium, issued in successive parts and it usually consists of either numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely.” [18].

  10. 10.

    A periodical is a magazine published at regular intervals, usually weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or quarterly [19].

  11. 11.

    Definitions for different types of publications cane be found in the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science (ODLIS) [20].

  12. 12.

    This is the actual format which is used from 2001 onwards, see [23].

  13. 13.

    Libraries use different formats of metadata, such as MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) records, see [25].


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Correspondence to Andreas Öchsner .

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Öchsner, A. (2013). Types of Scientific Publications. In: Introduction to Scientific Publishing. SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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