I have organized several times some international conferences on my field (computational chemistry), where accepted proceedings are afterwards evaluated again for it submission to a special issue of a journal. Now I am thinking that I could create a journal for all those submission, even if at the beginning we have no impact factor (ISI) or if people are not so interested, but I would like this idea very much.

So I wonder of you can point which steps should I follow for creating a journal. I think I could attract many submissions, and I have servers where I could host it, but do not know the other technical and/or legal details.

  • 7
    There are a lot of journals in the world, including for computational chemistry. Why do you want to create a new one, rather than use an existing journal?
    – jakebeal
    Jan 10, 2015 at 16:27
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    Hmm... I don't know if it's the most helpful thing to question the value of staring a new journal or ask if there are unstated reason(s) unless it's critical to give a good answer... While I understand that there are varying opinions about staring a new journal when there are many already, I also think that OP already gave plenty of background information. And the question seems, at least to me, very much on-topic on its own. Would how-to's of starting a new journal like the one OP describes change depending on how OP responds to the questions by Cape Code and jakebeal? Jan 10, 2015 at 17:52
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    I want to create this journal because the explained reasons (lots of submissions from my conferneces) And also because there is a very specific topic (can not disclose information) for which no journal already exists Jan 10, 2015 at 19:27
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    I'm not sure if OP's question is about entrepreneurship; it's just about how to launch a single journal mainly for extended conference papers. Anyway, here's what a founding editor of a small independent journal says about what it takes: ams.org/notices/201301/rnoti-p97.pdf (All that's needed is a strong editorial board and very little time from a small team.) Jan 10, 2015 at 20:24
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    I think it is important to be courteous to the posters and not try to pick them apart. However, we also want to be helpful to the posters, otherwise why are we here? If someone asks you how to do X, and X is a highly difficult and time-intensive task, then I think it is very helpful to inquire why the person wants to do X. At the very least, the motivations will inform the answer about what and how much the OP is willing to do. Jan 12, 2015 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


Having followed a few new journals from birth to quick success I can see the following steps:

  1. Make sure you identify a scope that has long-term interest (pretty obvious)

  2. Make sure the idea is supported by your scientific community; that they see a benefit in yet another journal. Community involvement really helps.

  3. Assemble a group of enthusiastic and well-respected scientists in the field of interest to form a group to plan for the journal and who may constitute the nucleus of the editorial board (equiv.).

  4. Create a proposal including a description of your goals and target audience for the journal.

  5. Decide how the journal should be published. Open Access seems like a safe bet and initiate discussions with an Open Access Publisher. It is possible to publish on your own but using a publisher may provide access to other types of support so a careful assessment of the options are important.

----Now we assume the journal has passed the planning stages and will be launched

  1. Make sure the community knows about the journal. This ground work can be continuous throughout the process but has to be realized by this point.

  2. Try to attract as many prominent authors as you can and have them submit high quality work. This will help make the journal attractive. One goal, like it or not, is likely to get an impact factor (if that matters in your field) and that means publishing papers that get referenced. Attracting good papers in under any circumstances a good start.

  3. Maintain high standards in your review process and make sure to maintain high publications standards. Good papers attract other good papers when people realize the journal is to be counted.

Only the contributions you can attract determine the success of the journal. Although some of the points above may seem obvious or even trivial, the more effort you add early on the higher the chance for success. In the cases I have seen, having the community on the train from the beginning and following the development has proved to be fruitful.


Peter Jansson's answer tackles a good part of the process, but let me add the question of the publisher.

You can go through an existing publisher, in which case you will have to choose one (and then convince it that it is a good idea to start your journal, but if you managed steps 1-5 in Peter Jansson's answer, it should not be difficult). There are several criteria to be considered:

  • What service does the publisher provide to the editorial board? Discuss with editorial boards of journals published there to find out. Also, a publisher which is well-known in your field can have an easier time making your colleagues become aware of the existence of your journal, but it seems that this task is largely up to the editorial board anyway.

  • What service does the publisher provide to authors? For example some publishers ask authors to format their papers in their style prior to submission, which can be a pain, or may have painful electronic system that authors must use to submit or to contact the editorial board. Your past experience can give you a good idea. Also, the question of usual cost the journal charges for extra pages or for open-access is crucial. Publishers can also have very different policy with respect to green open access, see the Sherpa/Romeo site for info about this.

  • What service does the publisher provide to readers? For example some commercial publishers provide very poor copy-editing; you can care or not. Also, the question of the usual cost of subscriptions for non-open access journal is crucial.

You could also want to go with your university's press if it exists, so as to be close to the publisher and interact more easily with it.

If you plan on act as publisher as well, things are more complicated. Let's assume that you do not want to manage subscription payments nor article processing charges; you will still deal with quite some stuff.

  • Your journal should have an owner; it may be you, or your university, or another institution, or you could create a legal body for this (e.g. a foundation), notably if you want some money to flow. For example, I know a journal run by department, with money and one full-time staff from a university and a national research institution.

  • Your journal should have an identification, most notably an electronic ISSN. This is not difficult to get as far as I know.

  • Your journal should be indexed in the databases used in your field (e.g. Zentralblatt and MSN in mathematics). Asking the publisher of the database would be the obvious way to go.

  • You will need a software to track submissions (which need to be assigned to an editor, which need to be assigned to a referee, which await for a decision, etc.) and to host the website of the journal. Most probably you know how to do this part since you did it for your conferences.

  • If you want a paper version, you will have to deal with a printer and with mailing issues, but this is very XXth-century and very likely for a journal that does not charge subscriptions.

  • You may need to use an anti-plagiarism software, depending on your field (sometimes in small fields plagiarism is easily detected, but this is not universally true).

I certainly miss some points, please free to add in comment and I'll try to keep the list up-to-date.

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