Monday, August 09, 2021

Association Publishing is Bigger than You Think.

Associations and member organizations support some of the most prolific publishing in academia and science. Ranking and estimating the size of this market is difficult because reporting can be inconsistent; however, in a recent research project undertaken by my team, we identified approximately 230 associations with publishing programs and/or education programs. These associations range in size from mega-organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association and American Chemical Society to organizations with less than $200,000 in revenue.

In total these organizations produce over $3.5 Billion in publishing, educational and training materials annually with the majority of this content supporting research and the mission of each organization. While publishing is an important component of most associations on this list (88% report publishing revenues) it is notable how the importance of publishing revenues to total association revenue varies. Of the large organizations with small publishing programs, it is interesting to contemplate whether they are underestimating a potential secondary source of funding particularly when many of these associations compare unfavorably with associations in the same field but with more significant publishing programs. We have built a full list (including key staff salaries and vendor payments) but here is the top 20:

Association

Year

Total Rev

Pub Rev

American Chemical Society

2019

$671,000,000

$560,000,000

Consumer Reports

2019

 254,000,000

 210,000,000

Institute Of Electrical And Electronics Engineers Inc

2019

 563,000,000

 208,000,000

Massachusetts Medical Society (NEJM)

2019

 135,000,000

 104,000,000

American Psychological Association

2018

 135,000,000

 100,000,000

CFA Institute

2019

 416,000,000

 65,000,000

American Society For Testing And Materials

2019

 100,000,000

 64,000,000

American Society of Testing and Materials

2019

 100,000,000

 64,000,000

American Institute Of Physics

2019

 83,000,000

 63,161,000

American Medical Association

2018

 332,000,000

 60,000,000

American College of Cardiology

2018

 115,000,000

 51,000,000

American Physical Society

2018

 67,000,000

 45,000,000

American National Standards Institute

2019

 81,000,000

 39,000,000

American Association For The Advancement Of Science

2019

 116,000,000

 36,000,000

American Academy Of Pediatrics

2019

 123,000,000

 35,000,000

American Society for Clinical Oncology

2019

 163,000,000

 32,000,000

Public Library Of Science

2019

 30,000,000

 32,000,000

SAE International

2018

 79,000,000

 30,000,000

The Optical Society

2019

 50,000,000

 26,000,000

In our related research into publishing technology (for our annual report), interviewees noted a COVID related trend impacting associations showing how varied and broad-based their publishing programs can be. During COVID many associations had to communicate with their members in any way they could due to the absence of in-person meetings and conferences. Not only did this create new classes of content (for them) but it also established new processes around engagement. These processes are becoming embedded into how the organizations treat all content not just the ‘formally’ published research materials and education content and associations are seeking supporting tools and solutions. As an outcome of COVID, content types have grown to include webinars, podcasts, market research some of which may have been produced in the past but is now viewed more as an asset and less of a throw-away.

As we will note in our technology report, associations are likely to expand their publishing programs and will be seeking solutions to support that activity. Several software companies such as Silverchair have anticipated this trend and have solutions in the market already. We will see more activity in this space over the coming year.

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