Journals without Publishers: the landscape of scholar-published journals




The global move towards an “Open Access” model for journal publishing brings a new set of challenges to all those involved in scholarly communication. Of concern here is the case of journals published by one or a group of scholars, independent of any legal person (i.e. publishing house, university department, association, etc.). The question of how those journals establish and manage their venture (e.g. handling cash-flows) in absence of a legal entity is indeed an interesting one. Whether it is for ISSN registration, establishing a bank account or applying for membership to a publisher association, a legal “parent” would indeed make things easier. This project aims to explore the different strategies used by scholars to overcome this obstacle (e.g. incorporating the journal itself). It is based on a set of over 320 journals indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), where the publisher is listed as an individual person or as the journal itself. At the moment, the landscape of these journals is described, identifying their disciplines, countries, publishing platforms/software and the extent of cash flows they handle. Future steps include preparing an online survey to editors of those journals to obtain a deeper insight on their experiences as “independent” entities.

Author Biography

ElHassan ElSabry, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

ElHassan ElSabry is currently a doctoral candidate in the field of Science, Technology & Innovation Policy at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, Japan. He received both his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Physics from the American University in Cairo. His current research focus is on guiding government policy-making related to Open Access. He is also very interested in the impact Open Access to research has on society in general (beyond academia). On the advocacy front, he volunteers as a Content Development Specialist for the Directory of Free Arab Journals, an initiative to maintain a database of Open Access journals published by universities and research institutes in Arab countries, with the end goal of raising their quality and reach.