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JBS Updates

Jan 19, 2024

Updates from the Journal of British Studies

NACBS has recently finalized a new contract with Cambridge University Press (CUP) for five years starting 2025. As part of this contract the Journal of British Studies will undergo several changes to bring it in line with broader shifts in the journal publishing industry. This will include flipping the journal fully to Open Access and moving both to online-only delivery and to continuous publication.


Open Access: CUP has been at the forefront of the Open Access model. A fully Open Access journal will ensure that our content reaches the widest possible audience. CUP has a funding model in place to ensure that no author will have to pay to publish in JBS.


Online-only Delivery: Although we recognize that some of our readership will miss receiving the journal in its traditional format—four printed issues per year—this model of journal publishing is increasingly unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly. Transitioning to a fully online journal represents a considerable cost saving for CUP, which will allow them to continue to provide adequate financial support for the journal even as OA changes the funding model for the entire publishing industry. The online-only format will also allow for a quicker release of the journal as it removes the printing and distribution stage. An additional benefit for authors is that images can appear in color at no additional charge, aside from acquiring the reproduction rights. We hope the online-only format will also allow authors to experiment with embedding additional content, such as sound files, within their articles.


Continuous Publication: Publishing articles online once they have completed the production process, rather than bundling them into issues, has benefits for the journal and its authors:


  • Currently articles are released first online and then collated into issues, but not always on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, issues are curated in order to provide a balance of time periods and methodologies. This means that some articles remain online without appearing in an issue much longer than others. This can be frustrating for authors. With continuous publication JBS will publish articles as they move through the production process. We will nevertheless continue to provide readers with a varied array of articles that represent the breadth of the best British Studies scholarship.

  • There is often confusion around whether the online release counts as publication, a serious concern for pre-tenure scholars and those on the job market. Continuous publication means that as soon as the article appears online it is “published” as it will not appear in any other format, except as a digest at the end of the calendar year.

  • When articles are released online, they are all paginated starting at 1. Currently, when articles transition to an issue, in almost every case the pagination changes. This leads to citation errors if scholars download the article but do not follow up on the pagination changes that occur when the issue is published. With continuous publication, all articles retain the pagination that starts with 1, even when the digest is released at the end of the year.

  • Even without the traditional four issues per year, the editors of JBS can still create virtual issues around a theme, which can include both new scholarship and articles from the JBS archive. This will allow editors to be responsive to current events, to promote new articles they want to amplify, to curate an issue in an innovative way, and to give older articles a new life by placing them in a different context.


We have been delighted so far with the quality of submissions and the wonderful response we have had from reviewers. We appreciate this opportunity to engage with the fresh and engaging scholarship that British Studies scholars are producing and to shepherd the journal through changes that will ensure that it remains sustainable and relevant.


Nadja Durbach & Tammy Proctor

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