Income models for Open Access: Partnerships

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While not an income model per se, partnerships can play a significant role in the business model for an open-access journal. It makes sense to discuss partnerships separately as they often represent subcomponents of other types of income models. Publishers of open-access journals may find it productive, even essential, to partner with other organizations with related missions and complementary strengths. Partnerships can provide access to resources that might otherwise require a significant outlay of cash.

Partnerships with scholarly or scientific societies and/or academic libraries can be especially effective because of a shared commitment to supporting scholarly communication. The society represents the interests of its discipline, and may also command expertise in journal editorship and publishing. A university library may bring to the partnership such complementary resources as digital content formatting and mark-up, Web dissemination infrastructure, and online hosting. Such partnerships can couple the relevant strengths of each organization.

Partners can also include organizations that provide open-access publishing services. Such service providers offer free or low-cost open-access publishing services either as part of their mission (in the case of nonprofit initiatives) or in exchange for the opportunity to develop a modest revenue stream (in the base of commercial enterprises) from article processing fees and/or the site traffic the open-access content generates. These services, some of which are described in Appendix A, allow journal editors to focus on editorial and content issues, without investing in a technical or business infrastructure.

2.9.1 Partnership Examples

For examples of journals that represent joint projects of multiple societies, see Peter Suber and Caroline Sutton, “Society Publishers with Open Access Journals” http://www.co-action.net/projects/OAsocieties.

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