The Future of Academic Publishing is Now

[Editor’s note: this post is contributed by R. Michael Alvarez, Co-Editor of Political Analysis and Professor of Political Science at Caltech.]

Over the past six months, Political Analysis has made two important transitions: the move to Cambridge University Press and to Cambridge’s new publishing platform, Core.  We are excited about these changes. Working with The Press as a publishing partner expands our journal’s reach, while providing benefits to members of the Society for Political Methodology  (for example, SPM’s new website,

Yet it’s the transition to Cambridge Core that is most exciting. This new publishing platform provides innovative synergies between our journal and other relevant journals, as well as books and Elements–Cambridge’s new digital enterprise combining the best of journals and books; all of which will benefit our readers, and more generally students and scholars in social science methodology. Some changes/features will be immediately recognizable to readers; others will appear later, as new features and content on Cambridge Core emerges and the Press adds new functionality; but also as researchers learn how to take advantage of the platform’s capabilities.

For example, in the past, most journals published a manuscript in one location, while ancillary materials—most importantly, supplementary and replication materials—were archived independently. Now, all content—the primary text, supplementary material, code, data—will be in one place, or easily accessible via links. Readers of Political Analysis will be able to toggle back and forth between the online published version of a manuscript and the ancillary materials. This accessibility continues to evolve while the Cambridge team and us work to build direct connections among the manuscript, data, and code.

As mentioned, emerging synergies will enable manuscripts published in Political Analysis to be connected to related papers published on Cambridge Core, in political science, and across the social and data sciences. Readers will be able to build their own content within the Cambridge universe by connecting manuscripts topically, methodologically, or however they find useful.  As editors of Political Analysis, we’ll be able to make these connections as well, for example “virtual issues,” which could include curated content from the American Political Science Review or Political Science Research and Methods, among other journals.

And there are of course the tens of thousands of books on Cambridge Core, providing content for a new type of virtual issue for our readers, where we can combine journal and book content. For example, we will be able to publish virtual issues on topics that will include manuscripts from Political Analysis, chapters from book series like Analytical Methods for Social Research, and material from Elements.

I think this is exciting stuff. I hope everyone agrees. The future of academic publishing is now, and we are excited to play a part in its creation.

About Justin Esarey

Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University.
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