Federally Financed Health Journal Says "Write On" to Public/Private Venture

Conversion of Public Health Reports to a public/private venture

Public Health Reports is a journal for the public health practice community and scholars in the field. It is published six times a year and has a circulation of about 7,000.

Between 1996 and 1997, the Association of Schools of Public Health, Washington, developed a plan for Public Health Reports to convert from a federally financed (Department of Health and Human Services-Public Health Service) publication to a public-nonprofit partnership with the association.

The project's goal was to increase the 117-year-old journal's quality, circulation, and impact on the field of public health by informing the public health community about the latest developments in science, research, policy, and practice.

The partnership with the Association of Schools of Public Health was considered an asset because the association offers increased readership, contributors, and investments.

Key Results

  • The Association of Schools of Public Health hired a consultant (Jonathan Piel, former editor of Scientific American) to advise them on the pros and cons of the joint venture, its editorial direction, business plans and strategies, potential risks for both parties, and criteria for choosing a publisher.

  • On May 1, 1997, the federal Public Health Service and the Association of Schools of Public Health signed a five-year co-sponsorship agreement to publish Public Health Reports jointly.

    Under the agreement, the Public Health Services remains responsible for editorial content, and the Association of Schools of Public Health agrees to enter into a contract with a commercial publishing firm to conduct marketing, solicit advertising, collect subscription payments, maintain subscription records, and print and distribute Public Health Reports.

    The Association of Schools of Public Health is negotiating with Oxford University Press for these services.