Hosting e-journals on an institutional repository is a great way to support open access publishing, student-run journals, and even subscription-based journals. As part of this service, a library might simply provide the journal with access to a journal-hosting system, along with advice and support. Other libraries might offer enhanced design services and support journal blogs and wikis. Whether the operation is basic or full-service, it’s a good idea to clarify the relationship between the library and journal with an agreement that specifies who is responsible for what. Libraries often do this via a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the library and the journal’s publisher or sponsor. While there is no one-size-fits all MOU, there are some freely available samples that can get you started.
Revise, don’t reinvent, the MOU
When asked to draft some MOUs as part of my scholarly communications internship at Florida State University, I started with the sample MOUs available in the Digital Commons Collaboratory. I read through all of them to get a feel for the scope of these types of agreements and identified key terms that the library might want to include for its different journal-hosting arrangements. The university has three journals that are published on DigiNole Commons using the bepress web-hosting system and a fourth journal that is published using Florida Open Journal System (OJS) software.
If your library uses bepress, take full advantage of the samples on the Collaboratory. Also consider these sample MOUs freely available on the Internet:
- University of Florida Memorandum of Understanding, Open Access E-Journal Hosting-Publishing, available in this LibGuide
- Indiana University Generic MOU: E-Journal Hosting-Publishing
- University at Buffalo Libraries MOU: E-Journal Hosting/Publishing
- University of South Florida Open Access E-Journal Hosting Agreement
Some libraries may also offer fee-based publishing services. For example, the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) of Columbia University Libraries/Information Services offers free or fee-based tiers of service to journals. Examples of CDRS “Master Service Agreements” for a Basic Level of Support and a fee-based Extended Level of Support are available on the CDRS website.