OA journal business models
Revision as of 02:31, 22 February 2012 by Eekilcer
This list is part of the Open Access Directory.
- This is a list of business models and revenue sources for OA journals.
- Some revenue sources are supplementary and not sufficient. We aim to include all the revenue sources actually used by OA journals, even if they are small parts of larger business models.
- For the time being, the major categories are in alphabetical order, which does not reflect their relative prevalence.
- There are many models, details, and examples in Raym Crow's October 2009 study for SPARC, Income Models for Supporting Open Access. Volunteers could help the cause by using the study to enhance this page.
- Related lists in OAD:
- For real-time updates, some not yet reflected here, follow the oa.business_models tag of the OA Tracking Project.
- Description. The model is to use advertising on the journal's web site or article pages in order to generate income to help support the journal.
- Variant. A journal or its publisher can sell advertising space to companies willing to advertise in the journal. This usually requires a marketing staff.
- Variant. A journal can use a service like Google AdSense, which places ads on pages based on an algorithmic reading of their content. These services require no marketing staff. Because the journal doesn't know in advance what ads will be placed, this method can answer suspicions that advertising compromises editorial integrity.
- Examples. Journals using Google AdSense include:
- Open Government Journal from the University of Alberta.
- Priory Medical Journals.
- Contemporary Management Research from the Academy of Taiwan Information Systems Research.
- Journal of Medical Internet Research
- Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology and Neuroscience sponsored by the American Academy of Clinical Neurophysiology. (Site listed as aacn.mit.edu but link inactive, May 2011.)
- Examples. Journals using Google AdSense include:
- Description. The model is for an OA publication to build an endowment and use the annual interest to cover its expenses.
- Example. Since 2005, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has been building an endowment to cover its costs. See SEP's fund-raising page.
- Example. In January 2008, Yale University increased its endowment payout in order to support (among other things) OA for its courseware and library digitization projects.
- Example. Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art (AHNCA), is funded via AHNCA membership dues and voluntary donations. Surplus donations are placed into an endowment.
- Example. Americana: The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture publishes Review Americana, Magazine Americana, and Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture through an endowment.
- Description. The model is to solicit donations, periodically or continuously.
- Variant. A journal may solicit donations through an embedded PayPal or Google Checkout widget.
- Example. The Open Government Journal, published by the University of Alberta, solicits donations on their website through a Google Checkout. The Neurology, Neurophysiology and Neuroscience uses the same type of widget.
- Example. The donations page at the The Journal of Medical Internet Research uses a PayPal widget.
Hybrid OA journals
- Description. The model is for a journal to publish some OA articles and some non-OA articles, when the choice between the two is the author's rather than the editor's. Authors who choose the OA option must typically pay a publication fee or find a sponsor to pay a fee (see "Publication fees" below). In return the journal provides immediate OA to the article at its own web site. Authors who don't choose the OA option don't pay a fee, although they might still pay page and color charges. Nor do they get immediate OA, although they might get delayed OA if the journal provides OA to its backfile after a certain embargo period.
- This section is for journals which charge publication fees and provide OA to some articles and not others. For journals which charge publication fees and provide OA to all their articles, see the section on Publication fees.
- Cambridge Open from Cambridge University Press.
- EXiS Open Choice from Royal Society Publishing.
- Free Access Publication from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.
- Free to Read from the American Physical Society.
- Funded Access from Wiley.
- IOP Publishers now has a hybrid OA model for authors, as of June, 2011.
- Mineralogical Society of America offers a per-page fee for author's choice OA.
- Open Choice from Springer.
- Oxford Open from Oxford University Press.
- Sponsored-article journals from Elsevier.
- For more examples, see Publishers with hybrid OA journal programs on the OAD page of Lists maintained by others.
- Variant. The journal promises to reduce the subscription price in proportion to author uptake of the OA option. (Failure to do so is sometimes called the "double charge" business model.)
- Variant. The journal allows authors who select the OA option to retain copyright, or to retain more rights than authors who do not select the OA option.
- Variant. The journal uses CC licenses (or equivalent) for the OA articles, even if it doesn't do so for its other articles.
- Variant. The journal makes the OA articles the same versions that it publishes in the paid journal. (The alternative is to make the OA articles a truncation or abridgment of the TA editions, e.g. without links to references.)
- Variant. The journal insists that the OA editions only appear on its own web site. (The alternative is to allow authors to deposit their OA articles in repositories independent of the publisher.)
- Variant. The journal waives the fee for the OA option in cases of economic hardship.
- Variant. The journal offers the OA option without any fee at all, or at a discounted fee, for authors in certain categories, for example, authors who are members of a certain society, authors who are employees of a subscribing institution, authors who serve as an editor or referee for one of the publisher's journals, authors from certain designated developing countries, and so on.
- Examples: No-fee hybrid journals. Most hybrid journals charge publication fees. These three do not: (1) Pediatrics, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, charges no publication fee, but the OA articles do not appear in the print edition. (2) Plant Physiology, published by the American Society of Plant Biology, charges no publication fee for members of the ASPB. (3) The Emerald Asset hybrid program from Emerald charges no publication fee for authors willing to write "a summary of their research findings highlighting their practical application."
- Example. In June 2007, the hybrid Journal of Experimental Botany from Oxford University Press waived publication fees for authors from institutions paying for a subscription. In July 2008, Oxford made clear that all its hybrid Oxford Open journals discounted their publication fees for authors from subscribing institutions.
- Variant. The journal charges one fee for OA articles that also appear in the non-OA edition available to subscribers, and a lower fee for OA articles that do not appear in the non-OA edition.
- Variant. The journal refuses to publish work by authors bound by OA mandates (from funders or universities) unless those authors select the OA option and pay the associated fee.
- Variant. The journal rescinds or limits its permission for self-archiving at the same time that it adopts a hybrid OA model, in order to steer authors who want OA away from (no-fee) self-archiving and toward the (fee-based) hybrid option.
- Description. The model is for an institution to subsidize an OA journal, in whole or part, directly or indirectly. It may provide cash, facilities, equipment, or personnel. The institution may be of any kind, for example, a university, laboratory, research center, library, learned society, museum, hospital, for-profit corporation, non-profit organization, foundation, or government agency.
- Variant: university subsidies. There are many forms of university subsidies for OA journals: in-house publication of OA journals; funds to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals; and provision of facilities, equipment, or personnel. (Note that many of these subsidies are also used by TA journals.)
- Example. Philosophers' Imprint is edited by philosophy faculty and published by librarians at the University of Michigan. Because the university already pays the salaries of these employees, and allows them to give some of their working time to the journal, the journal needn't charge reader-side subscription fees or author-side publication fees.
- Examples. Many universities have created funds to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals. See our comprehensive list of OA journal funds.
- Variant: government subsidies. There are many forms of government subsidies for OA journals: direct grants to OA journals or publishers; grants to researchers which they may use for publication fees or page charges at OA journals; in-house publication of OA journals; tax deductions for non-profit publishers of OA journals; budgetary support for public universities which the institutions may use to publish OA journals, subsidize OA journals, or hire faculty who spend part of their work-time editing OA journals. (Note that many of these subsidies are also used by TA journals.)
- Example. SciELO, which publishes OA journals, is funded by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico or CNPq, in the Brazilian federal government, and by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo or FAPESP, in the Brazilian State of São Paulo. The full SciELO network throughout Latin America and the Caribbean publishes 550 OA journals (as of 7/13/08).
- Example. Canada's publicly-funded Social Science and Humanities Research Council offers a program, Aid to Open-Access Research Journals, to support OA journals in the humanities and social sciences. In 2007, it gave grants to 11 OA journals.
- Example. The Canadian Province of Quebec offers a program, Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC), which supports 25-30 journals, including the journals within Consortium Érudit. These journals are not OA, but provide OA to their backfiles after a two-year moving wall.
- Example. France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique provides support for a large number of OA journals.
- Example. The US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences publishes the peer-reviewed OA journal, Environmental Health Perspectives.
- Variant: foundation subsidies.
- Variant: corporate subsidies.
- Example. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine is an OA journal published by Oxford University Press and subsidized by the Ishikawa Natural Medicinal Products Research Center.
- Variant: consortial subsidies. This clearly overlaps with the categories above (university, government, foundation, and corporate subsidies). What's notable is that an OA resource can build a customized or ad hoc coalition of supporting organizations.
- Example. D-Lib Magazine is supported by the D-Lib Alliance, a consortium of universities, libraries, and corporations. Also see more details on the D-Lib Alliance.
- Example. The Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries (JALC) is supported by a customized coalition of nine institutions. It is even profitable.
- Description. The model is for a membership organization, like a learned society, to use membership dues to support an OA journal, in whole or part. (See "Institutional subsidies".)
- For potential examples, see the 425 learned societies publishing OA journals identified by Peter Suber and Caroline Sutton 2007. We say "potential" examples because the Suber-Sutton research doesn't (yet) break down the society OA journals by business model.
- Description. The model is for a journal to provide OA to one edition and sell access to another edition. The OA edition should contain the full text and other information (charts, illustrations, links, etc.), but the priced edition may appear earlier in time or include extra features, such as print.
- Variant: Revenue from a priced print edition supports an OA edition, with or without a delay in the release of the OA edition.
- Example: Communications in Information Literacy: Revenue from the POD edition supports the OA edition. Details in this 2008 editorial.
- Example: Journal of Medical Internet Research: Offers an OA edition in HTML and paid memberships (institutional or individual) that include a PDF edition and conference discounts for individual memberships.
- Example: Postgraduate Medicine: The HTML edition is OA and a print edition is available by subscription.
- Example. Documenta Mathematica is a no-fee OA journal subsidized by the sale of POD editions of its annual volumes.
- Example: Fornvännen publishes both an OA edition and a priced print edition. Instead of ordinary "delayed OA" (in which the digital edition is initially behind a price wall and later made OA), the full-text digital edition is OA from the moment it appears online, but doesn't appear online until six months after the print edition.
- Variant: The priced and OA editions contain the same texts and appear at the same time, but differ in production quality.
- Example: The Annals of Improbable Research has published four versions of each article since December 2007: priced print, priced hi-res PDF, free low-res PDF, and free HTML. (Don't be misled by the fact that AIR isn't a "serious" journal. It still needs a serious business model.)
- Example: Cléo (Centre pour l'édition électronique ouverte) has used the OpenEdition Fremium business model for books and journals since February 2011. Under this model, HTML editions are OA and PDF edition are TA.
- Variant: The priced edition contains short summaries and the OA edition contains full texts (as opposed to the other way around).
- Example: Since January 2010, BMJ has published one-page pico summaries of its OA research articles in the print, TA edition of BMJ. A BMJ survey showed that users were more likely to read the TA edition if it contained these summaries. (If intelligent abridgment catches on as a form of added value, then full-text OA becomes much easier to support. More comments.)
- Variant: The publisher sells reprints or offprints to help support an OA journal.
- Variant: The publisher subsidizes its OA publications with profits or revenue from a separate line of non-OA publications.
- Description. The model is to charge a fee upon acceptance of an article for publication. (Note: Raym Crow's 2009 guide "Income models for Open Access: An overview of current practice" indicates that "Almost half of open-access journals levy publication fees...and such fees represent about 30% of the revenue generated by open-access journals"; see here for more detail.) The idea is for the fee to cover the costs of production, although in practice it might cover more or less. Because rejected articles pay no publication fees (but see "submission fees" below), the publication fee must cover the costs of publishing the accepted article plus the cost of reviewing the number of submissions rejected for each accepted submission. Because costs per accepted paper rise with the rejection rate, the fee must rise with the rejection rate. The bill may go to the author, but is often paid by the author's funder or employer rather than by the author out of pocket. Hence this model is sometimes, misleadingly, called the "author pays" or "author fee" model. The fee is sometimes called a "processing fee" or an "article processing charge" (APC). Note that a growing number of universities have funds to pay these fees on behalf of their faculty.
- This section is for journals which charge publication fees and provide OA to all their articles. For journals which charge publication fees and provide OA to some articles and not others, see the section on Hybrid journals.
- Variant: Flat fees. The journal charges the same fee for every accepted article.
- Variant: Variable fees. Fee size depends on article length.
- Variant: Fee discounts or waivers for economic hardship. Some OA journals waive or reduce publication fees in cases of economic hardship. Some do it for all authors from certain, designated developing countries. Some do it on request, no questions asked.
- Variant: Fee discounts for author assistance. Some OA journals, such as Hydrology and Earth Systems Science, reduce their publication fee for authors who submit their manuscripts in a certain file format or who choose to do their own copy-editing.
- Variant: One price for ordinary production, with extra charges for extra services.
- Example: Optics Express charges a general publication fee and charges extra for copy editing, if needed.
- Variant: Institutional memberships. Some OA journals and publishers offer institutional memberships. The chief benefit of membership is that the journal waives or reduces publication fees for authors affiliated with member-institutions. Some charge a flat fee for membership. Some charge an amount linked to the number of articles published in the journal by the institution's employees. The more journals offered by a publisher (or more precisely, the more journals where institutional employees are likely to publish), the more valuable the membership is for members. In that sense, institutional membership are another way in which large publishers can benefit from economies of scale.
- Variant: Institutional arrangements without memberships. Some OA publishers strike individual deals with individual institutions.
- Variant: Fee-based OA for some topics, no-fee OA for other topics:
- Description. The model is to charge a fee for evaluating a submitted paper, whether or not the paper is later accepted. A submission fee may be in addition to a publication fee (see "Publication fees" above). Submission fees can reduce publication fees at journals with high rejection rates.
- Example. Journal of Medical Internet Research. See JMIR's fee schedule.
- Example. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution charges a $400 CAD submission fee, and uses $300 CAD of it to pay referees. If the paper is accepted for publication, IEE also charges a $300 CAD publication fee.
- For more discussion, see the December 2010 report by Mark Ware (published by Knowledge Exchange). At p. 4, Ware lists 20 examples of OA journals charging submission fees, along with the fee amounts, the journal publishers, and the journal impact factors.
- Description. The model is to use unpaid volunteers for some of the work in producing the journal. All scholarly journals (OA and TA) use volunteers to some extent, as authors, referees, and/or some kinds of editors.
- Note. When a volunteer has a salary from another organization, and is allowed by that organization to spend some professional time on the journal, then the institution is directly or indirectly subsidizing the journal. (See "Institutional subsidies" above.) When the journal work is an overload, then the volunteer's employer is not subsidizing the journal. However, because it is often difficult to tell whether work is an overload (inside or outside a job description), it is often difficult to distinguish volunteer effort from institutional subsidy.