What is the actual proportion of journal publishers in the SHERPA RoMEO database?

This is a question that was raised at the recent CRI seminar and as promised I’ve done a bit of digging. Well, anyway, I emailed the fellow at SHERPA so thank you to Bill Hubbard who I paraphrase/quote here.

First of all there are 386 academic publishers accounted for in the SHERPA RoMEO database but it is very difficult to establish what proportion of the worlds’ publishers this figure actually represents. Moreover, having Elsevier in the database is obviously more significant than some obscure specialist publisher that may only publish a single title a year; such publishers, of course, come and go all the time.

It is similarly difficult to give a meaningful figure for the actual number of acedemic journals published by those 330+ publishers and estimates vary (wildly!) between 14,000-28,000 but many of those will be extremely limited circulation specific to a country etc.

It is currently estimated that there are 8-9,000 journals covered by RoMEO although this does vary. It is based on a combination of British Library holdings and publishers outputs. And of course publishers acquire new titles, take over other companies, sell off titles, new ones start, etc every week.

So what, then, is Bill’s conclusion?

“I don’t think you can get better than saying the majority – and the vast majority of titles that are of interest to UK researchers.”