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By "university press", I assume you mean "institutional repository" - linked tightly to Google Scholar, of course ;-)


No, I mean an online journal, published by the university in a specialist domain. An institutional repository is fine if you want one too.


Of all the new models several writers have suggested recently - this is the one that I like the best (not that that means anything at all!). It simply seems to make more sense to re-visit this model in light of new technologies.

Surely the guardianship, curation and dissemination of information is as much the responsibility of HE as the production of it? (ninja librarians)

I don't think it will solve certain problems - I can still imagine issues with closed peer review or other 'control' systems but it would be a definite starting point and perhaps better than 1000's of OJS's appearing everywhere without some discovery or cataloging?

Go for it...


An online journal - based on the geography or where your institution is located? Or an online journal from each institution for engineers, geographers, economists, etc, etc?
Too much noise, not enough filtering.


What are you on about Cann? The impending weekend seems to have addled your senses - An online journal, eg JIME which anyone can contribute to. Leicester may run Microbiology is Sexy, Marxism and Curry, etc. I.e. just as we have now, but the universities take back the ownership of the journals.

Colin Smith

I hear what you are saying Martin, but your description of one person being able to look after four journals is very simplistic, as is your summary of the roles/tasks involved. I, for example, manage the editorial office of only one journal, with the help of two editorial assistants. That's three full-time people on one journal already. Then, beyond that there is the production of the journal, the marketing, the financial management, and so on. All told, I would say to publish the journal I work on equates to at least 7 or 8 full-time people.

As you know, I have the benefit of having worked on both sides of the fence, so to speak, and I have to say that, generally-speaking, there is a lot of misunderstanding out there in terms of what it takes to run a journal. Just as an example, most of my time this week has been taken up investigating and resolving an anonymous claim of scientific misconduct. Would you be happy to land that upon your administrator?

I have been, and still am, a supporter of Open Access. However, I also believe that users of journals take a lot of their functionality for granted. Yes, you can set up a journal using OJS and make quite a good job of managing it. But there are many, many journals out there that couldn't possibly be run like that because they have a lot of complex workflows and technology going on behind the scenes that (with the greatest respect) you only know about if you have worked in an academic publishing house. Open Access journals are certainly the way forward, but I still think they are best managed by dedicated publishers. Replacing that system with an administrator sitting in every university just wouldn't cut it, and academics would be the first to complain if their journals begin to suffer as a result.

I also just want to pick up on your point about costs. I don't understand what advantage there would be to universities in still spending the same sum of money on publishing, but by taking on the work themselves?


Martin, your stunning ignorance of economic forces explains why you have suggested this nonsensical solution ;-)

So either universities co-operate to share journals out between them (yeah, right), or it's the battle of the fittest to grab the "best" journals (medicine, science, etc). Can't see that working out better then Elsevier.


@Colin - maybe you're working on prestigious journals. On the ones I've been involved with this sort of work nearly always falls to the unpaid editor or board. I agree there may be legal issues, but a university tends to have a legal team too. As for the personnel, I'm going on my experience of editing a journal. Maybe bigger ones need more people, and maybe that's where the commercial publishers would remain, but most journals are fairly small scale, publish 3 times a year, online and don't have tens of thousands of submissions. So I think the model works here - it's the long tail of academic publishing that most people don't really acknowledge.
@Alan - you are clearly smoking something funny up in Leicester. I didn't say they share them out, you start your own journals, and yes there would be a degree of the best survive. I'm sure things like Nature and BMJ wouldn't work this way, but the majority of journals aren't these top titles, they're small scale productions which are well suited to the university approach.


As I said, too much noise, not enough filtering.
Bad idea.


But aren't the journals doing the filtering? And why should we let publishers filter for us?

Mike Johnson

Thanks for posting this Martin. I had a shock yesterday to hear colleagues passing the tip to ensure they included the cost of placing their paper in open access journals in their research bid... this fee may well be over £1000. What kind of open access is that?! Here's another model for you (which of course you'll be aware of but, just saying...) http://www.co-action.net

Frances Bell

Not all OJS installations are self-publishing by institutions. I am glad Mike mentioned CO-Action - they are publishers for ALT's newly open access jounral http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt including 19 Volumes of archives
A model where the scholarly society pays the publishers for a range of services including hosting, manuscript management, copy editing, typesetting , printing, etc. is a very interesting one. As co-editor I am very hopeful that this move will increase readership and impact of journal as well as being good for authors.
I blogged about it here http://francesbell.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/increasing-the-relevance-audience-and-reach-of-a-scholarly-journal/


Mike and Frances - yes, absolutely. I think the society journal is probably the most viable model around, and I probably should have extended 'University press' to include these, as much the same story can be told there eg of handing it over and now being in a position to reclaim it.

Frances Bell

ALT didn't hand over the journal to Taylor and Francis - they had a contract to publish it and it's the renegotiation of the contract that has allowed ALT to broker a different deal including full open access. Seb Schmoller wrote a guide published here http://repository.alt.ac.uk/887/
I think that is a different situation from University Presses.
Anyway, hope you will consider submitting to our journal in future.


Great post. I would like to see this more in Australia where I am based. Publishers have restrictive terms and charges. Also if publishing online then articles can be published more quickly as they are finished with the review process rather than waiting for an issue to come up.



A point arose out of my post. Your site uses a graphical captcha to try and stop spam -- which doesn't always work.

I am blind and cannot read these captchas so it is a real problem.

Have a read of an article on my blog as to alternatives and solutions:


Hope you can change things.

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