Our Academic division maintained its good trading momentum across all lines of business, with a 1.7 per cent growth on the already strong performance in the previous year.

All formats grew except for print, where a decline had been expected with the shift to digital. Although the continued impact of Covid-19 created physical supply chain issues, it nevertheless helped to speed up the transition to digital, especially in Higher Education, and it encouraged management to focus on creating stronger digital products and supporting authors, researchers, and students wherever they work.

Across the many publishing and business activities of the division, the following achievements are worth highlighting:

Higher Education saw material turnover growth from digital products, including in:







In total, Higher Education saw 37 per cent of all turnovers coming from digital formats, an increase from 28 per cent in the previous year.
  • More articles than ever before were available through open access, reaching an important milestone this year of 100,000 articles.
  • Although music was possibly the part of the division most affected by the pandemic in 2020/21, it is now on track to exceed its pre-pandemic turnover.
  • Reference saw exceptional turnover growth in Oxford Bibliographies Online (30%) and Oxford Research Encyclopaedias (46%). Total Reference sales to India and Southeast Asia were up over 80 per cent.

Our Journals publishing saw turnover grow by


In line with our mission, we seek to disseminate high-quality research findings to as many people as possible, and open access publishing furthers this by allowing us the opportunity to develop new models to meet the needs of different academic and professional communities.

We now publish more than 100 open access journals and more than 20,000 articles per year. We launched new read and publish agreements in Australia and New Zealand, Italy, the UK, the US, Sweden, Spain, Cyprus, Croatia, and Lithuania this year. We also published 41 fully Open Access books, plus two with open access chapters.


new Academic and Professional books published


visits by researchers or students reading one or more journal articles on the Oxford Academic platform (+5%)


institutions worldwide with open access read and publish agreements


countries that we operate in, including new sales in Greenland and Suriname

New and notable titles

The Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law was one of the standout publications of the year, bringing together cutting-edge scholarship with a comprehensive overview of the law. Oxford Handbooks in Law also published new titles on inter alia, international environmental law, transnational law, and comparative health law.

Online, the law team launched The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19, an innovative open access collaboration with the law faculties of King’s College London, University College London, and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

The Compendium provides detailed reference on the political and legal responses of 70 countries around the world to the pandemic.

In the Oxford Open Journal series, new additions include Oxford Open Neuroscience, Oxford Open Economics, and Oxford Open Energy, bringing the total number in the series to eight.

Key publications

Some of our most notable titles this year included:

  • The American War in Afghanistan by Carter Malkasian. After publication, Malkasian appeared on several media outlets to interpret the situation on the ground to the public. The book made the cover of The New York Times Book Review and was a New York Times Notable Book. It also won the 2021 Lionel Gelber Prize for best English non-fiction book on foreign policy.
  • The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris by Colin Jones. It was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper biography prize and received extraordinary media coverage.
  • The Oxford Handbook of the South African Economy edited by Arkebe Oqubay, Fiona Tregenna, and Imraan Valodia. His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the keynote speech at the book launch.
  • We published a major new commentary on the contentious UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, edited by a team of legal advisers at the European Commission.
  • Heidi Larson, author of Stuck: How Vaccine Rumors Start – and Why They Don’t Go Away, featured on the BBC’s 100 Women for 2021 list.
  • Accessible Technology and the Developing World edited by Michael Ashley Stein and Jonathan Lazar. An important book on who can access technology, with contributors from a diverse set of backgrounds and professions.
  • As Ralph Vaughan Williams’ principal publisher, we supported worldwide events, broadcasts, recordings, and publications to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth.


visits to our online products (books and reference works)


awards won around the world


books selected for Best Book of the Year, Holiday Gift Guides, or Books to Read

Case studies

The journey to digitizing


Open access milestones