How to get clients for your journal business
August 12, 2013 1 Comment
The aim of the post is to reflect on a particular point on the management of academic journals, which is the reader or clients for their journal business.
For a journal there are at least three key types of stakeholders, which are interrelated: the readers, authors (content) and peer-reviewers.
- By focusing on innovation and contribution to knowledge, journal publications are usually directed to a specialized audience. Therefore, very often the reader or target audience (the client), apart from professionals is usually also professors and researchers, which in turn are the authors and users of journal content.
- The target of journals are usually much focused, which makes it easier for them to find readers, typically located in the faculties and in the authors of papers that are published continuously. But instead the reader’s habits are changing: who can be faithful to a single journal with the current flow of information on the internet on any subject and in many formats?
Moreover, for what I see in the social networks for academics, such as Academia, Researchgate or Mendeley, the world goes to the free access to the article, not to the journal. What the journals provide is to ensure the quality of the paper/research mainly with its peer-review evaluation process; but then the authors disclose them at their own way.
This leads us to wonder about the business model of journals, whether to charge the reader, lowering the target, or charge the author, which also limits access to quality content. But what really matters is if the journal model fits with the new environment of free and open access, and if the reader is somehow relevant or it is just the content.
My conclusion is that as a business, journals make no sense; they make sense as disseminating tools for a university department or professional association. Those who get make money are those serving around journals as hosting applications, journal indexes or directories, or even clusters of journals such as Elsevier and Wiley. A little sad, isn’t it?