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White paper proposes democratized OA academic journal publishing to solve serials crisis

March 01, 2017

CHICAGO, IL (March 1, 2017) - Scholastica, a peer review and open access (OA) publishing platform for academic journals, announces "Democratizing Academic Journals: Technology, Services, and Open Access," a new white paper on the state of academic journal publishing. The paper proposes an upending of the corporate publisher paradigm to make OA journal publishing sustainable.

The white paper argues that the best solution to make research OA is democratization of journal publishing via widespread adoption of publishing services that will foster competition in the marketplace and allow journals of all sizes to publish on their own.

Since the 1960s corporate publishers have been infiltrating academic journal publishing. Today, five corporate publishers control the majority market share of academic journals, with profit margins from journal subscriptions and OA publishing fees exceeding 30%.

For years, the academic community has been trying to work with publishers to make journals more affordable. However, both camps have opposing incentives - academia seeks to lower journal production costs and access barriers while corporate publishers seek profit.

The centralization of journals among fewer hands has created substantial power differentials between academic institutions and corporate publishers. Consequently, corporate publisher motivations have prevailed resulting in a virtually irreversible stalemate in negotiations to lower journal prices.

Scholastica's white paper brings together research on the state of journal publishing and insights from 5 expert OA advocates to assess the past and present journal publishing landscape and pinpoint ways to make OA publishing sustainable.

The white paper overviews:
  • The past and present state of journal publishing
  • Current alternatives to the corporate publisher model
  • Steps to realize a sustainable open-access friendly journals model of the future

The paper argues by moving journal publishing back to the nonprofit sector and publishing digital-only using online services, rather than outsourcing to publishing companies, the academic community will regain control of research production costs and access.

Scholastica hopes this white paper will offer context surrounding the journals crisis as well as a fresh perspective on how to rectify it.

"This paper really gets to the core of why we started Scholastica 5 years ago. Our goal is to build modern and affordable journal management software that lowers the barriers to entry to run a journal," said Co-Founder Brian Cody. "We provide the tools and journals decide their publishing and funding models without needing to outsource publishing to a middleman."
Scholastica gratefully acknowledges the following white paper contributors:
  • Björn Brembs, Professor of Neurogenetics at the University of Regensburg and OA advocate
  • Dan Morgan, Digital Science Publisher at University of California Press
  • Roxanne Missingham, Chief Scholarly Information Officer at Australian National University and Australian OA Support Group Deputy Chair
  • Stevan Harnad, Professor in the Department of Psychology at Université du Québec à Montréal, Professor of Web Science at University of Southampton, Green OA advocate
  • Ulrich Herb, OA expert at Saarland University and State Library and member of multiple OA working groups

About Scholastica: Scholastica is a web-based software platform for managing academic journals with integrated peer review and open access publishing tools. Founded in 2011 in response to a growing need for a more affordable and efficient way to peer review and publish scholarly journals, Scholastica's mission is to give editors the tools they need to easily manage and publish peer-reviewed journals at a price anyone can afford. Over 400 journals across disciplines use Scholastica.


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