Introducing the Open Access Journal Canvas

Marcus Burkhardt —  March 6, 2015 — Leave a comment

A while back we published the infographic „How to Start an Open Access Journal“ on this blog. Drawing on existing research on Open Access journals and the experiences we gained in the Hybrid Publishing Lab we originally assembled the poster for a workshop with a group of scholars interested in starting their own Open Access journal. Recently my colleague Andreas Kirchner and I have been conducting another workshop with doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen on the same topic. We took this occasion as an opportunity to create an “Open Access Journal Canvas” (PDF) which supplements the poster.

Open Access Journal Canvas

The “Open Access Journal Canvas” serves as a template that individuals and groups who are interested in setting up such a journal can use to sketch out ideas and to refine their concept. It consists of eight sections in which different questions pertinent to starting and running an Open Access journal are raised: Scope + Mission, Content, Workflows, Distribution, People, Licensing + Financing, Costs, and Getting Started.

Our canvas is based upon the “Business Model Canvas“ designed by the Business Model Foundry AG (, which is quite useful for developing business models. One of the virtues of such a canvas is that it forces its users to make ideas, desires, conceptions, and decisions explicit that far too often tend to remain implicit. Another benefit is that the canvas calls attention to all the nitty-gritty questions and problems that still need to be solved. Based on this a rough idea which marks the beginning of each and every project can be transformed into a consistent and promising concept. In the course of filling in the blanks of the canvas once, twice, or even more often perspectives on alternative approaches to scholarly journal publishing might even arise.

Please use, share and adapt the canvas to your needs! In case you need an editable file please contact us. We are happy to provide it to you. Since it’s a very first version of the “Open Access Journal Canvas” we are looking forward to your feedback and critique that would enable us to improve the canvas in the future.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the Business Model Foundry AG ( for providing their canvas under a CC-BY-SA License and thanks to Michael Bartel (ZMI-Transfer) and Sebastian Mühleis for giving us their invaluable feedback on earlier drafts of our canvas. Last but not least we want to thank the doctoral and postdoctoral researchers of the GCSC who kindly served as human guinea pigs for the OAJ Canvas.

The “Open Access Journal Canvas” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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