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Effect of online distribution on non-subscription revenue

Whether an online edition of a journal will have any negative effect on non-subscription income streams will vary by journal and field. Non-subscription revenues include advertising, permissions, reprints, individual copy sales, back copy sales, royalties (from online aggregators), and author charges (submission fees, color and page charges, etc.). As a broad generalization, subscription revenues comprise approximately 90 percent of revenues for most scholarly journals. Medical journals, which often generate substantial advertising and reprint revenues, are one exception.

We discuss below some of the issues relevant to several of the principal non-subscription revenue streams: advertising, royalties, permissions, and grants and gifts.


With the exception of medical journals, print advertising accounts for less than 10 percent of gross revenue for most journals. Still, advertising can be a significant revenue source for some journals. As long as a society’s members continue to receive print as a component of their membership benefit, a journal’s online availability should not undermine its print advertising revenue. However, if a society elects to offer its members an online-only option, a significant decrease in member print distribution could result in a decrease in advertising revenue. Advertisers in peer-reviewed journals (a significant percentage of which are university presses and other nonprofit publishers) have yet to make the transition to online advertising. Until such time, a society will need to compare this potential lost advertising revenue against the potential savings gained from decreased print fulfillment costs.

Royalties and license fees

The introduction of an online edition of a journal might affect royalty revenues from online aggregations in which the journal is participating. The extent to which this will be the case will depend on whether the aggregation targets a journal’s core market or whether it reaches incremental non-core markets.

If the aggregation delivers the journal’s content to a non-core market that the society would not otherwise reach, the aggregation’s royalty stream for the journal should not be significantly affected. However, if the aggregation targets institutions in the society’s core market, then the issue will be the extent to which the version of the journal in the aggregation serves as a substitute for the primary journal (see “Online Access and Print Substitution” in Chapter Four). If the version in the aggregation is embargoed or if the content is incomplete, libraries may continue to subscribe to the primary journal online, in addition to gaining access through the aggregation. The journal will likely continue to receive usage through the aggregation, especially by undergraduates and non-specialists who will rely on the aggregation for convenience.


Online dissemination can also generate additional revenue through licensing at the article level.

The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) http://www.copyright.com. operates licensing programs for both print and online content that facilitate compliance with copyright law. CCC’s services for academic publishers include online programs that automate the reprints and permissions process for using journal content in course packs, for electronic reserve, for institution-wide use, for use by individual researchers, for users outside of North America, and for a wide variety of other licensing programs. A society publisher can work with CCC directly, or a publishing service provider may handle registration and administration of the CCC relationship on the society’s behalf, managing payments and fielding rights queries (in the latter case, the provider may take a percentage of the fee as compensation).

Although the presence of images and other copyrighted media in an online journal will limit rights and permissions revenue for art history and other visually oriented disciplines, online processing of reprints and permissions will sometimes result in either lower processing costs or increased licensing revenue.

Grants and gifts

In some cases, a move to online distribution may occasion new grant seeking This was the case, for example, for caa.reviews and for JSAH , each of which applied technical innovations to expand the current conception of a art history journal. or philanthropic giving opportunities for the journal. For example, providing free online access to libraries in LDCs (as described in Chapter Four) may allow a publisher to ask a public or private foundation interested in the region to support the program. Such a sponsorship might be priced in terms of the financial value of (theoretically) forgone subscription revenue. Or a journal might seek sponsorships to make selected articles from the journal available to a wide audience on an open-access basis. Such a sponsorship program would expand access to the journal’s content and increase its visibility without affecting other revenue streams. The possible scope for such sponsorship programs is wide, and the low marginal cost of online dissemination increases their potential net income yield. See Crow (2005).

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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Source:  OpenStax, Transitioning a society journal online: a guide to financial and strategic issues. OpenStax CNX. Aug 26, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11222/1.1
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