Launching Open Access Journals with new Business Plan Toolkit from SPARC Europe

SPARC Europe commissioned new Business Plan Toolkit for OA Journals to support the OA journal launch. This Toolkit addresses how to describe the business project, the market context, how to address governance and ownership, develop operational, marketing and financial plans and look at risk assessment.

SPARC Europe promotes and supports Open Access (OA) as well as advocates change in scholarly communications for the benefit of researchers and society. OA entails cost-free access to scientific and scholarly information: readers do not pay for OA publications. 

Nevertheless, it still costs money to produce these publications, and the costs could arise in one way or another as any infrastructure that is in place to receive, manage, publish, and distribute works must be financed.

Basically, two forms of financing OA journals can be distinguished: financing by the authors (author-pays model: costs are paid by the author, or by a third party) and financing by other institutions. The differences between business plans and models in the area of “gold OA” (OA Journals) are more pronounced than those in “green OA” (OA Repositories).

“Business planning is a process that yields a useful framework to help you think about the range of issues that underpin the success of any new venture”.  Business plans have become the established term in connection with the financing of OA publications referring to the way in which the production costs of publications and any profits accruing can be secured.

A new Business Plan Toolkit for OA Journals – promoted recently for SPARC Europe - provides guide to developing the business plan for setting up OA journals. The Business Plan Toolkit for OA Journals consists of a number components (“the ingredients for success”) providing advice and guidance on how to create your own business plan (adapting it to the particular goals and circumstances) while addressing areas in which you may not have expertise.

“The journey from the spark of an idea to the successful, sustainable operation of a publishing enterprise can be challenging but a business plan provides the means to navigate, avoiding potential pitfalls along the way”.

The Business Plan Toolkit for OA Journals covers next eight areas: The Fundamentals of a Business Plan, Describing the Business Venture, The Market Context, Governance and Ownership,  The Operational Plan, The Marketing Plan, The Financial Plan, The Risk Assessment.

The main elements of a business plan are the following: A Brief Introduction, An Executive Summary, A Description Of The Business Venture, A Market Context, The Governance Structure Of Your Venture, An Operational Plan (stressing the importance of metadata standards established by OpenAIRE and OA policies), A Marketing Plan, A Risk Assessment.

The result should be a document that is helpful as you seek to develop your idea into a successful publishing venture and to be be in a strong position to make your idea come to life!

Source: BUSINESS PLAN TOOLKIT Publishing an Open Access Journal (Prepared by Sheridan Brown for SPARC Europe, January 2016). The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

See also: Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020