Paul Peters, Head of Business Development (left) and Dr. Ahmed Hindawi, CEO, Hindawi
"Open Access," says Ahmed Hindawi–the Egyptian journal publisher who, over a 10-year period, has built an entire line of journals on the author pays model–"is simply good business."
As of Feb. 21, 2007, a date he says he will always remember, the once conventional publisher completely converted his company to a new economic model; and himself, to a new way of operating a journal publishing business.
Well, possibly it’s not entirely a "new way," since Hindawi himself admits that article charges are not uncommon in certain fields, such as electrical engineering. But when he launched his Hindawi journal publishing business in 1997 he meant to operate as a classic publisher, offering initially a line of 30 titles in print and on a subscription basis.
He learned quickly, however, that "the market did not favor a small start-up." Hindawi experimented with a single Open Access journal–offered on the author pays model–in 2003 and found the uptake "encouraging." Over the ensuing years he says he saw the barriers disappear.
"When the author (or the author’s institution) pays up-front for a peer-reviewed paper to be published, "the journal is profitable from day 1," he noted, and no subscriptions need to be sold. But Hindawi will still sell you a print subscription if you want one. (The latter sales, he says, comprise only a small amount of his revenues.) Otherwise, the published articles simply exist in digital form . . . as freely available and free-flowing content.
To promote discovery, Hindawi cooperates with a variety of access services, including Swets, EBSCO, and PubMedCentral. The Hindawi titles are also indexed in databases, including Scopus and Web of Science. And you will even find the titles accessible through Google and Google Scholar.
Libraries can link directly to full texts through their OPACS.
In the Hindawi approach, the publisher makes a living, and the user–any user–gets access to the corpus for free.
Sounds like a perfect world, doesn’t it? Anyone have anything to add? Please comment here.
ITI VP, Content