If a Society or Nonprofit Owns the Journal and the Content...

If the journal is owned by a society or nonprofit, this should increase the likelihood that your editorial board and the publisher are able to reach a shared understanding as to why open access benefits your community. However, if such accord cannot be reached, you might need to seek a new publishing venue, just as if a commercial publisher owned the journal.

Before proceeding, your editorial board should review any agreement you may have entered with the society to determine whether you are contractually constrained from starting or participating in a competing journal. If your editorial contract has such a clause, you should seek qualified legal advice before proceeding further.

If qualified legal advice indicates that your editor’s agreement with the publisher prevents you from starting or participating in a new journal, then the editorial group’s options might be limited to:

  • Renewing negotiations with the publisher in an attempt to gain partial concessions that would increase the openness of the journal short of comprehensive open access. Such concessions might include broader author rights, such as more progressive self-archiving policies.
  • Resigning from the journal’s editorial board and withholding any future support for the journal (e.g., as authors, peer reviewers, etc.). Again, your behavior will need to conform with any qualified legal advice.

If the editorial agreement(s) do not attempt to prevent editors from starting or participating in a new journal, then an editorial board might seek to launch an alternative journal.

How to Launch an Alternative Journal

If these options are either unappealing, or not possible, there are still many other ways to take action for open access.

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