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Studies & Degrees in Publishing

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To “publish” means to “make public.” Publishing is the process as to how a material can be made “public.” It has two major markets – (1) the general consumer who buys books, magazines, journals, periodicals, and other published materials for personal use; and (2) the academe that purchases published materials to be used as reference of students, faculty, and researchers in academic, scientific, and research endeavours.

Publishing degree is usually offered as 4-year college program. It is also offered as post-graduate programs in some universities. The main objective of these programs is to walk the students through different aspects of publishing (i.e., academic, vocational, technical, ethical, social, cultural, political, and managerial) and their application in actual work settings. Publishing covers a vast array of disciplines. Its business aspect covers project acquisition and management, distribution, marketing, sales, and financial management; its legal aspect covers intellectual property and copyrights; its technical aspect covers research, writing, designing, editing, printing, binding, warehousing, and the use of information technology. These courses prepare the students in different possibilities that they may end up doing – may it be as publisher, as agent, or as supplier in the industry. Given the wide scope of this field, having an area of specialization is necessary. Some of the known areas are web design, desktop publishing, electronic publishing, print publishing, editorial processes, writing, broadcasting, and magazines and newspapers. Fieldwork or immersion in publishing companies is as important as theoretical lessons taught in the classroom, and this is why it is an important part of the curriculum.

Commercial publishers (or publishing companies) act as middleman between authors and readers. In the case of journal publishing, for instance, publishers contract authors to write articles for their journals. Articles will then undergo the journal production workflow – peer-review to ensure that the content complies with the journal’s subject matter, copyediting to conform to set/standard style, XML creation for uploading to web (registering the article to online journal databases, such as PubMed Central, Ovid, and HighWire Express), figure processing (for articles that have associated figures), proofreading, typesetting of pages to come up with layout that follows the journal’s style, issue binding, and printing. This typical journal production workflow produces journals (in the form of PDF pages) that are ready for both print and web distribution. Creativity and aesthetic are important in all walks of this industry; but these need to go in tandem with practicality, especially in times of economic challenges. Printing companies can really feel the effect of global economic recession because of the lesser print orders from publishers. This is so because today’s technology allows for availability of almost all resources online, and consumers can get it for less.

Publishing is a fast-changing, IT-driven industry; and as a player in this business, one has to live by the pace that it moves. Electronic publishing, for instance, is seen to outweigh print publishing nowadays. Who would have thought that books which were once just available as bulky printed materials can actually be stored in palmtops? Yes, e-book publishing is the name!

Graduates of publishing-related courses seek and find employment in journal and book publishing companies, in periodical sector, in advertising sector, and in other media-related organizations, including TV, radio, and the Internet. Truly, picking from these various choices of possible career is yours to make. With hundreds of thousands of new books, journals, magazines, and web materials published and purchased every year, publishing is surely a thriving industry.