Practical Academic Librarianship (PAL)

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Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Practical Academic Librarianship: The International Journal of the SLA Academic Division (PAL)

ISSN: 1947-0037


Purpose, objective, or mission: Practical Academic Librarianship (PAL) is a journal “for all academic librarians and information professionals serving academic departments or affiliated institutions including centers, institutes, specialized collections, and special units within or related to academic units.”1 It is “focused on the practical side of academic librarianship.”2

Target audience: As the “International Journal” of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Academic Division, PAL is directed to “librarians serving academic departments or affiliated institutions” in the United States and internationally,3 but as an open-access journal, it is not limited to SLA members.

Publisher: Academic Division of the Special Libraries Association.4

Peer reviewed? Yes, blind peer review.5

Type: LIS scholarly journal.

Medium: Online.

Content: PAL primarily publishes research articles; however, the journal also encourages and provides guidelines for think pieces and for interactive online exhibits and demonstrations. The content of the journal is broad and includes “implementation of new initiatives and best practices; original and significant research findings with practical applications; analysis of issues and trends; descriptive narratives of successful and unsuccessful ventures; [and] examination of the role of libraries in meeting specialized client needs.6

Frequency of publication: PAL publishes two issues per year; however, the journal “publishes items as soon as they are ready by adding articles to the ‘current’ volume’s Table of Contents….The first issue runs January 1 – June 30 and the second issue runs July 1 – December 31.”7

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines: Submissions.

Types of contributions accepted: PAL accepts research papers; think pieces (not peer reviewed but screened by an editor) intended to “€spur discussion amongst scholars on message boards for each piece€”; and interactive online exhibits and demonstrations, whose form and content should be proposed to the editors, as with a written piece. The journal’s special interests include a broad list of topics: information technology, library administration and management, the library in the university mission, collections management, teaching and learning, information literacy, space planning, higher education policy, marketing, user studies, resource sharing, institutional repositories, electronic serials.8

Submission and review process: Authors must have an account on the journal’s website that enables them to be in the author role; all manuscripts are submitted online. Manuscripts must comply with the seven items on the Submission Preparation Checklist.9 The editor screens manuscripts and sends appropriate ones for “rigorous blind peer review by two reviewers.” The review process is approximately six weeks for manuscripts of 25 pages or less.10 The website provides a flowchart of the Open Journal Systems software, which is a helpful overview of the publishing process.11

Editorial tone: Scholarly tone, but very readable.

Style guide used: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA).12

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

PAL was developed specifically to present a top-tier, peer-reviewed journal “€that would provide some gravitas for [the journal’s] authors, many of whom are at tenure-granting institutions€.” The journal aims to attract well-known reviewers and publish high-quality research papers to help build its reputation, as it is a fairly new journal (established in 2011), and to provide information to the LIS academic sector.13  This is a good place for LIS authors to submit scholarly and research articles with practical application in academic libraries and related academic environments.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Circulation data are not available.

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: PAL is an open-access journal written in English for an international audience of academic librarians and information professionals in all manner of library, special library, and institutional settings.14 The editors are primarily from U.S. universities, but there are editors from the United Kingdom and New Zealand.15

Reader characteristics: Readers are primarily academic librarians and information professionals. The journal is part of the SLA Academic Division, which welcomes anyone “€working in or with an interest in college, university, or other higher education-affiliated libraries and information centers.”16

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: These academic librarians and LIS professionals will be well versed in LIS subject matter and jargon, both theoretical and practical. However, articles are still written to be read and understood by a broader population.

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

Readers of PAL expect high-quality research that has a practical application in LIS academic settings. This is a good place to submit current research, or a more creative think piece, focusing on any aspect of the academic LIS community and its practices. It will be read and appreciated by a group of academic peers.

Last updated: February 26, 2018


Show 16 footnotes

  1. “Editorial Policies,” Practical Academic Librarianship, accessed February 26, 2018,
  2. Leslie J. Reynolds and Christian Miller, “Becoming the Change We Seek,” Practical Academic Librarianship: The International Journal of the SLA Academic Division 1(no. 1): ii,
  3. Home, Practical Academic Librarianship, accessed February 26, 2018,
  4. “Journal Sponsorship,” Practical Academic Librarianship, accessed February 26, 2018,
  5. “Editorial Policies.”
  6. “Editorial Policies.”
  7. “Editorial Policies.”
  8. “Editorial Policies.”
  9. “Submissions,” Practical Academic Librarianship, accessed February 26, 2018,
  10. “Editorial Policies.”
  11. “About This Publishing System,” Practical Academic Librarianship, accessed February 26, 2018,
  12. “Submissions.”
  13. Reynolds and Miller, “Becoming the Change,” ii.
  14. “Home.”
  15. “Editorial Team,” Practical Academic Librarianship, accessed February 26, 2018,
  16. “About Us,” SLA Academic Division, accessed February 26, 2018,
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