Feasibility of a New Open Access Subspecialty Journal

Medical Subspecialty Society

Product Development

What are the success factors for a new society-published open access journal?


Our client, publisher of a top-ranked subspecialty medical journal, retained C&E to help them evaluate the feasibility of a new open access (OA) journal as a flagship journal companion.

What We Did

Our approach had three stages: 1) interviews with society stakeholders including staff, society leadership, and journal editorial leadership to understand current operations as well as perceptions related to a new OA journal; 2) benchmark interviews with representatives from societies that have launched companion journals to inform the potential impact of a new journal and to identify best practices, and 3) business plan development to capture projected revenue and costs to the society for a new OA journal.


The project highlighted a number of considerations related to the proposed title and its likelihood of success: perceptions related to OA publishing within the discipline; funding availability and number of papers affected by mandates; editorial structure; article pipeline and feasibility of seeding expansion; impact on staffing and workflow; and financial projections. A decision framework based on alignment with society goals, editorial feasibility, financial feasibility, and value to the society and the field, positioned the society for a well-considered decision. The project also played an important education and socialization role for the society and its volunteer leadership related to OA publishing.