How can we ensure that Quantum is financially sustainable? And how are publication fees going to work exactly? In this post we go into the gritty details of Quantum’s finances and how we plan its long term viability.
Let us set the scene with the following facts:
- Quantum is non-profit. By its legal form it can not make sustained profits and it can spend money only on a narrowly defined set of activities related to running the journal.
- Upon acceptance, Quantum offers the possibility to get the publication fee completely waived. This offer extends to everyone and is not bound to any conditions.
Let us next explain what are the costs of running the journal:
- 10$ per submitted article for the platform of Scholastica,
- A few dollars per published article and a few hundred euros of annual fees for assigning DOIs through Crossref,
- Running the website and other smaller costs adding up to a few hundred euros per year,
- One-off costs for legal advice and trade-mark registration of the order of several thousand euros.
Finally, let us explain the axioms of the finances of Quantum:
- No good research should remain unpublished for a lack of funds.
- Financial issues should never impact the editorial decisions of Quantum.
What are the dangers?
- Since we pay per submission but get paid per accepted publication, in times of financial scarcity, there would be an incentive to accept more works.
- To not compromise its independence, Quantum should never be too dependent on just one source of funding.
- It is currently very hard to predict how many submissions Quantum will receive and, because Quantum does not have a target rejection rate, it is even less clear how many articles it will publish. This can negatively impact finances in two ways: If Quantum receives very few submissions, the annual costs can become significant (this is currently very unlikely). If Quantum receives more submissions than can ultimately be handled by volunteers alone, Quantum might have to employ someone for a couple of hours a week to technically check papers before publication (DOI links, …), to put them on the website, and deposit the meta-data with Crossref (this seems possible in the medium term future).
How can the axioms be achieved given these dangers?
- Quantum will rely on multiple sources of funding:
- Publication fees (more on that below)
- Support from research institutes, physical societies, and other funding bodies. We have already received 2000€ from IQOQI to pay for the first round of submissions. Further pledges based on the achievements of certain goals have been made.
- Private donations. These are typically small amounts, but they add up.
- Radical transparency. Quantum practices public accounting. This means that all its earnings and expenditures are made public through a shared spreadsheet for everyone to see and check. Private donations are anonymized.
- Regular revisions of the publication fee, justified on the basis of the openly available financial data, to adapt to changes in the financial situation.
- Flexibility in the publication fees. Since our fees are regular publication fees, as in any other open-access journal, many research groups have funding available to cover them. We offer two fees, a regular 200€ and a discounted 100€ fee to enable well funded groups to support us. Groups with no funding can make use of the offered waiver.
Given the relatively low costs and the support by strong partners, we are very confident that Quantum will be able to offer the same or even lower publication fees in the future and that it will never let financial issues influence editorial decisions.
If you think that your institution would be willing to make a small yearly contribution to our mission, please contact us under firstname.lastname@example.org. Even a small contribution of 1000€ per year would help Quantum enormously, while being a very small amount compared to usual open-access publishing fees.