Creating a portfolio of journals to better serve your community
July 19, 2023
By Luaine Bandounas, PhD
How one society has successfully aligned its journal launch strategy with its wider objectives
Many societies serve large, diverse communities that represent multiple sub-specialties sitting under one broader subject field. For these societies, it often makes perfect sense to launch multiple journals to serve the multiple needs of their community, generate additional revenue, and provide an added member benefit.
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)(opens in new tab/window) is a great example of a society that has successfully expanded its journal portfolio, including launching two new gold open access titles in 2021.
IChemE is a UK-based learned society and internationally recognized qualifying body founded in 1922. Its main aim is to support chemical engineering and help advance science for the benefit of society.
IChemE has a varied journal portfolio of seven titles, which are published by Elsevier: Chemical Engineering Research and Design; Process Safety and Environmental Protection; Food and Bioproducts Processing; Education for Chemical Engineers, Sustainable Production and Consumption, and its latest new open access launches: Digital Chemical Engineering and Carbon Capture, Science and Technology.
Aligning journal strategy with society goals
Recognizing that its journals should reflect — and help achieve — its wider objectives, IChemE chose to expand its journal portfolio and launch two new open access journals in 2021 to further support its wider mission. Moreover, IChemE’s Learned Society Committee (LSC)(opens in new tab/window) were tasked with engaging IChemE’s members to deliver on its Strategy 2024 five-year plan(opens in new tab/window), which led to the following areas being prioritized in support of the society’s key goals:
Major hazards management
Of these, digitalization was shown to be under-represented and therefore viewed as a viable area to explore for a future journal launch, given that digital technology and artificial intelligence play a major role in manufacturing, research and society in general. So after working in collaboration with us to help validate the likely demand for a journal in the field, the gold open access journal Digital Chemical Engineering(opens in new tab/window) (DCE) was created.
IChemE’s rationale for launching a second new journal in 2021, Carbon Capture, Science and Technology(opens in new tab/window) (CCST), was that there were an increasing number of submissions within chemical engineering on carbon capture, but despite several journals covering aspects of this area of research, no single journal was dedicated to it. Consequently, it was an opportune moment to launch a journal in an emerging field to support the many researchers and partners engaged with IChemE in this area.
Both Digital Chemical Engineering and Carbon Capture, Science and Technology were launched under the open access business model instead of the traditional hybrid model (subscription with the option to publish open access) as there is a particular appetite and funding for open access in these fields. In addition, it provided an opportunity for IChemE to diversify its journal business models (all other IChemE journals adopt the hybrid model).
5 reasons to launch a new journal
Support a specific focus area of your society
Fill a gap in the market identified by, for instance:
Increasing submissions on a specific topic/area and no dedicated journal for these papers
Increased prevalence of the topic in international conferences and literature
Interest and demand from society members and the wider research community
Interest in special issues on the specific topic
Funding opportunities in the specific area
Opportunity to publish content in an emerging field or that is timely
Chance to experiment with a different business model, e.g., open access vs subscription
Success so far
Since their launch, Digital Chemical Engineering(opens in new tab/window) and Carbon Capture, Science and Technology(opens in new tab/window) have been very well received and have seen a healthy number of submissions, published papers and downloads, in addition to publishing several special issues that have shined a light on specific topics of interest. They are both already indexed in Scopus and the Directory of Open Access Journals(opens in new tab/window), and CCST has even had a successful online conference linked to the journal — a great way to raise the journal’s profile within its community.
According to Claudia Flavell-While(opens in new tab/window), Director, Learned Society at IChemE, both journals are already on their way to helping IChemE to meet its wider goals:
Like most science and engineering subjects, chemical engineering is constantly evolving, and the priority topics are chosen accordingly to support our strategy. Expanding our journals portfolio helps us deliver against our aims and support the chemical engineering community working in these hot topics.
I look forward to continuing to work on both journals as they develop in support of IChemE’s wider objectives. To find out more how we can help your society to broaden its publishing portfolio, please contact your publisher or [email protected](opens in new tab/window)