Business Models

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What is a Business Model?

The concept of Business Models (BM) needs some clarification. It is a concept much spoken about, but more rarely defined. I will rely on Wikipedia for the description and definition following here. The article describes Business Model in this way:

[…]describes a business model as consisting of nine related business model building blocks. Thus, a business model describes a company's business:


  • core capabilities: The capabilities and competencies necessary to execute a company's business model.
  • partner network: The business alliances which complement other aspects of the business model.
  • value configuration: The rationale which makes a business mutually beneficial for a business and its customers.


  • value proposition: The products and services a business offers.


  • target customer: The target audience for a business' products and services.
  • distribution channel: The means by which a company delivers products and services to custom-ers. This includes the company's marketing and distribution strategy.
  • customer relationship: The links a company establishes between itself and its different customer segments. The process of managing customer relationships is referred to as customer relationship management.


  • cost structure: The monetary consequences of the means employed in the business model. […]
  • revenue: The way a company makes money through a variety of revenue flows. A company's income.

These 9 business model building blocks constitute a business model design template which allows companies to describe their business model.

(For a more detailed discussion of business models and how to work with them, see Osterwalder 2007)

Even if the concept of BM can be described in a few words, as above, applying this model on any given business will take amounts of work and intelligent analysis. A Business Model can in principle only be used on an actual business, like a scientific journal or a publishing house. Here we will focus on some implications of this model thinking on how Open Access journals must perceive their business – as opposed to that of their publisher, or TA journals – in general, trying to focus on factors that are common to OA journals as such, with emphasis on traits where OA journals are different from TA journals.