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Medical Reference Services Quarterly


Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Medical Reference Services Quarterly

ISSN0276-3869 (print), 1540-9597 (online)


Purpose, objective, or mission: Medical Reference Services Quarterly “covers topics of current interest and practical value in the areas of reference in medicine and related specialties, the biomedical sciences, nursing, and allied health.” The journal publishes practice-oriented and research articles on medical reference services, with a focus on “user education, database searching, and electronic information.”1

Target audience: Medical Reference Services Quarterly is an “essential working tool for medical and health sciences librarians” aimed at “professionals who provide reference and public services to health sciences personnel in clinical, educational, or research settings” in the fields of medicine, biomedical science, nursing, allied health.2

Publisher: Taylor & Francis.3

Peer reviewed? Yes, double-blind peer review.4

Type: LIS scholarly journal.

Medium: Print and online.5

Content: Medical Reference Services Quarterly publishes original practical and research articles on health sciences librarianship. Regular columns include Online Updates, Emerging Technologies, Hospital Information Services, Informatics Education, From the Literature, and Book Reviews.6 Recent topics include using the Internet for providing medical information, using biomedical databases, managing medical reference services, continuing education, marketing, user education, document delivery, patient education, ready reference, and collection management, all within the context of medical reference services.7

Frequency of publication: Quarterly.8

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines: Instructions for authors.

Types of contributions accepted:Medical Reference Services Quarterly covers topics of current interest and practical value in public services librarianship in the areas of medicine and related specialties, including the biomedical sciences, nursing, and allied health. MRSQ has expanded its scope to cover most aspects of health sciences librarianship, including health informatics, information literacy, collection development, and management of health sciences libraries”9

Submission and review process: Submissions are submitted via email to the editor as Word file attachments. Manuscripts are screened for originality.10 Manuscripts are “are peer reviewed using a rigorous, double-blind process” by two reviewers assigned based on subject expertise.11

Editorial tone: Formal and scholarly.

Style guide used: Chicago Publication Manual, 16th ed.12

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

Medical Reference Services Quarterly is a journal for LIS professionals who specialize in medical and health science information services in clinical, educational, or research settings, and who produce articles of practical application and original research. Authors should be aware that this is a high-level, “highly acclaimed,” professional and research journal, with an emphasis on articles that analyze and evaluate practical application in all types of medical and health science library and information settings.13


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Not provided.

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Medical Reference Services Quarterly is written in English for a U.S.-based audience. The editors and editorial board members are from U.S. institutions.14

Reader characteristics: Readers are likely to be well educated (often having a science or medical degree and an LIS degree) and to expect articles they can apply to improve the services they provide to their users. Readers have a shared interest in reference services, medical information, and technology. Subscribers to this journal seem to value well-researched and well-written articles that will help them in their work.

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Readers, given the specific nature and focus of this journal, will probably have a general knowledge of LIS subject matter with extensive, in-depth knowledge of medical reference services and research.

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

Readers and authors will likely be professionals and researchers already in the field of medical reference services. Furthermore, faculty and librarians involved with developing programs on information literacy, embedded librarianship, and library instruction directed to medical and clinical students, for example, will find practical, in-depth articles to read and a high-profile journal in which to publish.

Last updated: February 7, 2018


Show 14 footnotes

  1. “Aims and Scope,” Medical Reference Services Quarterly, accessed February 5, 2018,
  2. “Aims and Scope.”
  3. “Journal Information,” Medical Reference Services Quarterly, accessed February 5, 2018,
  4. “Aims and Scope.”
  5. “Journal Information.”
  6. Table of Contents, Medical Reference Services Quarterly 37, no. 1 (January 2018),
  7. “Aims and Scope.”
  8. “Journal Information.”
  9. “Instructions for authors,” Medical Reference Services Quarterly, accessed February 5, 2018,
  10. “Instructions for Authors.”
  11. “Aims and Scope.”
  12. “Instructions for Authors.”
  13. “Aims and Scope.”
  14. “Editorial Board,” Medical Reference Services Quarterly, accessed February 5, 2018,
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Rowman & Littlefield


Publisher analysis

About the publisher

Name: Rowman & Littlefield


Purpose, objective, or mission: Rowman & Littlefield “publishes high-quality college texts, entertaining and informative books for general readers, and professional and scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences.”1 Its range of subject areas include library and information services, linguistics, communication, education, psychology, sociology, among others.2

Target audience: Rowman & Littlefield offers “serious works of scholarship, core textbooks for introductory courses, supplemental, affordable paperbacks for alternative approaches to teaching, and general interest and trade books for the curious reader.”3 LIS books are targeted toward practitioners, undergraduate and graduate students, and scholars.

Owner: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group is an independent publishing group4 which also owns one of the largest book distributors in the United States, National Book Network (NBN).5 The publishing group encompasses several imprints, including Lexington Books (specialized and scholarly research), and trade imprints such as Rowman & Littlefield Trade, AltaMira Press, Scarecrow Press and Sheed & Ward.

Are published books peer reviewed? Yes. Authors are asked to provide a list of four to seven potential peer reviewers when submitting a book proposal.6

Types of books published: LIS-specific books run the gamut from primers and practical guides to both introductory and advanced textbooks.7

Medium: Titles are published simultaneously in print and e-book editions.8 Many books are supplemented with multimedia content.9

Topics covered: A range of disciplines across humanities and social sciences, government data, and education.10 LIS-specific topics cover management, archival studies, cataloging and classification, collection development, information technology, literacy instruction, and school librarianship. LIS series include The Practical Guides for Librarians, Library Technology Essentials, and Innovative Practices for Archives and Special Collections.11

Number of titles published per year: Approximately 1,500 academic, reference, professional, and trade books annually (all subjects).12 The number of LIS titles published per year is unknown.

About the publisher’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of submissions accepted: Proposals for publication should be submitted to the appropriate acquisitions editor,14 and include a prospectus, outline (annotated table of contents), author’s CV or resume, one to two brief writing samples, and a list of potential peer reviewers.15 Full book manuscripts are not accepted unless requested by the acquisitions editor. See the publisher’s website for detailed submission guidelines.

Submission and review process: The publisher will acknowledge receipt of a proposal within two weeks, and aims to render a decision on acceptance within three months.16

Editorial tone: Professional and scholarly.

Style guide used: Unknown.

Conclusion: Evaluation of publisher’s potential for LIS authors

Authors include leading academics and respected practitioners. Formal book proposals require a detailed description, author qualifications, previously published works, writing samples, competitive analysis, and potential markets for a book.17 The publisher is well established in its subject areas, and maintains a presence at academic conferences and conventions.18 Rowman & Littlefield is a highly reputable publisher for LIS authors with a proposal for an academic or professional development topic.


Audience analysis

About the publisher’s audience

Size (as measured by average number of copies per title published)A Spring 2017 catalog listed approximately 150 LIS books geared toward students, professionals, and academics.19 Print runs for titles are not publicly available.

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: Rowman & Littlefield is based in the United States, and titles are published in English. Authors are experts and scholars based mostly in the U.S., UK, and Canada, and this may be reflected in the content of material.20 However, as Rowman & Littlefield is an international publisher, books are available to a worldwide audience.21

Reader characteristics: Readers have varying backgrounds within LIS, from management to technology, to instruction and research. Rowman & Littlefield texts are typically used in graduate and professional development courses, though many titles may be of interest to non-LIS readers.22

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: Readers are students, academics, and professionals with a strong knowledge of or strong interest in LIS subject matter.

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

With diverse backgrounds, skills, professional duties, and interests, readers are likely seeking specialized LIS knowledge or best practices. Material is theoretical and practical, and provides professional learning for the LIS community.

Last updated: February 2, 2018


Show 22 footnotes

  1. “Home,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  2. “Subjects,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  3. “Home.”
  4. “Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group,, accessed February 2, 2018,
  5. “About,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  6. “Submission Guidelines,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  7. “Library Services,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  8. “About.”
  9. “Library Services.”
  10. “About.”
  11. “Library Services.”
  12. “Publisher Details,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  13. “Submission Guidelines.”
  14. “Editors,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  15. “Submission Guidelines.”
  16. “Submission Guidelines.”
  17. “Submission Guidelines.”
  18. “Convenions Schedule,”, accessed February 2, 2018,
  19. “Digital Catalogs,, accessed February 2, 2018,
  20. “Digital Catalogs.”
  21. “About.”
  22. “Digital Catalogs.”
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