Running a Libre Open Access Journal

There are many types of Open Access. Green Open Access for example means depositing or ‘self-archiving’ a copyright-free version of your work in a digital repository, usually in conjunction with publishing in a journal and with an embargo period. Gold Open Access means that the published work is available for anyone to access immediately upon publication. This is also known as gratis Open Access, meaning ‘without charge.’ However, journals and publishers often recoup the costs of making the work available for free by charging an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the submitting author. Libre Open Access is a lot like gratis Open Access with one exception – the content of the article is also free to reuse, remix, and republish.

An image of the header for the journal Ology, which shows the current volume and date

The journal that I manage, Ology: Reviews in Applied Sciences is a libre Open Access publication and we’re about to publish our first volume. For us, this means that the journal is free to access, free to submit to, and that the content is free to reuse, remix, and republish. There are no subscription fees, no APCs and no copyright restrictions. All works will be made available immediately upon publication, free of charge, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence by default. Authors can share the pre-print (the version at submission), post-print (the version post-review), and version of record (the publisher’s final PDF). We encourage authors to deposit their work in collaborative research networks, subject repositories, and institutional repositories such as Worktribe which is used at Edinburgh Napier University. It makes sense that if you have gone to lots of trouble to write an interesting review, you want as many people to read it as possible, without restrictions!

A call-out quote repeating the following text from the article: “It makes sense that if you have gone to lots of trouble to write an interesting review, you want as many people to read it as possible, without restrictions!”There are several costs associated with running a journal, be it Open Access or otherwise. Web hosting is relatively cheap these days, but it still costs money. Journal hosting platforms and systems are available for free, but if you are going to be using a hosted version of Open Journal Systems (OJS) for example, then expect to pay around £650 a year. To be able to mint and use your own Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) you will need to become a member of CrossRef, which starts at £190 a year, plus a fee for each metadata deposit. After all that, applying to the British Library for an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is thankfully free. We’re quite lucky in that the University is able to host OJS for us and is already a member of CrossRef. Our costs are all but covered by existing infrastructure and Ology is essentially free to run. Not everyone is in the same position, so when starting an Open Access journal, make sure to think about sustainability. Raym Crow has written an excellent guide to the different income models in Open Access.

Laura Ennis MCLIP FHEA is an Information Services Advisor at Edinburgh Napier University and the Managing Editor of Ology: Reviews in Applied Sciences.