Information for Journal Editors

Information for Journal Editors at MU

As creators and users of scholarly articles, you have the right to expect:

  • Reasonable pricing and low rates of inflation
  • Copyright contracts that are not “all or nothing”
  • Arrangements for perpetual archiving for e-journals

The purpose of this page is to provide you with quick access to important information about the journal(s) you edit, so that you can enter discussions with your publisher from a well-informed perspective and ultimately choose which publishers or online journal platforms best suit your needs as producer and user of peer-reviewed information.

Tools for Journal Rankings and Price Comparisons

Transfer of Copyright Contracts

Search Engine for Publisher Copyright Transfer Contracts (University of Nottingham) If you don’t find an up-to-date version of your publisher’s copyright transfer agreement there, ask your publisher for a copy. These agreements may also be called “Publication Agreement” or “License to Publish.”

Contract addendum for Transfer of Copyright contracts – generates legal language to spell out basic rights for academic authors with the regard to the articles they contribute to journals.

SPARC Author Initiative – includes further benchmarks for fair Transfer of Copyright contracts and what to do if the publisher refuses to accept an altered contract

NIH Public Access Policy – detailed information for NIH-Funded Researchers

Sample language for requesting a change to the publisher’s Transfer of Copyright contract

Sample language for informing contributors about addenda to Transfer of Copyright contracts

Journal Archiving

  1. Check this list to see if your journal is covered in a publisher agreement with the not-for-profit e-journal archive called Portico. Portico keeps copies of original article files and takes responsibility for keeping them available in case of “triggering events” such as a publisher going out of business. If your publisher is not currently involved with Portico, ask them to consider joining.
  2. If your journal is available by subscription, ask the publisher to provide free access to articles that were published more than six months ago. An increasing range of journals is doing this without losing subscribers.
  3. If your journal exists only online or has an online version, be sure that its subscription agreements contains adequate provision for retention of back-issue articles in searchable form if a subscriber stops subscribing to the journal.
  4. Ask if your journal is available to scholars in developing countries through agreements like JSTOR’s African Access Initiative.

Taking Action

  1. Use the information above to start conversations with your journal’s publisher. Ask your publisher to consider changing practices that you believe are making the journal inaccessible to scholars in your field.

    Sample wording for letter to publisher addressing all of the above issues (link to be added)

  2. Sign up for the MU journal editor email list in order to share experiences and ideas (MU faculty only) will link to a form in which the person will give us their name, MU email address and the name of the journal they edit
  3. If your publisher will not support adequate access to scholarship in your field, explore alternative publishing options for your peer-reviewed material. Be prepared for the fact that the publisher probably holds rights to the journal title.

Supplementary Reading

Journal Pricing Page – key articles provided by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition

Ted Bergstrom’s Journal Pricing Page – includes industry analysis from UCSD economist Ted Bergstrom

The E-Only Tipping Point for Journals – December 2007 report by the Association of Research Libraries on the future of journal formats

MU Copyright Basics page – contains links to legal definitions, documents, fair use guidelines etc.