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 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 open access 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 open access journal.


The project armed the society with knowledge about the factors that were critical for the proposed new journal to succeed: perceptions and realities related to open access publishing and mandates within the discipline; editorial structure and relationship to the flagship journal; the likelihood that the existing editorial pipeline could provide the necessary number of articles, in particular in the ramp-up period for the journal; impact on staffing and adjustments to workflow a new journal would require; and projections of revenue and expense related to the new journal. 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 about the new journal. The project played an important education and socialization role for the society and its volunteer leadership related to open access publishing.