Skip to main content

Collabra: a new journal that pays reviewers

Copyright Collabra
University of California Press will soon launch a new fully open access mega-journal* called Collabra. The new journal is set to launch in March 2015 alongside a new open access book program called Luminos:

“As part of the world’s greatest public research university we knew that we needed to make a significant investment to meet the changing publishing and dissemination needs of our audiences,” said Alison Mudditt, Director of UC Press. “These programs have been shaped by hundreds of conversations with faculty, librarians, and other key stakeholders. With Luminos, we will combine the global reach and visibility of OA with our unwavering commitment to publishing superior scholarship to create a speedboat, not a life raft, that will carry monographs forward and allow them to remain a vital resource.” University of California Press

Collabra is a fully open access journal that requires authors to pay APC charges in order to get papers published. This charge covers the cost of production, as well as operating costs, staff wages, etc. In most fully open access journals there is significant profit to be made through APCs and these margins are increased as reviewers are traditionally unpaid. It is sometimes said that unpaid reviewing is simply part and parcel of academic culture, however the innovative payment scheme of Collabra proves that this doesn’t have to be the case. At Collabra, the APC costs $875, $250 of which goes towards paying the reviewers. The reviewers can then decide what they would like to do with the money. They can choose to keep the money, put the money into an APC waiver fund for researchers unable to pay the fee, or pay it forward to their institution’s open access APC fund.

“The journal model is not just about paying reviewers but also about directing some of the value generated back into the research community.” Collabra

We approached Dan Morgan, the Digital Science Publisher at Collabra for a quick explanation of the Collabra process:

"By assigning a percentage of the APC for the research community, Collabra spreads revenue and tangibly shows the value of this work, creating a true partnership. Collabra is enabling the research community to decide what to do with this value that it generates. Reviewers and editors can elect to pay themselves, or pay it forward to the Collabra waiver fund, or their institution's OA fund - in the latter instances creating more OA opportunities for more people. We'd love it if they did that, but importantly it is their choice, and not ours." Dan Morgan

Dan recently spoke at FORCE 2015, a conference centred on highlighting new trends in research communication and e-scholarship. His Creative Commons licensed presentation is available for free on figshare here:
Traditional publishing practice sees value directed solely back to the publisher (Dan Morgan)
So, the journal will put more emphasis on the value added by academics, who mostly work for free for publishers when reviewing and editing. By offering an APC waiver the journal can also serve as an open access publishing platform to those “priced-out” by the often high APC charges demanded by publishers.

Collabra will focus on three main disciplines at launch: life and biomedical sciences, ecology and environmental science, and social and behavioural sciences. To find out more about Collabra why not visit the website (, or share your thoughts and opinions using their twitter handle @CollabraOA (

*A mega-journal is a journal that has a number of key characteristics. It will be fully Open Access (with no subscription options), it will not judge articles based on perceived importance, instead judgement will be based on “scientific, methodological and ethical soundness and credibility” Mega journals also often have a fairly broad coverage. A good example of a scholarly mega-journal is PLoS one

**We extend a special thanks to Dan Morgan and Lorraine Weston of Collabra for providing information and permission to reuse image and video content


Popular posts from this blog

Untangling Academic Publishing: Scottish launch for OA Week

St Andrews University Library is delighted to host the Scottish Launch of Untangling Academic Publishing during Open Access Week - the event is open to all, discussion encouraged!

>Please contact if you wish to attend.

Untangling Academic Publishing: Launch and Discussion about the past and future of academic publishingA University Library event for Open Access Week

Tuesday 24 October, 16.00-18.30 - Arts Lecture Theatre (No.31 on the map)

Presentation: Professor Aileen Fyfe, School of History, lead author of the briefing paper ‘Untangling Academic Publishing’, will explain some of the biggest changes in academic publishing over the last 60 years.

Panel Discussion: the talk will be followed by a discussion of possible futures.
Professor Fyfe will be in conversation with Professor Stephen Curry,  Imperial College London and Professor Martin Kretschmer, University of Glasgow.

Presentation and panel discussion will be followed by a wine reception.


Your Open Access - statistics and usage

It's Open Access Week again, and this year the theme is 'Open in order to...' This year's theme is designed to shift discussion away from wider issues of 'openness', and instead direct attention to the tangible benefits of open access. This week we will be publishing a series of posts aimed at  highlighting some of these benefits. In this post we will look at some of the statistics we gather about the open access content in our Repository, and specifically the statistics that we've chosen to highlight in our new Infographic.
Given the theme of this year's Open Access Week, the subject of this post could be appropriately described as 'Open in order to boost downloads' For years we have been collecting usage statistics about the content held in our repository. Up until now this data has been collected and, for the most part, discussed internally; but not any more. Now we want to show the academic community here in St Andrews, whose work populates …

Knowledge Exchange on the costs of Open Access

The cost of Open Access isn't a late-breaking field. In 2014 a cost of £9.2m for UK research organisations to achieve RCUK Open Access compliance was quoted [1]. This is in addition to the millions paid to publishers for article processing charges.  Because the market in scholarly publications is constantly adapting and costs for Open Access and library journal subscriptions are inexorably rising, it's incumbent on institutions to monitor not just the cost of the product, but the cost of managing it.  Open Access and open data have been identified as strategic for Librarians and university senior management [2].

The Knowledge Exchange partnership works at an international level to develop the infrastructure of open scholarship and promote common standards.  It regularly publishes reports on its activities. Its consensus report on monitoring Open Access publications and cost data published April last year makes recommendations based on the work and feedback from stakeholders at…