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Journal Publishing

This guide supports journal publishing initiatives across NYU by providing information about the various issues involved in journal publishing, including how to access NYU services that support this work.

What is Toll Access?

Toll access is a model in which the reader pays; the publisher charges individuals and institutions to access articles and journals. Some or all of the revenue is then used to sustain the journal’s operating costs. By nature, a toll access model requires a sales operation. This can include pricing models; infrastructure for selling, invoicing, and delivery; and a process for building and maintaining a customer network. For this reason, many journals using the toll access model to financially sustain their journals work with publishers that already have some of these resources, including extensive and established sales networks.

It is important to note that this model has created the prevailing inequitable norm in which researchers and their institutions must pay ever-increasing prices for access to articles, and any articles that authors publish are not only financially uncompensated but also locked up behind a paywall. Open access is a movement that seeks to respond to some of these inequities by removing paywalls and legal usage barriers for users, and one way of contributing to open access in scholarship is by publishing an open access journal. However, providing access to content without price barriers does not necessarily create equity in scholarship by itself without some criticality around where and who the journal’s funding comes from instead.

Relatedly, many assume that the toll model is fundamentally incompatible with open access, but this is not necessarily the case. It is actually quite common for toll access journals to facilitate open access by stating clear terms, in their journal policies and in their standard author agreements, by which authors can make their works available by self-archiving a version of it in an online repository or a personal website. The version that can be self-archived is usually the submitted version, or the accepted version without copy editing or formatting. This is what is referred to as “Green Open Access.”

If you are considering working with an established publisher to run a toll-access journal, it may be helpful to consider and ask questions about the following:

  • Whether the publisher will allow the journal to have the Green Open Access policy that you want.
  • Whether the publisher empowers you to build relationships with your authors as you wish, including by negotiating author agreements in good faith.
  • How pricing decisions are made and how royalties, if applicable, are calculated.