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Practitioners and academics as authors and readers: the case of LIS journals

Christian Schlögl (Institute of Information Science and Information Systems, University of Graz, Graz, Austria)
Wolfgang G. Stock (Department of Information Science, Heinrich‐Heine‐University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 5 September 2008




The aim of this paper is to explore the relationship between practitioners and academics in scholarly communication in library and information science (LIS) journals.


The research is based on a reader survey, a citation analysis and an editor survey. The reader survey identifies both differences in journal rankings between practitioners and academics and the contribution of practitioners to LIS journals. The editor survey provides the proportions of practitioners and academics for the journals. The citation analysis shows the disparities in information exchange between the journals mainly preferred by practitioners and those more favoured by academics. Furthermore, it is possible to explore if practitioner journals differ from academic journals in the citation indicators and in other data collected in the editor survey.


It is found that: practitioners play an active role both as readers and as authors of articles in LIS journals; there is only a low level of information exchange between practitioner and academic journals; the placement of advertisements, the size of the editorial board, requirements concerning an extensive bibliography, the number and the half‐life of the references show a clear distinction between practitioner and academic journals. Interestingly, the impact factor did not turn out to be a good indicator to differentiate a practitioner from an academic journal.

Research limitations/implications

This research is only exploratory because it is based on separate studies previously conducted. Further research is also needed to explore the relationship between practitioners and academics more deeply.


The value of this paper lies in bringing together the findings from complementary studies (reader survey, editor survey and citation analysis) and identifying hypotheses for future research, especially with regards to the roles of and interactions between LIS practitioners and academics in scholarly communication.



Schlögl, C. and Stock, W.G. (2008), "Practitioners and academics as authors and readers: the case of LIS journals", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 64 No. 5, pp. 643-666.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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