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Dissemination and publication / Open Access

Launch an Open Access Journal

There are many elements to consider when launching a new scientific journal. Here are some of the most important things to bear in mind.

Worth ensuring when launching a new scientific journal:

1. Make sure that operational resources are available at the faculty / department. Starting up a journal without having set aside long-term time resources may be problematic. In other words, this is a prerequisite.

2. To ensure predictability, the journals must be anchored at the departmental level. You must prepare a long-term publishing plan - a business plan - containing elements such as: available resources, concept, needs analysis, operational plan, realistic publishing policy (no less than six articles or similarly evaluated contributions of other forms per year, and a minimum of three years of future release).

A successful journal is based on a solid business plan, i.e. written plan describing what the journal is about, the background for the launching, how it will be financed, the parties involved and their roles as well as your target audience and how to reach it.

A general business plan includes several elements. These could be:

  • The concept - What is the unique purpose of your journal? What are its goals and its scope and what will it mean to research environments and others alike?
  • Needs analysis (readers and writers) - Who will read and / or contribute to your journal? How will you reach your audience (capture a large and loyal base of authors and readers)? Are there already similar journals on the market? How do you plan to obtain contributors (over time)? Do you have a plan for how to attract the best manuscripts?
  • Editorial staff - Who is going to run the journal and what should be their qualifications? What specific skills and resources do these people have? To ensure robustness you might want to consider establishing an editorial committee with members from various institutions. You should know who the peer-reviewers will be and how to maintain peers over time.
  • Operational plan - Which work processes must be followed and implemented? How will the daily duties be performed?
  • Economic analysis - What financial costs will the journal incur? How will these costs be payed? The analysis usually includes a 3-5 year budget plan reflecting the economic model(s) on which you base your journal.
  • A budget - Specify expenses and income. A part of the anchoring at departmental level includes the department's knowledge of the costs of starting up a journal. Every journal that is currently up and running at HiOA  must state how much time is spent on editorial work. Support services also stipulate costs related to the journals.
  • Publication fee – Will there be Article Processing Charges (APC)? This will only be relevant once the journal is well-established and has a substantial access to articles. A separate publishing fund that covers the APC for publications in OA journals has been established at all higher education institutions in Norway.

3. Considered how the journal should be presented online

  • Banner / logo - The journal should as a minimum have a banner showing its name / logo
  • Design - You can choose to use one of the software’s default layouts or develop your own.
  • Article layout - The articles should have a comprehensive formatting. The name of the journal and preferably the DOI should appear on the first page of each article. What file format do you want to publish in? PDF, HTML, ePub, XML?
  • Name and URL - The journals will be assigned a URL on the platform but you are free to purchase your own domain. The URL should have a name that works in English if your target audience is international.
  • Language - The language should be adapted to the target audience. Evaluate whether to publish only in English or in both English and Norwegian / other.

4. Indexing, archiving and dissemination. When launching a journal one must also ensure that information about the journal is provided in relevant channels in order to attract article writers as well as new readers. This is something the editor should constantly work on, both when launching new journals and to increase the range of an existing journal. Focus specifically on the channels the editor himself uses to find information about his subject area and find out how your journal can enter the same channel.

Digital Services can help with indexing. We help with registration in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and in the library catalogue Oria as well as with increasing visibility in search engines like Google, Bing and Google Scholar..

SPARC's guide to indexing

5. The assessment process – Sort out the peer review process and establish criteria for how to decide which articles to approve.

6. Contracts - A written agreement should be made between the institutions that cooperate on journal publishing to ensure a common understanding among the various partners.


Along with the core operations of publishing a journal, there are a number of administrative activities that must be handled as well. Although these may not immediately affect the daily operation of the journal, they will certainly do so if too much time goes by without them being addressed. Examples: applications for funding and annual statistics. LSB can supply the figures and inform about application possibilities, but the journals must evaluate when it is appropriate to use these.


The editorial staff will regularly receive inquiries, information, etc. sent to the journal's email address or  directly to a staff member. A member of the publishing team should be designated to receive and respond to general mail and inquiries on behalf of the publishing team. This should be the staff secretary or the editor.

The journal's contact information must be clearly stated and easy to find. 

How to obtain an ISSN number

The journal must have published something before it can get an ISSN number. This could be a sample issue of the journal.

The ISSN Office at the National Library

Registration form

Registration as a scientific channel

Journals, websites and periodicals must:

  • Be identifiable with a valid ISSN, approved by the international ISSN registry
  • Have a scientific editorial staff (or equivalent) consisting primarily of researchers employed by research institutions / entities carrying out research
  • Have procedures for external peer reviews
  • Have a national or international writer's circle, i.e. no more than 2/3 of the authors can belong to one and the same institution.

Level 1 registration is done on NSD's websites, where you can also find the requirements that must be met in order to be approved as a scientific channel at Level 1.

Registration form

Keep yourself updated!

The publishing landscape changes rapidly. To be competitive you must keep up to date with trends and developments that affect scientific publishing in general and the Open Access field in particular.

A good way to keep track of everything is to follow some of the websites, organisations, and blogs about Open Access publishing.