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Assessing Journal Quality


Publishing transitions

New Business models

On this page are some examples of new business models emerging in response to changes in the scholarly publishing field.

Currently in a period of transition, the academic publishing and scholarly communication world has responded to exceptional subscription price inflation with new business models for scholarly journals. The growth of open access journals has increased pressure on traditional journal publishers, who have responded with open journal options and hybrid journals.


ROARMAP OA Policies by Quarter

Subject Repositories

Some of these are run by volunteers, like RePEc (Research Papers in Economics). Some have institutional connections, such as arXiv, which is based at Cornell University, and receives contributions from other institutions. It includes physics and computer science papers. Some are commercial, like SSRN (Social Science Research Network) which receives fees from contributing institutions and has a mix of open and subscription based content.

Find repositories in your discipline.

Institutional Repositories

 These repositories aim to collect and make accessible the scholarly output of the institution. Examples are MIT's DSpace and eScholarship@BC.


Funder mandates

National Institutes of Health

Some research funders require that resulting articles be made openly accessible within a short period of time. The most prominent example in the United states is the National Institute of Health and its requirement of deposit in PubMedCentral.

Proposed policy initiatives would require this practice of all large federal government research funders:

White House directive

Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) bill

These initiatives, when implemented, would have a significant effect on the openness of traditional scholarly articles and may cause business models to evolve further.

OA Journals with APCs

One common misconception is that paying an Article Processing Charge, or APC, is equivalent to vanity publishing.

This is not the case, article processing fees are just another business model for covering costs. Many respectable and established publishers, publishing high-impact journals are now turning to this method of OA publishing.

 PLoS One

PLoS One, as part of its global participation initiative, charges fees based on the country in which the author works. 

Springer Open charges article processing fees for its OA journals. Fees may be waived in some cases and range widely depending on the journal title. Institutional membership to reduce or waive fees are possible.

Frontiers also charges publishing fees for OA journals. As with Springer and PLoS, waivers are available for those who need it - and APCs allow for the free access of all Frontier articles.

Hybrid Journals

Some traditional academic journal publishers allow the author, upon acceptance of the article, to opt to pay an article processing fee and make their article immediately openly accessible. Other articles in the same journal may be traditional, subscription only access. Some analysts accuse these publishers of "double-dipping" -- still charging the same subscription fees, but charging article processing fees as well.

Sage ChoiceTaylor and Francis Open Select

Articles on the Economic Issues

The Harvard Library Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing: Major Periodical Subscriptions Cannot Be Sustained. April 17, 2012.

Peterson, AT, Emmett, A, Greenberg, ML. (2013). Open Access and the Author-Pays Problem: Assuring Access for Readers and Authors in a Global Community of Scholars. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 1(3):eP1064.