May 26, 2022

Journal Article: “The Diverse Niches of Megajournals: Specialism Within Generalism”

The following article was recently published by the  Association for Information Science & Technology.


The Diverse Niches of Megajournals: Specialism Within Generalism

Kyle Siler
Utrecht University

Vincent Larivière
Université de Montréal
Université du Québec

Cassidy R. Sugimoto
Indiana University

SourceJournal of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T)
“Early View”
DOI: 10.1002/asi.24299


Over the past decade, megajournals have expanded in popularity and established a legitimate niche in academic publishing. Leveraging advantages of digital publishing, megajournals are characterized by large publication volume, broad interdisciplinary scope, and peer‐review filters that select primarily for scientific soundness as opposed to novelty or originality. These publishing innovations are complementary and competitive vis‐à‐vis traditional journals. We analyze how megajournals (PLOS OneScientific Reports) are represented in different fields relative to prominent generalist journals (NaturePNASScience) and “quasi‐megajournals” (Nature CommunicationsPeerJ). Our results show that both megajournals and prominent traditional journals have distinctive niches, despite the similar interdisciplinary scopes of such journals. These niches—defined by publishing volume and disciplinary diversity—are dynamic and varied over the relatively brief histories of the analyzed megajournals. Although the life sciences are the predominant contributor to megajournals, there is variation in the disciplinary composition of different megajournals. The growth trajectories and disciplinary composition of generalist journals—including megajournals—reflect changing knowledge dissemination and reward structures in science.

Direct to Full Text Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.