New issue of Research Information

The June/July issue of Research Information is now online.  Here are the OA-related articles.

Excerpt from Murphy’s article on Co-Action:

Just over two years ago, in the heart of the Nordic countryside, three women embarked on a new venture: to launch a journal publisher and consultancy service. As well as its all-female founding team and base away from any established commercial or publishing hub, the new publisher, Co-Action Publishing, has bucked tradition by opting for the openaccess (OA) publishing model.

The three founders, Anne Bindslev, Caroline Sutton and Lena Wistrand, are all former executives of the Nordic division of Taylor and Francis. In their old jobs they had noticed a growing interest in OA from the large publisher’s society clients and they concluded that this was the most promising approach for a new, small publisher.

Sutton said: ‘2007 was an interesting time. BioMed Central and PLoS been around for some time and Hindawi had converted its last two subscription titles to OA. Such publishers had shown that it really was a viable model, but at the same time there were not too many people doing it – few of the established publishing houses were entertaining the idea of OA publishing – so we could still be early into the market.’

Sutton does not think that it would be possible today to launch a new publishing house based on subscription journals. ‘It takes five or six years for a journal to really become established enough to generate a profit. With OA and a publication fee model you are earning revenue at the same time as you are incurring costs,’ she explained.

‘We used our own savings rather than having an external investor and have tried to make everything as virtual as possible. It surprises me that more small OA publishing companies haven’t been formed already.’ …

Another project the company has embarked on is to provide services to other groups which want to create their own open access venture. They can, of course, hand a whole venture over but otherwise they can buy ‘pieces of help’ in packages put together in partnership with its suppliers.

Sutton believes there will be a lot of growth in independent projects from groups that can run a publication themselves but might need help in setting up their systems. Co-Action Publishing has a new tool to help with this, called….

As a small company with a base outside of the world’s publishing centres, Sutton believes that it is critical to talk with others in the industry. The company is a member of STM. It has also been involved with other OA publishers such as PLoS, Hindawi and BioMed Central in setting up a new trade organisation to specifically address the interests of OA publishers – the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)….

[Quoting Sutton:] ‘Given that Co-Action Publishing ended its first year with a small deficit and this year we expect to break even, I have to say that our formula for OA publishing is working for us.’

The benefits go beyond business issues though: ‘Working as an OA publisher is professionally stimulating,’ said Sutton. ‘On the one hand, the ties we have to the research community, to libraries, research councils, and academia in general are much stronger – there is a sense that we are working from the same side of the fence.

On the other hand, active contributors to OA publishing discussions are talented people who dare to envision where scientific communications may be heading. This combination offers a fantastic platform from which to design innovative solutions and create new opportunities that are beneficial to the research community,’ she concluded.