Income models for Open Access: Endowments

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Fundraising provides a means to endow a capital fund, which generates interest to support a journal’s ongoing operations. It is difficult to assess the number of open-access journals supported by endowments, as such funding is frequently channeled through the society, institute, or foundation publishing the journal. However, some independent open-access journals do promote contributions to their endowments. When soliciting such contributions, it is important to indicate how the endowment is managed, to ensure donor confidence that their contribution will be responsibly managed.

An endowment’s capital base should typically be large enough to generate a return sufficient to provide a sustainable income stream, thus obviating recurring fundraising efforts. Fundraising is a particularly challenging and competitive pursuit, but it represents just one way to endow a capital fund. Several of the other income models (corporate sponsorships, for example) discussed here could be applied to the same purpose. In most cases, the publisher should acknowledge that support has been provided by a third-party endowment, or a major donor to an endowment, following underwriting and disclosure guidelines similar to those described for sponsorships (see Appendix D).

2.7.1 Endowment Examples

Several journals use donations to fund an endowment:

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