JAFSCD Community-Supported Journal Shareholder Consortium FAQs

Why did JAFSCD want to become open access (OA)?

What is meant by “community-supported journal"?

What is a JAFSCD (Open Access) Share?

What is the Shareholder Form?

What are the benefits of becoming a shareholder?

Your share benefits the food movement

When did JAFSCD become open access?

Will all JAFSCD content be open access in this model?

How can we make the payment?

Are there any shareholder organizations exempt from purchasing a share?

When can we create a listing in the Sustainable Food System Sourcebook?

What is meant by “being a shareholder” of JAFSCD?

Can individuals be shareholders?

Is JAFSCD really the world’s first “community supported journal”?

Isn’t there potential for conflicts of interest in the CSJ arrangement?

Can libraries continue to subscribe?

What is the JAFSCD Shareholder Consortium?

Do we purchase shares annually?

Can we purchase multiyear shares at a discount?

Can we make special payment arrangements?

Can a private, for-profit company purchase a share?

How is JAFSCD currently funded?

Who are JAFSCD partner institutions?

How does copyright work in an open access journal?

Are shareholders permitted to submit an article to JAFSCD?

What are JAFSCD's Author Publication Charges (APCs)?

What is the Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook?

Can my organization or company be in the Sourcebook without being a shareholder?

Can multiple units within a single institution purchase a share together?

Can multiple organizations within a single state purchase a share together?


Why did JAFSCD want to become open access (OA)?

After more than a year of study, JAFSCD’s editors, advisors, and partners decided that making the journal free to its readers removes a major barrier between the researchers supplying practical information and the practitioners and communities that can benefit from their work.

What is meant by “community-supported journal"?

Borrowing from the concept and principles of community supported agriculture (CSA), JAFSCD’s shareholders make an annual financial commitment so that it can be subscription-free, thus maximizing the distribution and impact of its research-based content in the good food movement.

What is a JAFSCD Open Access Share?

We are borrowing from a model familiar in local food systems—community supported agriculture. An Open Access (OA) Share is an annual financial contribution so that JAFSCD’s content is available for free to all, worldwide. This benefits authors since their research gets the broadest distribution of their work, and benefits practitioners and communities since they can read the most accessible applied research on food systems available. Your share helps us pay for staff (who do manage the peer-review process, proofing, formatting and publishing), our websites, our outreach to authors of color and disadvantaged communities, and things like press release distribution for each article and altmetrics to measure our impact.

What is the Shareholder Form?

The JAFSCD Open Access Community Supported Journal Shareholder Form is an online form that must be filled out to become a shareholder.

What are the benefits of becoming a Shareholder?

Direct benefits to Open Access Shareholders

In addition to benefiting the food movement, we offer the following financial and promotional benefits to our OA Shareholders:

    1. Free premium listing in the Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook ($375 value), an online directory of academic programs, nonprofit groups, funders, and other resources related to food systems. The Sourcebook will increase the visibility of your program among students and practitioners — and you can update your listing throughout the year.
    2. Article Publishing Charge is waived: The JAFSCD APC of $500 is waived for all authors affiliated with the shareholding program, including all faculty, staff, and students of the host institution.
    3. Free advertising. Shareholders can advertise for free on the JAFSCD website, including promoting a publication, book, job opening, or technology.
    4. We are using the Creative Commons copyright CC BY-NC-ND. This license helps maximize JAFSCD content distribution by allowing readers to download our authors' work and share it with others as long as they credit the author and cite the source, but don't change the published work in any way or use it commercially.
    5. Shareholder acknowledgment on each issue's tables of contents (both online and in PDF) and throughout the JAFSCD website.
    6. Membership in our Community Supported Journal Shareholder Consortium, a group of shareholders who complete an annual survey on the content, and impact of JAFSCD; the editorial staff may also solicit input from the Consortium on editorial policy topics for special issues.
    7. Contributing an annual commentary published in JAFSCD on food systems development research, policy, or practice (one per consortium shareholder).

Your share benefits the good food movement

Purchasing an OA Share not only increases the discoverability and use of JAFSCD content, but also supports a number of innovative programs that only JAFSCD offers to scholars and practitioners in the food movement, including:

• Supporting the good food movement and reaching communities of need with research-based information.

• Developing an author mentor program for nonacademic authors to maximize their chances of having a paper accepted for publication.

• Expanding our JAFSCD Food Systems Research, Policy, and Practice Briefs series (two-page summaries of papers that provide a quick read for busy food systems professionals and policy-makers).

• Creating an outreach and impact program, including a system to send press releases to 10,000 media outlets.

• Supporting our open access publishing platform hosted by the Public Knowledge Project, which increases JAFSCD discoverability through Google Scholar and other often-searched sources.

• Purchasing an annual subscription to Altmetric to measure JAFSCD's reach via social media such as tweets, blogs, mentions, downloads, etc.

• Expanding our Consulting Editor Program that assists non-native English speaking authors.

• Creating a free index of open access research papers on food systems to aid practitioners in finding research-based material to support their work or funding proposals.

• Conducting an annual survey of our authors and nonprofit stakeholders to gather stories on how JAFSCD is assisting in their work.

• Supporting the long-term preservation of JAFSCD content through LOCKSS.

When did JAFSCD become Open Access?

We became open access on January 1, 2018.

Will all of JAFSCD content be open access in the community supported journal model?

Yes. All content from our first issue in 2010 will become open access.

How can we make the payment?

You will be invoiced and can pay via the most convenient method for your institution, or pay online via PayPal using a PayPal account or a Visa or Mastercard.

Are there any shareholder organizations exempt from purchasing a share?

Yes. Any academic, research, or outreach programs affiliated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal colleges and universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions are welcome to become members of the Shareholder Consortium without payment. However, they still need to complete the shareholder agreement. Other programs specifically serving under-resourced communities will be reviewed on a case-by-base basis.

When can we create a listing in the Sustainable Food System Sourcebook?

Once your program or organization purchases a share, you will be given instructions and a code for either adding a new listing in the Sourcebook or claiming a listing that we’ve already created.

What is meant by “being a shareholder” of JAFSCD?

A JAFSCD shareholder can be any program, department, research unit, nonprofit group, agency, or foundation, or group/network thereof, that purchases a share and becomes a member of the JAFSCD Shareholder Consortium. Shareholders support the journal and receive a wide range of benefits. See also “What are the benefits of becoming a Shareholder?

Can individuals be shareholders?

Yes! We welcome individual shares, which are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Recommended share amounts are $45 (for faculty, corporate employees, and consultants), $35 (for Extension, nonprofit, or agency staff), or $25 (for students, farmers, activists, and others). Shares in any amount are welcome, though.

Is JAFSCD really the world’s first “community-supported journal”?

Yes. As far as we know — based on careful online research — there is no other journal financial model called a "community-supported journal." There are journals that have multiple sponsors, but this is typically a small number. While one might argue that a subscription system is also a form of community support (from stakeholding libraries), in a subscription system libraries are purchasing content solely to provide access to their academic community, not altruistically for the greater benefit of the entire good food movement — as JAFSCD shareholders are.

Isn’t there potential for conflicts of interest in the community-supported journal arrangement?

Yes, but we have provisions in place to minimize conflicts of interest:

  • JAFSCD uses a double-blind peer review process, in which neither the author(s) nor reviewers are revealed to each other.
  • Conflicts of interest statements are required from authors.
  • Reviewers are required to inform the journal editors if they have identified the author(s).
  • Shareholders must sign a share agreement that they understand they receive no special treatment or other advantages in the review of their submissions.
  • Private for-profit enterprises purchasing shares are carefully evaluated to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

Can libraries continue to subscribe to JAFSCD?

Yes, we call this a “Library Share.” Any library that continues to support JAFSCD with a payment in lieu of a subscription receives special acknowledgment as a “JAFSCD Library Shareholder.” See the current list of Library Shareholders at the JAFSCD website.

However, if a university or college academic, research, or extension/outreach program becomes a shareholder and its library is also a shareholder, we will deduct the amount of its subscription from the pledge amount due. (You can reach out to your e-journals librarian to inquire about this. Some libraries have funding to support open access journals. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.)

What is the JAFSCD Shareholder Consortium?

This is more than a collective term for JAFSCD shareholding member programs and institutions. A representative of each shareholder joins the Consortium, which contributes feedback on themes for special topic calls, gives input on new JAFSCD programs, and participates in an annual impact survey.

Do we purchase shares annually?

Yes. This is an ongoing commitment on both our part and yours, to be renewed annually.

Can we purchase multiyear shares at a discount?

Yes. You may indicate this on the Shareholder Form.

Can we make special payment arrangements?

Yes. Payments can be spread out over the year. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about making these arrangements.

Can a private, for-profit company purchase a share?

Private businesses can become shareholders, but they cannot join the Consortium. We vet companies carefully to ensure there’s no potential conflict of interest. Only progressive companies that have a track record of protecting worker rights and the environment will be considered. Private businesses can also support JAFSCD by advertising on the JAFSCD website. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if your company is interested in supporting JAFSCD.

How is JAFSCD currently funded?

JAFSCD has been funded since its launch in 2010 through a combination of individual subscriptions, institutional licenses, and annual funding from four partner institutions. It is important to note that many hours are contributed in kind by JAFSCD staff, reviewers, and advisors.

Who are JAFSCD partner institutions?

JAFSCD has four partners, who make substantial contributions annually in support of JAFSCD:

  • University of Vermont’s Food Systems Initiative
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (British Columbia)
  • Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
  • North Carolina State Extension and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (who share a partnership slot)

How does copyright work in an Open Access Journal?

JAFSCD is using a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license for all content going forward. The CC license grants “baseline rights,” such as the right to distribute the copyrighted work worldwide for noncommercial purposes and without modification.

Are shareholders permitted to submit an article to JAFSCD?

Yes; see the response to “Isn’t there potential for conflicts of interest in the community-supported journal arrangement?

What are Author Publication Charges (APCs)?

Article Publishing Charges ($500) cover the cost of managing the reviewing, proof-reading, copy-editing, formatting, and marketing of articles. APCs are waived for authors affiliated with a shareholding organization.

What is the Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook?

It’s one of the perks of becoming a JAFSCD Shareholder. The Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook is a free database of degree programs, scholarships, funding, conferences, and other education and training resources for professionals and students focused on food systems work. All Shareholders may have an listing in the Sourcebook to promote their programs; it can be edited throughout the year.

Can my organization or company be in the Sourcebook without being a Shareholder?

Yes. Listing packages start at $250 per year. Details are here.

Can multiple units within a single institution purchase a share together?

Yes. We encourage multiple programs from a single institution to collaborate on their share and in the promotion of their Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook listing.

Can multiple organizations within a single state purchase a share together?

Yes. We encourage multiple programs from a single state to collaborate on their share and in the promotion of their Sustainable Food Systems Sourcebook listing.

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