Chicago Startup Scholastica Disrupts Academic Publishing
CHICAGO, June 19, 2012 -- Scholastica, a publishing platform for scholarly journals, gives power back to the academic community by allowing new and existing journals to manage article submissions and publish their Open Access (OA) content without the need for expensive contracts with large academic publishing companies.
The cloud-based software service, created by graduate students from the University of Chicago, lowers the barriers to entry for creating a scholarly journal by giving academics across disciplines all the infrastructure they need to manage and publish a journal, from accepting publications to managing the peer review process to making decisions to publishing their content online.
Tim Gowers, Cambridge mathematician and Fields Medal winner as well as chief instigator of the Cost of Knowledge boycott against the academic publishing giant Elsevier, remarked about Scholastica on his blog, "…what one can say now, with confidence, is that there is a web tool out there [Scholastica] that makes the mechanics of starting up a new (but secretly not so new) journal almost trivial."
"Journals of all sizes, and in all disciplines, should have access to top-notch software without needing to sign expensive contracts with the huge corporate publishers," says Co-Founder and Lead Designer of Scholastica, Rob Walsh. "Right now, most software to manage and publish a journal is expensive and aimed only at a few specific fields – and Scholastica changes all of that." Scholastica's pricing model scales by number of submissions, so large journals and small journals get the same great features and pay according to their submission volume.
"Our mission is to put control over scholarly publishing back in the hands of scholars, rather than the large corporate publishers. Whether your journal is single blind, double blind, or even triple blind, Scholastica works for you." says Co-Founder and CEO, Brian Cody, commenting on the variety of journal configuration options available that allow journals in the social sciences, humanities, law reviews, and natural sciences to use Scholastica.
"It's absurd to have scholars who are focused on research trying to install complicated software on their own servers" says Cory Schires, Co-Founder and Lead Developer of the company. "With Scholastica, it only takes two minutes to start managing a journal and have all the tools you need to get your publication off the ground."
Scholastica is more than just a publishing platform, it's also a community of scholars. In a section of the site called The Conversation, academics the world over are encouraged to ask and answer questions, which can be ranked by other members for reputation points. People with higher reputations come up earlier when journals search for expert reviewers. "With Scholastica, we obviously wanted to give scholars the power to distribute knowledge, instead of these monolithic publishing companies," says Co-Founder and Designer Rob Walsh, "but we also wanted the place where ideas are published to be the same place knowledge is discussed – more mirroring the academic ideal."
A number of prestigious journals are using Scholastica, and the founders expect more to join soon. "Our clients are telling us that we've got the best user experience they've ever seen, and we're adding new features all the time," says Walsh. "If you have an existing journal or are considering starting a new one, the world is your oyster right now. No more clunky archaic software, no more expensive contracts, no more wasted time – with Scholastica, you can get back to what's important: finding and publishing the best scholarship out there."