Open Access Journal Start-Ups: A Cost-Cutting Proposal

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 13:23:54 +0100

On Thu, 3 Jun 2004, [identity deleted] wrote:

> [We are] studying the possibility of setting up a web-only Open Access
> journal... We are currently trying to figure out the financial viability
> of such a journal. We are considering charging a submission fee and
> publication fee to cover copy-editing and production costs. (We would
> not pay referees or editors.)
> Now the practical questions. We are investigating ways of supporting
> the journal---I have read the Soros Institute's guide to starting a
> journal, and have had much discussion with the other people involved in
> the project. We plan to explore funding by a university. Do you have
> other suggestions for sources of funds? And, much more specifically, do
> you know any (preferably open source) software for handling editorial tasks?

One alternative for start-up if you can't find a subsidy would be to
start as a "green" journal (green light to author self-archiving) rather than
"gold" (OA) journal and convert to gold only after self-archiving has
made OA prevail universally.

But perhaps the best way to lower your start-up costs and to promote OA
at the same time would be not to have a journal archive at all! Make
it a policy from the outset that once peer-review has been performed
and the final draft is accepted by your journal, it is the *author*
who must self-archive it in his own institutional OAI-compliant archive.
OAI-interoperability and OAIster (and now even DOAJ) can then take care
of the rest:

The journal itself merely provides the tag certifying the article
as having been refereed, having met the journal's standards, and
having accordingly been duly certified as accepted for publication.
There are many reasons to infer that peer-review and certification
will prove to be the only essential functions of refereed journals
in the OA age (see prior threads below), so why not already take
pre-emptive advantage of that likelihood now, to make OA Journal
start-up much cheaper and ongoing operations far easier? Jettisoning
the journal's obsolescent archiving role is as easy as jettisoning its
obsolete hard-copy generation and distribution role. New "gold" journals
should start up with minimal excess baggage. Their impact depends 100%
on their peer-review standards and content quality now, not on anything

You also ask about online journal software: A source list of software
is maintained by SPARC at

There will soon also be the Jprints version of the PsycPrints software that Mike
Jewell is developing at Southampton

I don't know much about sources of funding for starting up OA Journals
as I am far more involved with the Open Access self-archiving of articles
published conventional in Toll-Access journals (BOAI-1), which I believe
is the faster and surer path to Open Access (OA) than just OA Journals
but possibly OSI might help with start-up (and of course there are many
movements afoot to help pay author costs for publishing in OA journals).

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

Stevan Harnad

    Relevant Prior American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum Subject Threads:

    "Savings from Converting to On-Line-Only: 30%- or 70%+ ?"
     (Started Aug 27 1998)

    "The Logic of Page Charges to Free the Journal Literature"
    (Started April 29 1999)

    "2.0K vs. 0.2K"
    (Started May 7 1999)

    "Online Self-Archiving: Distinguishing the Optimal from the Optional"
    (Started May 11 1999)

    "The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)"
    (Started July 5 1999)

    "Separating Quality-Control Service-Providing from Document-Providing"
    (Started November 30 1999)

    "Distinguishing the Essentials from the Optional Add-Ons"
    (Started July 2001)

    "Author Publication Charge Debate"
    (Started June 28 2001)

    "JHEP will convert from toll-free-access to toll-based access"
    (Started January 5 2002)

    "The True Cost of the Essentials
    (Started April 2 2002)

    "The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review - NOT!)"
    (Started April 1 2002)

    "Journal expenses and publication costs"
    (Started January 10 2003)

    "Scientific publishing is not just about administering peer-review"
    (Started October 15 2003)

    "The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition"
    (Started January 7 2004)
Received on Fri Jun 04 2004 - 13:23:54 BST

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