May 16, 2022

Alternative Publishing Platforms: Knowledge Exchange Activity and Scoping Paper

The scoping paper linked below was recently posted by Knowledge Exchange.

From the Introduction:

Research findings have traditionally been published as peerreviewed academic articles, monographs and edited collection, proceedings, or theses, with academic publishing companies being the main venue for the publication of findings. In order for research organisations to make research findings available to their researchers and students, they have to subscribe to journals and monographs agreements. One of the issues with this process of publication and discoverability of academic content is that it has become increasingly costly to research organisations and has tied them to big deal agreements with a limited number of publishers.

More recently, changes in the scholarly communications landscape have fomented the emergence of other forms of communication and dissemination of research findings. For example: preprint repositories, data journals, scholarly blogs and websites, innovations of the peer review process, and micropublications. These are innovative forms of publication that seek to remove the barriers, constraints and costs imposed by legacy academic publishing companies.

In the title of this activity and this scoping paper we use the term ‘alternative’ with which we precisely envision those publishing platforms and projects that follow different paths (e.g. in
equitable publishing models, quality control, technical features, open source, iterative publishing workflows, etc.) compared to the already mentioned legacy publishers. Although we use the term alternative, we recognize that this can also lead to narrowing or even ambiguity. Where necessary, we try to address this in the right way or to make it explicit in our results.

Alternative forms of publication have been explored by multiple stakeholders in the last two decades, with open access publishing being the most widely known, which encompasses, for  example, the publication of peerreviewed articles in full open access (with or without article processing charges (APCs)) journals, in hybrid journals (subscription based journals which allow open access publishing upon payment of an APC), or via deposit of the research output in a repository (green route). One issue that has emerged from making research findings publicly available for free is that a large commercial sector has relied on journal publishing as a income stream with often large profit margins. These commercial players have developed considerable power over academia because academic research assessment has become intrinsically entangled with journal publications, making them almost the beall and endall for researchers. Hence research organisations spend large proportions of their budgets on access to journal publications, through academics themselves paying for APCs or research organisations signing up to transformative agreements).

Direct to Full Text Scoping Paper
by Jeroen Sondervan, Jean Francois Lutz, and Bianca Kramer

Direct to Project Community Website

UPDATE: May 6, 2022: Alternative Publishing Platforms (Blog Post From,  Committee for Open Science, France)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.