Open Journals

Frequently Asked Questions

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About OpenJournals

Why was OpenJournals founded?The open access debate has long focused on international journals of major publishers. In this debate, Dutch journals in the social sciences and humanities, which often find it difficult to independently take the step to 100% open access, have received less attention. That is why Stichting OPuS and the KNAW Humanities Cluster have taken the initiative of, an open access platform for journals in the social sciences and humanities. OpenJournals fits in with the aim of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and scientific organizations such as NWO, the VSNU, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences to make scientific publications fully available in open access after 2020. The requirements of Plan S are also taken into account in the setup of the platform.
Who is OpenJournals for?The platform is primarily intended for journals in the social sciences and humanities from the Netherlands and Flanders.
What does OpenJournals offer to journals?OpenJournals provides a platform where editorial offices and editorial entities can publish their journals in full open access in an accessible way. The platform offers editorial and technical support (hosting and maintenance platform) to the participating editorial offices and journal publishers.
When will OpenJournals launch?
The platform is expected to go live by the end of 2020.
Who is responsible for the technical development of OpenJournals?The technical organisation and development of the journal platform are taken care of by the Digital Infrastructure department of the KNAW Humanities Cluster (HUC). The Humanities Cluster plays a pioneering role in developing a large-scale national digital infrastructure for modern humanities research. Within this largest department of Digital Infrastructure in the humanities in Europe, HUC collaborates with researchers and data managers. In addition, one of the institutes, the Huygens ING, manages a number of journal archives that are freely accessible to the public via the so-called Resources. Open Journals Systems, an open source software system, is used to set up the platform.
How many journals will participate in OpenJournals?The target number for 2021 is fifteen magazines. After the end of the project phase, the platform is expected to serve between forty and sixty journals.
What are the conditions of participation?Journals that participate in OpenJournals must meet the following criteria:
  • The journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), or ensures it will be listed in the DOAJ in the near future.
  • The journal is published in diamond open access, appears regularly and does not charge readers or institutions for access to publications.
  • The journal has a solid peer review system in place and the exact type of review must be stated clearly on the website.
  • The journal does not charge authors an article processing charge (APC).
Does a journal transfer its ownership to OpenJournals when it joins the platform?No. The ownership of each journal remains with the so-called ‘editorial entities’ (editors, societies, institutions or publishers) and not with the platform. Journals that join the platform stay completely autonomous in terms of their editorial policy and decisions about a possible subscription structure for their print publications.
Do authors retain the copyright of their articles in journals participating in OpenJournals? Yes. Copyright remains with the author. In compliance with Plan S, articles are published under a CC BY 4.0 license by default. The two alternatives are CC BY-SA 4.0 or CC0. There is also a possibility to publish individual articles under a CC BY-ND license. However, if the research is funded with an NWO grant, NWO requires a substantive justification for the use of this particular license.
Our journal already has a domain name; will we lose it if we join the platform?Existing domain names can be continued without any problem if they are the property of the journal’s editorial entity and/or publisher. Within OpenJournals, editors retain autonomy and ownership of their journal, which includes the title and associated domain names.
Is OpenJournals intended only for journals in the social sciences and humanities? In the initial phase, OpenJournals focuses on the humanities and the social sciences, precisely because within these fields of science there is a great need for a transparent platform initiated and supported by the academic community. We are happy to discuss with journals and publishers in other domains the possibilities and costs of joining. For more information, please contact
Our journal mainly publishes non-Dutch articles. Can we join OpenJournals?The platform is intended for scientific journals in the social sciences and humanities from the Netherlands and Flanders. Many Dutch journals in the social sciences and humanities publish articles in a language other than Dutch: this does not preclude their participation in OpenJournals.
Is publishing a printed journal compatible with participating in OpenJournals? Absolutely. A printed journal with subscriptions remains possible under the conditions of Plan S, and is therefore compatible with participation in OpenJournals. Part of the revenues from subscriptions may also be used to finance publication in diamond open access.
Will switching to open access lead to a loss in subscribers?The first journals that have joined OpenJournals and that have been publishing in diamond open access for several years now, do not see a causal relationship between the transition to open access and a drop in their subscriptions. Subscribers often have a strong connection with the print journal, so that making articles available also in full open access does not necessarily affect interest in the print edition.
Will OpenJournals also publish printed journals?OpenJournals will not assume the role of publisher and is not involved in the production of printed journals. However, if editorial entities desire to publish a printed journal in addition to the open access journal, we will gladly advise them on how to achieve this. Editorial entities may choose to use our centrally purchased copyediting/typesetting services, but these are not part of the platform. For questions, please contact
Will we still be able to find a publisher, if we do not wish to publish in open access through them? In consultation with editorial entities, publishers can publish the online open access version of their journals on the OpenJournals platform, provided that this is done via the diamond open access model and that the publisher is willing to pay an annual fee per journal. If editors can persuade their publisher to publish the journal’s online version through OpenJournals, nothing stands in the way of participation. Partly thanks to Plan S, publishers are increasingly offering forms of open access publication. The online platforms where publishers accommodate open access publications are often part of large, commercial companies, where the identity and uniqueness of journals and their underlying organizations do not always stand out. Moreover, there is usually a lack of transparency regarding the costs of such a platform. These can be reasons for journals to prefer the open access version via OpenJournals, where recognizability and transparency are paramount.
Is the recognisability of journals guaranteed on OpenJournals, and if so, how? OpenJournals wants to give editors and publishers maximum control of the digital appearance of their journal. For questions about the customization options of the journal platform, please contact
Does the platform include all functionalities by its launch date of January 1, 2020? The aim is to have a well-functioning platform for probably 5 to 7 journals by 1 January 2021. In the period 2021 to 2024, the platform will be further expanded with more journals, but also more functionality, especially for enriched publications. For instance options for (data) visualization, linking of underlying databases, and so forth.
I am interested in participating in OpenJournals. Who can I contact?You can reach us and sign up by sending a message to


Who finances OpenJournals?The realization of this platform was made possible thanks to a three-year project grant from NWO. Additional funding for the platform has been secured through a contribution model involving stakeholders in the social sciences and humanities such as NWO, scientific societies, and, in the near future, universities and university libraries. Furthermore, participating magazines are required to pay a fixed annual contribution, which is in line with market conditions.
What do the stakeholders finance exactly?The stakeholders only finance those services needed for publishing in open access, such as hosting, the technical infrastructure behind the platform, and providing support to participating editorial offices and journal publishers. They do not finance editorial staff (secretariat), typesetting costs, or printing costs for a paper magazine.
Who will finance OpenJournals after the NWO project grant expires?After the NWO project grant expires, the stakeholders will provide the funding for OpenJournals. The project group is discussing this funding with various parties, including through the so-called National Platform Open Science, in which the NWO, KNAW, VSNU, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the UKB participate.
Do the stakeholders cover all costs of the journal platform?No. That is why we also request an annual contribution from journals for participation in the platform.
How much do journals pay for participating in OpenJournals?OpenJournals is considering differentiating the contribution between journals based on the number of subscribers and the size of the community or association behind each individual journal. The journal platform currently assumes an annual contribution of €3,000, including VAT. We will have ongoing discussions about the annual contribution per journal, including in regular conversations with participating journals and organisations.
Why do journals pay a contribution for their participation in OpenJournals?Open access publishing is free for end users, but running the platform costs money. For example, there are costs associated with the installation of open access software, running the server, maintenance and development, and providing editorial support to editors and publishers. The platform’s services and their cost structure are transparent and will be accounted for on this website upon launch.
How are article processing charges (APCs) financed?APCs are financed by stakeholders in the diamond open access model used by OpenJournals and by the participating journals through their annual contribution.
We are not affiliated with any university or institute and have an unsalaried editorial staff. How can we afford the annual contribution?Magazines that have a print version with subscriptions could use part of the revenues from the subscriptions to finance the annual contribution, for example by asking subscribers to help achieve publication in diamond open access through an increase in the subscription price. Editors and publishers could also seek financial support from organizations within their own field (societies, associations and other scholarly bodies) and from external funds.

Plan S

What is Plan S?The final version of Plan S was drawn up in June 2019 by cOAlition S, a consortium of European research funders. The core idea of Plan S is that, from 1 January 2021 onwards, all scientific publications that result from research funded by an international group of research funders, including NWO, must either be published in open access journals and on open access platforms, or made available immediately (without embargo) in open access in an institutional or disciplinary repository. In addition to open and direct accessibility, full open access also revolves around the reuse of published research results. Therefore, Plan S requires research results to be published under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY, or alternatively CC-BY-ND).
What are the implications of Plan S for journals?For journals that do not meet the requirements of open access, Plan S means they can no longer publish certain research. The direct consequences are that fewer manuscripts will be submitted to such journals and that they may miss out on high-quality, innovative research.
What is diamond open access and what is the difference with gold open access?Publishing in diamond open access is done in diamond journals or on diamond platforms. In the diamond publication model, the process is completely free of charge to both authors and readers. In the diamond open access model the author is not charged with article processing charges (APCs); in the model OpenJournals uses, APCs are paid by the stakeholders. Gold open access journals do charge APCs to authors themselves or their institutions.
What is a hybrid journal and does it meet the requirements of Plan S?Hybrid journals are subscription journals that offer the option of open access publication per article. Some of their articles are, however, put behind a paywall. Hybrid journals make individual articles available in open access if an APC has been paid to the publishing entity. cOAlition S does not finance publications in journals that use a hybrid publication model.
Does OpenJournals support the hybrid publication model?No, OpenJournals is only intended for diamond open access journals.
Why should a magazine publish in open access?The formal reason is that all research funded by NWO and European funds must be published in open access as of 1 January 2021. Because more and more publications are based on this type of research, it is increasingly important for journals to publish in open access so that they remain attractive to authors of high-quality and innovative research papers. The, less formal, underlying reason is that most scientific research is paid for by public funds and it is therefore self-evident that the results of that research, as published in academic journals, should be freely accessible to the public.