2.5 Take care of formalities
There are a number of formalities you should take care of when setting up a new journal. These are fairly bureaucratic and in some cases can be time-consuming, but fortunately most will only need to be carried out once. These formalities will largely require input from the Chief Editor, who might also carry them out or with assistance from another member of the publishing team.
2.5.1 Register ISSN
An ISSN is an anonymous identifier associated with a periodical title; it does not contain any information as to the publisher or its location. For this reason, a new ISSN is assigned to a periodical each time it undergoes a major title change but not when it changes publisher.
To be able to identify a journal internationally it should preferably have an ISSN for each medium in which it appears; for instance, the online version and the printed version of a journal each have their own individual ISSN even though the content is the same. To show the relation between the two versions, the same ISSN-L should be added after each individual ISSN.
|Other version (eg. CD-ROM)||1748-1734||1748-1708|
Thus an ISSN is a unique identifier for a specific serial in a defined medium. The ISSN-L brings these separate ISSNs together, enabling identification and linking among the different media versions of a continuing resource – often a journal.
Librarians in particular use ISSN/ISSN-L, both for identifying and for cataloguing journals.
Note that the title of the Journal is not trademark protected just because the Journal has been assigned an ISSN. To protect the trademark/name of the Journal, see Section 2.5.3 Register for trademark protection.
To get an ISSN/ISSN-L, contact a national ISSN centre or, if there is no such centre in your country, go to the International ISSN Centre at http://www.issn.org/2-22648-Contact-the-International-Centre.php Links to application forms for attaining ISSN for Nordic publications are listed under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES. ISSN assignment is free of charge.
Placing the ISSN and ISSN-L
ISSN and ISSN-L shall be written in uppercase and a space shall precede the 8 digits of the number. Example :
printed version: ISSN 0001-6772, ISSN-L 0001-6672, online version: ISSN 1365-201X, ISSN-L 0001-6672.
The preferred location of the ISSN/ISSN-L number on a printed cover is in the upper right-hand corner. The number can also be printed/repeated on the colophon page. In the online version the ISSN/ISSN-L should appear on the homepage or on the first page of each article (see e.g. http://www.ethicsandglobalpolitics.net/index.php/egp/article/view/1938 ).
2.5.2 Sign Contracts
In conjunction with publishing your Journal you may find it necessary and useful to sign contracts with different partners and vendors. A contract will ensure that both you and your counterpoint share an understanding of the work to be done and the conditions under which your cooperation shall be regulated.
Who might you sign contracts with?
- Typesetter or other supplier
- Hosting service (e.g. university library)
- Content aggregator (e.g. EBSCO host)
- A partner (e.g. a society adopting the Journal as its official publication)
Contracts should generally include the following points:
- A definition of the parties involved in the contract.
- A specification of who owns the journal.
- The obligations and responsibilities of each partner in relationship to the fulfillment of the contract.
- A specification of the period for which the contract shall apply.
- Under what conditions a contract shall be renewed and under what conditions it can be terminated.
- A specification of any payments, when these are to be made and when and according to what guidelines they shall be regulated.
- Appropriate indemnification clauses.
- Who should – or is legally able – to sign the contract?
- Have you thought carefully through consequences of each of the points in the contract?
- Contracts should include all necessary elements without becoming too long and cumbersome.
- Some vendors, aggregators, etc. have standard contracts that you will be invited to sign.
- Where a contract must be written from scratch, it might be useful to consult a legal consultant (see OTHER RESOURCES for a link to one reasonable international legal consultant).
2.5.3 Register for trademark protection
A registered trademark entitles the owner of the Journal to prevent others from copying or “stealing” the Journal as such and may thus command a very high value, not least if the Journal develops successfully!
A trademark is a type of intellectual property – typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements. A registered trademark confers a bundle of exclusive rights upon the registered owner, including the right to exclusive use of the mark in relation to the products or services for which it is registered. The owner of a registered trademark may commence legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark.
A trademark may be established through registration with the “trademarks registry” of a particular jurisdiction. However, there is a range of international trademark laws and systems which facilitate the protection of trademarks in more than one jurisdiction. International registration may be appropriate for an international Open Access journal. See under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES for detailed information.
Normally, a trademark incurs a fee and must be renewed after a period of time, e.g. 10 years. All registries have their own set of rules and regulations so check all details carefully.
2.5.4 Register to obtain publication certificate
Most countries have a Freedom of the Press Act whereby the media and published material are given statutory protection from authorities (censorship). However, in the Nordic region and in many other countries a certificate of publication is often required for a publication to be encompassed by such an act. In some countries one authority issues certificates for print journals, another for online journals (databases) whether published with regular issues or continuously as the papers become accepted. Each country has its own rules, so it is recommended that you check out your own jurisdiction to determine what applies. Links to the different authorities can be found under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.
2.5.5 Consider governance issues
184.108.40.206 Write bylaws
Though not a necessity, you might wish to establish a set of bylaws. Bylaws offer a set of self-imposed guidelines for how your Journal shall be governed, its basic structure, and under what conditions this structure can be altered. Bylaws are robust and not easily revised. As such, they should be written broadly to allow flexibility where necessary, yet concisely to avoid lack of confusion.
The initiators behind the new Journal will likely be those involved in writing bylaws, possibly together with the editorial and/or publishing team. In the case of a journal to be published by scholar publishers, these groups may well be one and the same.
Bylaws generally define such things as:
- Mission statement/purpose of the Journal
- Ownership of the Journal/legal status
- The governing body (board/committee)
- What shall be regarded as a quorum
- How an Editor-in-chief shall be selected and length of term
- Possibly How the editorial team shall be structured
- Any payments to be made and how these shall be regulated (e.g. to editors)
- Fiscal policies
- Under what conditions the Journal can be dissolved and what shall be done with back issues, etc.
- Under what conditions the bylaws can be amended.
- Bylaws are legal documents and should be well thought through before being adopted.
- You may wish to consult a lawyer or legal professional to review your final draft (see OTHER RESOURCES).
- You may wish to include one or two persons who are not directly involved with the publishing and/or editing of the Journal on the governing board in order to provide an outside opinion.
220.127.116.11 Register/incorporate owners
It is useful to formally identify the owner of the Journal. If the Journal shall be owned by a group of individuals, consider incorporating this group such that it will have the power to act legally. Under some conditions the act of incorporation may be legally necessary, e.g. to handle financial transactions, in the event of copyright breach or inadvertent indemnifying acts, the need to engage legally with sub-contractors, etc.
Because laws and guidelines for registering entities vary from country to country, we are unable to provide specific best practices. However, we can suggest some things to consider. These are:
- What form of incorporation provides the best financial advantage for your group? (e.g. some incorporated entities may be exempt from paying VAT.)
- Does the form of incorporation you are considering require that you use a registered accountant?
- According to the form of incorporation, are the members of the group individually responsible for any indemnification incurred by the Journal?
- Should the journal go bankrupt, or the Journal is unable to make good on payments rendered, are the members of the group legally accountable individually according to the form of incorporation?
- Will the Journal be required to file a tax return with the government under the form of incorporation selected?
- If members of the group are from different countries, are there advantages of registering in one country over another?
Should you choose to incorporate the owner of the Journal, this will then control who can sign contracts and act on behalf of the Journal. Registration of the owner and the more specific consequences resulting from the chosen form of incorporation (e.g. need for a registered accountant) should be included in any bylaws that you generate.