ASA has partnered with SAGE since 2010 when Council decided to move away from self-publishing its scholarly journals. As anticipated at the time, the decision to work with a commercial publisher has greatly enhanced our ability over the past nine years to disseminate scholarship broadly, strengthen our journal portfolio, more effectively and efficiently manage journal operations, and generate revenue for mission-driven purposes.
As we approached the end to our second contract this year, ASA Council and ASA Committee on the Executive Office and Budget engaged in extensive discussion about future options for our publications. These conversations were informed both by the report of an external consultant and a thorough evaluation by an ad-hoc committee composed of the President, Secretary, and Chair of the Committee on Publications. We are pleased to report that this thorough review process culminated in a contract renewal for most of our journals. Signed in the late summer, the renewal contract will extend from January 2019 through 2026. A few of our SAGE publications are on separate contracts that will not be up for renewal for several years.
Expanding the dissemination of scholarship
ASA and SAGE share a commitment to making our publications as accessible as possible, both to our members and to a wider audience. For example, our contract allows us to provide online access to all ASA-wide journals from 2004 to the present to all ASA members. In addition, we provide free access to our journals to more than 5,000 institutions in developing countries. Further, in 2016 SAGE worked with us to launch our newest journal, Socius, which is published in an online-only, open-access format. And we are thrilled that SAGE has worked with us to significantly increase online access to Contexts, our journal that is written for an audience of non-sociologists. Contexts is now freely available for 30 days after publication of each issue and all content becomes permanently open after 12 months. Working with a large, international publisher also allows us to market our journals as broadly as possible through a variety of consortia opportunities and other strategies.
Strengthening our journal portfolio
Our relationship with SAGE also has allowed us to strengthen our portfolio in recent years. Our most recent launch was Socius; in 2011 we launched the section journal Society and Mental Health; and in 2015 we launched the section journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. SAGE incurred significant development costs for all of these important new outlets for research that ASA could not have afforded without this partnership.
Effectively and efficiently managing journal operations
SAGE provides us with the infrastructure for print and online publication of 12 ASA journals. Among other things, this includes the online submission and review system for each journal, printing and mailing issues to members and institutional subscribers, online access and distribution, management of rights and permissions, and advertising and marketing. The quality of these services is possible given that SAGE has a large enough portfolio beyond ASA to support high quality, scalable infrastructure.
Generating revenue for mission-driven purpose
A significant percentage of ASA’s annual operating revenue, which supports our editorial offices and other important disciplinary activities, comes from our publishing agreement. This contract is crucial for the sustainability of our association.
ASA looks forward to an ongoing, productive partnership with SAGE that will allow us to continually innovate in ways that advance the discipline of sociology.