Success Factors of Academic Journals in the Digital Age

Discussion Paper of the Institute for Organisational Economics 6/2019

32 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2019

See all articles by Alexander Dilger

Alexander Dilger

University of Münster

Milan Klus

University of Münster

Date Written: June 1, 2019


Digitalisation has opened up new opportunities for the dissemination of information. That is why many academic journals have started introducing online services since the early 1990s. Previous studies suggest that online availability and free access to articles are positively connected to the number of citations. However, little is known about the relative impact of the introduction of online services at the journal level and what provides a long-term competitive advantage in times of digital change. Based on panel data from SSCI-listed management journals from 1989 to 2016, we examine which journals have pioneered the digital field, to what extent first-mover advantages can be identified, and which journal characteristics are associated with citation-based performance indicators. Our results show that lower-ranked journals were the first to introduce digital services and were beneficiaries of the digital age. Furthermore, we find a significant connection between the international composition of author teams and performance indicators. Our analysis of the relationship between online availability as well as open access and performance contradicts previous studies as we find that significant correlations diminish when adequately controlling for journal-level effects.

Keywords: Digitalisation, Journal, Online, Open Access, SSCI

JEL Classification: I23, L82, L86, M21, O33

Suggested Citation

Dilger, Alexander and Klus, Milan, Success Factors of Academic Journals in the Digital Age (June 1, 2019). Discussion Paper of the Institute for Organisational Economics 6/2019, Available at SSRN: or

Alexander Dilger (Contact Author)

University of Münster ( email )

Institute for Organisational Economics
Scharnhorststr. 100
Münster, D-48151
+49-251-83-25330 (Phone)
+49-251-83-28429 (Fax)


Milan Klus

University of Münster ( email )


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