From Shoestring to Sustainability: Launching a Successful Independent Open Access Journal

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Scholarly publishing


Open access (OA) journals present a unique and impactful opportunity for academic librarians to meet their institutions’ growing demands for research productivity. Some librarians have responded by developing new titles to fill gaps in the professional literature and to forge new paths of disciplinary discourse. Others have assisted non-library faculty by providing sustainable platforms for hosting and developing new OA titles in various fields. In 2007, the presenters launched Communications in Information Literacy (CIL), filling a gap in the literature that was left with the cessation Research Strategies. CIL is an independent, OA publication in the truest sense; there are no author fees, and contributing authors retain full ownership of their work. The journal’s initial economic model was akin to that of PBS: plead, beg, and steal. However, the experiment worked. CIL is presently entering its ninth year of publication. The journal is financially self-sustaining; it has received professional awards; it is well-ranked among disciplinary journals; it has expanded to include a third editor-in-chief and three section editors; and its model has been emulated by other OA publications. In this session, CIL editors will lead discussions and exercises showing how attendees might develop their own independent OA journals, and to vet the advantages and disadvantages of that endeavor. Attendees will also learn practical elements of independent OA journal publishing, such as financial and business planning, open source software adoption and web hosting, indexing and vendor contract negotiations, marketing, establishing a readership, and forming effective divisions of labor in daily operations.


A Library Publishing Success Stories Lightning Talk, at the library Publishing forum 2015, Portland Oregon, March 29, 2015.

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