What do we mean by a cooperative?

It is fair to ask what we mean in this study by an open access scholarly publishing cooperative. We see it involving all or some of the following principles, subject to consultation, as it will ultimately be the members of the co-op who determine what will hold for their association:


  1. It is a multi-stakeholder cooperative association involving journals, research libraries, publishers, portals, funding agencies, and others.
  2. The co-op is a self-governing, democratically run, legally incorporated non-profit association, committed to improving the access and quality of scholarly publications.
  3. It initially forms around the publication of journals and data sets, without precluding later inclusion of books and other scholarly forms and artifacts.
  4. It is constituted by communities of interest (region, language, discipline), and participates in a federation of co-ops for global coordination.


  1. The co-op budget is derived from libraries’ and funders’ previous allocations to subscriptions, subsidies, APCs, grants, and other forms of support.
  2. While initially matching journal and society pre-cooperative revenues, the co-op will seek, through allocations and investment, to improve quality, efficiency, and fairness across its publications.
  3. It allocates funding to publishing expenses, technical innovation, incubating new journals, training, setting standards, co-op management, etc.
  4. It pools stakeholder expertise and in-kind resources (e.g., libraries provide publicity and promotional services, server capacity, etc.).
  5. It contracts services (e.g., copyediting, design, software development), and fills its journals’ back-issue gaps through purchase or tax-concession gifts.


  1. The co-op ensures that the co-op’s intellectual property -- including publications, data sets, and publishing systems -- is placed under appropriate open licenses.
  2. It maintains well-publicized and well-monitored membership criteria, adhering to scholarly publishing standards that build academic and public trust.
  3. It develops and supports international and interoperable standards for publishing transparency, systems, impact metrics, and data-set sharing.

These points will be subject to consultations with potential co-op stakeholders, in a study of what is seen as beneficial and needed; acceptable and unacceptable; desirable and undesirable; missing and unobtainable. We are using a consultative, deliberative model with stakeholders as itself part of this study of a cooperative approach.