Although many societies and associations offer hybrid options within their journals, launching a fully open access journal, or “flipping” an existing journal to fully open access, presents an organization with questions, challenges, and opportunities. The breadth of the decisions to be made cover a wide range of activities from editorial selectiveness to pricing models to process and technology choices, and more.

Focusing in on the technology choices to be made, the technology landscape that supports publishing overall has seen a lot of change over recent years and now includes increasing variety, as well as solutions specifically designed for open access. As is the case with most partner and technology choices, it comes down to determining the best fit. Does the tool or technology meet our functional needs? Will the solution work within our organizational constraints? Can we afford it? Will our organizational culture mesh with that of the tool or service provider?


When considering the full spectrum of services, support, and technology required to launch an OA journal, the first question to ask is what type of support do you require. That level of support will be determined by your culture, author community, available staffing, experience, funding, risk tolerance, and other factors.

If your organization demands a full service model and does not have the resources to enlist service providers to support that need, you may want to consider a commercial or not for profit partner (e.g., university press or society). Publishing partners take much of the responsibility for production, delivery, and supporting services, leaving you to focus on editorial functions. In exchange, you enter into a revenue sharing agreement and you work within the processes and framework of that publisher. Most publishers offer a range of technology choices to support your new journal. Many also work with established industry manuscript tracking and hosting platforms.

If your objective is to self-publish, your technology options are numerous. You can build, buy, or do a little of both. This is where options have evolved considerably over the past several years.

  • Technology choices have become more modular, meaning that it is possible to build or assemble a solution without starting from ground zero
  • Many established technology providers have evolved to offer OA solutions
  • Lower cost service and technology providers have emerged that are “OA native.” They cater only to OA and do not carry the technical overhead of subscription requirements
  • Open source and solutions based on open source is on the rise. In some cases this is driving down cost, while increasing the pool of resources in the environment that can adapt and extend what has been done by others

The following table represents a sample of the solutions in the market and the technology needs they address. Although this table is not exhaustive, it appears that after significant activity in the late 1990’s, there was a lull in new entrants until the 2010’s, and then increased momentum in the last 5-7 years.


Publications Supported

Year Launched




OA Only


ARPHA (Authoring, Reviewing, Publishing, Hosting, and Archiving) supports open access journals, conference proceedings, and books

Product of Pensoft
Optional data workflow integration with Dryad

Analytics, metadata deposits, some semantic enrichment integrations

Atypon Literatum

OA & Subscription


Full-featured proprietary platform with managed hosting services

Hosts “40% of the world’s scholarly content.”

Manages large-volume publication portfolios

Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (Coko)

OA & Subscription


Open source modular framework and tool set with an active community building solutions

CoKo refers to framework as a “platform to build platforms.”

CoKo announced a partnership with eLife in September 2017 to build an open source solution for submission, peer review and processing of manuscripts

eLife Continuum

OA Only


Open source journal platform framework with pre-built basic capabilities

Continuum was developed for eLife by Digerati. Digirati will provide support and services for other adopters

F1000 (Open Research Central)

OA Only


“Open Research publishing platform for life scientists”

Also has an authoring tool (F1000 Workspace)

Platform for Gates Open Research, Wellcome Open Research, and others

Highwire Press

OA & Subscription


Full-featured proprietary platform with managed hosting services; Offers BenchPress MTS in addition to hosting

Acquired Semantico 2016

Creator of Vizor, supporting platform independent data analytics

Hindawi (Partnerships)

OA Only


OA publisher offers tools, platform, and services to other publishers

Partnerships in place with Wiley and AAAS to provide services & support

*Launched in 1997; became fully OA in 2008; Wiley and AAAS partnerships 2017

Ingenta Connect/Ingenta Open

OA & Subscription

1998 / 2018

Full-featured proprietary platform with managed hosting services; Separate OA product; built on open source

Restructured in 2007 as Publishing Technology

Rebranded in 2016 as Ingenta

Ingenta Open launching in early 2018

Open Journal Systems (OJS)

OA & Subscription


Open source hosting platform/framework for open access journals

OJS was developed by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) in 2001. PKP has several other open source modules as well.

Currently there are 10,000+ journals actively publishing on the OJS open source platform.

Scholastica Open Access Publishing

OA Only


Small journals platform with integrated manuscript submission and peer review


OA Only*


“Interactive research discovery environment.” Low-cost journals hosting platform with services. Offers author promotion and networking tools

*Supports metadata from subscription articles to build collections

Sheridan PubFactory

OA & Subscription


PubFactory: Full-featured proprietary platform with managed hosting services

*PubFactory acquisition

Full production lifecycle support available through Sheridan

Silverchair Information Systems SCM6

OA & Subscription


Full-featured proprietary platform with managed hosting services

*SCM6 launch at SSP meeting

Ubiquity Press

OA Only


Open access publisher of peer-reviewed academic journals, books and data. Platform available to university and society presses as a service

Fully dedicated editorial support for books and journals; Production and typesetting; Indexing; Archiving; Automated deposit to Institutional repositories; Promoting published content

In addition to those listed above, there are several integrators that have reusable components that they employ when creating “build” solutions. GVPiIxxus (part of Copyright Clearance Center), and Digerati all have varying degrees of frameworks that enable their clients to benefit from previously completed efforts.


  • Platforms built on open source solutions are on the rise. While open source does not mean free, it can mean that there are more affordable and flexible options available either directly (with your own internal development) or through service providers. Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (CoKo) is one example of an organization that is painstakingly building a developer community as well as working with established organizations (e.g., University of California Press) to design and build publishing solutions.
  • Modular is in. Large monolithic platforms are becoming a thing of the past. Whether it’s a full-service hosting option that is now offering an array of established partners and integrations, or a hybrid option that you’ve pulled together yourself, best-of-breed is becoming more common. Service providers are clear that they can’t be the best at everything and the technology and integration needs required through the entire publishing life cycle are only expanding.
  • New or expanded service providers are surfacing. We are starting to see existing service providers expand their capabilities to encompass more of the publication life cycle (e.g., Sheridan’s acquisition of PubFactory) and existing players in the ecosystem offer new services (e.g., Hindawi’s partnership with AAAS). We expect to see this trend continue. Options like these may present a viable alternative to a commercial publisher while still offering a high level of service and support across the entire publication life cycle.
  • Coalitions and co-operatives are being discussed. Fueled in part by the realization of many smaller society and association publishers that they may be more sustainable if they join forces, we expect to see more announcements of societies working together. While the recent launch of the Scientific Society Publisher Alliance (SSPA) focuses on marketing and communications, we expect that publishers will also work together to achieve scale in service and technology procurement.
  • Open Access publication has given rise to OA specialists. While market incumbents have expanded their capabilities to support open access, there are a large number of open access service providers, catering to the needs of OA only. These services range from process support, to hosting (e.g., Ubiquity PressOpen Research Central from F1000eLife Continuum, etc.), to exploring new business models (e.g., KnowledgeUnlatched), to aiding in content discovery (e.g., ScienceOpen). Expect many of these providers to expand their mandate to Open Science and Research.


Publishers have options, even smaller publishers with limited budgets. Variations in configurations of technology and services are on the rise. API’s make it easier to assemble best-of-breed options for your publishing portfolio, while still enabling search and discovery. When considering hosting options, it is no longer necessary to use one partner or technology for your entire portfolio. You can host your open access content on a born-OA platform, for example, without impacting your subscription content.

Technology can also be secured independently or bundled with services. Options range from publishing partnerships to small open source hosted solutions. But the limited options that we saw in the 2000’s are no longer the case. Competition is increasing. It all becomes a question of understanding your needs and which solutions best align with them.

Editor: Dan Pollock

We have a number of updates to report this month. First, further updates to the Market Sizing section are being rolled out throughout the month. Additionally, the charts in the Subject Dynamics and Regional Dynamics sections now default to showing the latest data. You’ll also see 5 years’ additional data have been added to the charts tracking uptake of OA over time, which now go back to 2009. Finally, the chart allowing detailed drill-down into open access output across the 316 tracked subject areas has been reformatted to make the visualizations easier to see.


The Helmholtz Association and Frontiers expand open access publishing agreement – January 29, 2018

“Building on an agreement established in 2015 comprising a consortium of then nine member institutions of the Helmholtz Association, Frontiers and the Helmholtz Association have now agreed on the expansion of this consortium to include three further member institutions. This agreement will further encourage Helmholtz Association authors to publish open access.”

Frontiers and Queen’s University Belfast form open access publishing agreement 
January 29, 2018

“Queen’s University Belfast has formed an institutional agreement for open access publishing with Frontiers. Under this agreement affiliated eligible authors publishing in any of the (currently 60) Frontiers journals receive a 5% discount on the APC.”

EDP Sciences joins the I4OC initiative – January 24, 2018

“EDP Sciences is pleased to announce that it has joined the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC). The I4OC is a collaboration between scholarly publishers, researchers, and other interested parties, to promote ‘the availability of data on citations that are structured, separable, and open.'”

Enago Launches Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF) – Improving Accessibility of Authentic Open Access Journals – January 18, 2018

“Enago announced the worldwide release of Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF) that aims at enabling research scholars to find open access journals relevant to their manuscript. OAJF uses a validated journal index provided by Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – the most trusted non-predatory open access journal directory. “

The University of the Andes (Colombia) Launches New Trilingual Open Access Journal Site on Atypon’s Literatum Online Publishing Platform – January 17, 2018

“The Universidad de los Andes (University of the Andes) in Colombia, a private research institution, has launched a new site for all of its journals on Literatum, Atypon’s online publishing platform. The trilingual site offers researchers content in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, with interfaces available in Spanish and English.”

OASPA, COPE, DOAJ, WAME publish 3rd version of Principles of Best Practice – January 16, 2018

A new version of the Principles of Best Practice and Transparency in Scholarly Publishing was published this month by OASPA, COPE, DOAJ, and WAME.

Oxford University Press (OUP) joins the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) – January 16, 2018

“Oxford University Press has joined the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC). I4OC is a project which promotes the unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data by making metadata for references within academic articles publicly available.”

eLife Welcomes Early-Career Researcher to its Board of Directors – January 11, 2018

“eLife is pleased to announce Prachee Avasthi as the first early-career researcher to join its Board of Directors. Avasthi, who is Assistant Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, US, will help the board to oversee the strategic direction of eLife and support the non-profit in the pursuit of its mission.”

Future of the OA Megajournal – January 10, 2018

A discussion of the changing landscape for OA megajournals.

arXiv Update – January 2018 – January 8, 2018

arXiv posted its annual update this month about its funding, plans and operations.


January 26, 2018

Future Medicine’s Oncology Management series of journals to be fully Open Access from 2018

“Future Medicine is pleased to announce that, from January 2018, the eight journals within its Oncology Management Series will be following a fully open access model.”

January 22, 2018

New section launch: Computational Methods in Structural Engineering within Frontiers in Built Environment

Frontiers announced the launch of our new specialty section on Computational Methods in Structural Engineering within Frontiers in Built Environment. The section is led by two Specialty Chief Editors and aims to bridge the fields of structural engineering and computational methods.

January 15, 2018

Scripps Translational Science Institute, Nature Research launch open-access digital medicine journal

“Researchers from the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have launched an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal—npj Digital Medicine.”