'Paying It Forward' Publishing

Carl Straumsheim | Inside Higher Ed | February 10, 2015

The University of California Press is building a new open-access publishing model around the idea that reviewers and researchers in the hard sciences can support new forms of scholarly communication by "paying it forward." The university press last month introduced Collabra and Luminos, an open-access journal and monograph publisher, respectively. While Luminos is hoping to publish about 10 monographs this fall, Collabra is in beta testing and aims to accept submissions in a few weeks.

Neil B. Christensen, who joined the university press in 2013 after more than a decade in the commercial publishing sector, took the lead on developing Collabra.... Christensen said the journal was inspired by the idea that university presses should be more involved in furthering the open-access movement.

Collabra and Luminos also signal an effort to identify an open-access business model suitable for nonprofit institutions such as colleges and universities. Too many university presses, Christensen said, have tried to scale down and imitate the strategy of successful commercial publishers. To build a model for an economically feasible open-access journal, the university press settled on a complex algorithm that involves paying reviewers, subsidizing certain research and about $10,000 in seed money....