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AccessEcon LLC 2006, 2008.
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Services and costs

AccessEcon offers the following services:

  • Open-access economic journals: AccessEcon software provides both a flexible web-based, workflow-management and content-publication system. The system allows for the collection of submission fees but does not provide any digital rights management. The system is open-access by design. Starting or running a journal takes both a commitment and a well-conceived mission. Because it is not our wish to add to the growing flood of useless information, we will exercise judgement about whether to host any given journal. However, there is no fee for hosting open-access journals. Given that we will host and support the software, this means that the cost of running an open-access journal at AccessEcon is zero. All that is required is the intellectual work of editing and refereeing.

  • Submission interfaces: For non-open-access journals, AccessEcon will host editorial back-offices (but not content-publication services) for a small fee. Editors can use the system to manage the peer-review process and put together tables of contents and collections of accepted papers to send to publishers, but will not be able to publish with the system unless they are willing to allow open-access to the content.

  • Conference organization interface: AccessEcon has a complete conference organization package that does everything from managing submissions, to putting together a program, to handling registration. This interface will be made available free of charge to any group organizing conferences in economics. The only requirement is that current conference organizers agree to answer occasional questions from future conference organizers new to the system. This kind of mutual support makes scaling up usage feasible, and helping one's colleagues in this way should not impose an unreasonable burden.

  • Working-paper series: AccessEcon will host working-paper series for any economics department, research group, or society free of charge, subject only to the same mutual support requirement given for conferences.

  • Association websites: AccessEcon will host scholarly society website interfaces for any economics group, subject only to the mutual support agreement. This interface will integrate conferences, working papers, and publications of societies hosted at AccessEcon and will also help societies manage their membership lists. This service is still in the beta stage, and will be made available sometime in 2009.

Why free is a good business model

As economists, you should be asking: why is free a sensible business model? There are several reasons. First, our purpose in writing this software to begin with was to support JPET, APET, and EB. Thus, we would have incurred the fixed cost of creating this software in any event. There are very few additional fixed costs to recover. Second, the marginal cost of allowing others to use the system is very close to zero. We are good enough public economists to know that the efficient price is zero in this case. The only marginal costs to us are the time it takes to help get others started on the system. This is the reason for the mutual support condition. Third, after careful reflection, we realized that we simply are not business people. The cost in terms of time away from research of shilling, billing and advertising is just not worth the potential financial benefit. To mangle the old joke about arbitrage: if there are five dollar bills lying on the ground it must cost ten dollars to pick them up. Finally, because of our experience at JPET and EB, we sincerely want open-access to spread as rapidly and widely as possible, especially in economics. To nickel and dime people who share this vision seems completely self-defeating.