How can a very selective open access journal survive?

Open access journals can survive by diversifying content formats, planning for obsolescence, and calculating the cost of digital preservation. For example, some journals use advertising to make money, while others require authors to pay printing fees. Other models include diamond open access, where journals are supported by institutions or funders, and don’t charge fees to readers or authors.

Here are some other ways open access journals can survive:

  • Improve education of researchers: This can be done by librarians who are knowledgeable about journal quality metrics and how to identify unethical solicitations.
  • Increase OA eligibility to academics not funded by privileged agencies
  • Provide more incentives for high quality peer-review and support: This can be done by not-for-profit academic communities publishing on open digital platforms.
  • Generate funds from several organizations: For example, some universities have contracts with publishers for a discounted price.

Highly selective open access journals face unique challenges in maintaining sustainability while maintaining their rigorous standards.

Let’s explore some strategies that can help such journals survive:

  1. Balancing Selectivity and Costs:
    • Selective journals often receive a large number of submissions, but they publish only a fraction of them. Balancing this selectivity with the need for financial sustainability is crucial.
    • Article Processing Charges (APCs) are a common revenue source for open access journals. However, setting the right APC level is essential. If the APC is too low, it may not cover the actual costs of publication.
  2. Submission Fees:
    • Consider implementing submission fees alongside APCs. These fees can help cover administrative costs associated with processing submissions.
    • Unlike APCs, submission fees are paid by authors during the submission process, regardless of whether the paper is accepted. This approach ensures that the journal receives revenue even from rejected manuscripts.
  3. Diversify Revenue Streams:
    • Explore alternative revenue models: Beyond APCs, consider other income sources such as institutional memberships, sponsorships, or grants.
    • Collaborate with scholarly societies: Partnering with societies can provide financial stability and access to their existing infrastructure.
  4. Efficient Operations:
    • Streamline editorial processes: Efficient peer review, editorial management, and production workflows reduce costs.
    • Leverage technology: Invest in tools that automate repetitive tasks and enhance efficiency.
  5. Community Support:
    • Engage the research community: Encourage researchers, reviewers, and editors to actively participate in the journal’s success.
    • Advocate for quality: Highlight the value of rigorous peer review and the importance of selective publishing.
  6. Gradual Transition to OA:
    • Transitioning from subscription-based to open access: Gradually shift from subscription models to OA while maintaining selectivity.
    • Collaborate with funders and institutions: Seek financial support from institutions and research funders to facilitate the transition.

In summary, a combination of strategic financial planning, community involvement, and efficient operations can help highly selective open access journals thrive while upholding their rigorous standards.

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