This article presents a historiography of the longest-running English language studies journal in Taiwan within the socio-political environment of higher education since reforms beginning in 1994 led to the particular ‘publish or perish’ paradigm currently faced by Taiwan-based researchers. Utilizing textual analysis and in-depth interviews, the study traces the journal's development from 1995 to 2010. Data collected included: (a) journal front and back covers and tables of contents; (b) editorial and advisory board member lists and editorial communication; (c) first one to two pages of all articles; and (d) transcripts from in-depth interviews with five individuals who have been contributors, reviewers, and/or editors. Findings show ways the journal changed from a local Chinese magazine to a respected English-dominant national journal publishing original research articles and included in a national citation index. Its development coincided with policies established by the government and institutions under market pressures and globalization leading to competition for higher education funding, which have urged scholars to publish research in journals listed in international bibliometric indices. The concept of centering institutions informs the analysis of the multiple influences on the journal's development, and a critical–pragmatic perspective situates recommendations for national journals to succeed in non-center contexts.