Co-operative models

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A large number of scientific journals are in operation based on some variation of a model where individuals and/or institutions spend time and other resources on journal operations.

This covers a lot of possibilities:

  • A hosting institution allocates man-hours and money to ensure operation of a journal that they see as beneficial to the institution.
  • A hosting institution knowingly accepts that employees uses working hours on the journal, and occasionally also supplies direct financial support to enable the journal to outsource some functions
  • Employees uses working hours and other resources on the journal, without any explicit knowledge of the institution
  • Employees uses their free time to operate the journal

There are no sharp divides between these possibilities, they are more points on a scale. These models may also be combined with some of the more commercial models, or external funding.

Pros and cons

The positive side of these models could be:

  • The journal is operated by someone very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about it
  • The model ensures a low per article cost

Among the drawbacks are:

  • Little knowledge about the more technical sides of journal operation, and of the income possibilities
  • Dependence on relatively few persons, often resulting in journals dying with their enthusiasm
  • Single-journal operations only, no possibility of creating or exploiting a larger pool of competence(s)

Nordic status


A 2008 survey indicates that 10 of 12 journals was mainly operated under a co-operative model.