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Scholastica and DIY Open Access Journals

Scholastica main siteWith traditional journals suffering from rising costs and increased disinterest in print subscriptions, online open access is looking more appealing than ever. The team behind recently launched Scholastica is offering a new platform for those interested in joining the movement.

Scholastica is designed to make setting up and managing an academic journal about as easy as configuring a Facebook group. Aesthetically, Scholastica has a simple elegance and integration that makes it appealing as an all-in-one solution. However, there’s no “no-cost” way to create a journal within the network, so ultimately anyone who sets up a journal has to be prepared for either institutional expenses or finding additional options for revenue. Scholastica’s model currently relies on per-submission ($10, or $5 for law reviews) pricing, which the journal either pays or passes on to authors.

The most notable element of this particular platform seems to be the community system, “The Conversation“, with the idea of Scholastica as a network for scholarly discourse with journals at its center. The idea of a social network space threaded through journals is an interesting solution to the problem of academic papers as a poor discussion form. There’s even trendy gamification and reputation “points.” Just imagine where that type of social reputation could head—potential peer reviewers with fast turn-around times and good feedback getting five star ratings ala eBay sellers.

Scholastica isn’t the only option for starting an open-access journal. Open Journal Systems, a popular open source option for open access journals, operates installed on one’s own server in a model more akin to WordPress. Scholastica instead relies on Amazon’s cloud for hosting. Another compelling piece of this platform is the ease of leaving it: the stated commitment to portability of data (and the promise of one-click export to come) is something I wish we’d see from more spaces within and outside of academia.

Are you involved with running an open-access journal, or do you frequently publish in open-access spaces? What do you look for in an online publishing platform? Let us know in the comments!

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