Tutorial 31: ways to start a new open-access journal
July 12, 2016
A few months ago I got an email from Nathan Myers, who asked me:
Do you have advice for someone who wants to spin up a new OA journal? Is there automation for the boring parts? Is someone you know well versed in what to do?
In many ways, I’m the wrong person to ask: I’ve never started a journal, OA or otherwise, nor even served on an editorial board.
But, hey, I’m not one to let something like that stop me. So here’s what I told Nathan. I’m sure I missed a lot of important possibilities: please point them out in this comments. I’ll try to keep this post updated as the landscape changes.
There are several good options at this point.
The simplest and cheapest is probably to use Annotum, a WordPress plugin that helps with the review workflow. I’ve not used it myself, but I know it’s what PLOS Currents uses, so it’s obvious battle-ready. I’m not sure but I think you can use it as a theme in a wordpress.com-hosted free blog.
Open Journals Systems is a widely used software package for running open-access journals — IIRC they have more that 10,000 running installations worldwide. I’ve not used it, but it evidently has what it takes.
If you have some funding to cover production charges, or are able to charge an APC, you can use a full-service option from a low-cost OA publisher such as Ubiquity Press.
PeerJ’s system is widely liked — very easy for authors and reviewers to use. Its software is all on GitHub, though I think some work would be needed to tie it all together. If you have the software engineering chops, this may be the best option for performance/price ratio.