FAQ: change in publisher in 2023

Frequently Asked Questions on the change in publisher of Journal of Applied Microbiology (JAM) and Letters in Applied Microbiology (LAM).

From 1 January 2023, JAM and LAM will be published by Oxford University Press (OUP). Below, Kathryn Spiller, Head of Publishing for SfAM, answers the most pressing questions from our members and provide contact details for anyone who has further questions. 

Why is SfAM changing publishers? 
Carrying out a competitive tender process for the publishing contract for JAM and LAM was identified as a key priority for 2021. SfAM has published its journals with Wiley (and formerly Blackwell) for over 40 years and had never carried out such a process, which is widely considered to be good governance. OUP was the successful publisher, winning the contract with the overwhelming support of SfAM’s Publishing Subcommittee.

Why did SfAM select OUP to publish its journals? 
OUP offered significantly improved financial terms, including SfAM’s first income guarantee. Their data-driven approach inspired confidence in their ability to help SfAM grow its publishing sustainably including a commitment to enable SfAM to launch a new open access journal in 2023 – look out for more news on this soon! It was clear that OUP shares the Society’s values. 80% of OUP’s journals portfolio is society-owned so we can be confident that they understand SfAM’s needs and it is important to them that learned societies thrive.

Will the change in publisher affect the Journals?  
Due to the rapidly changing publishing landscape, SfAM recognises the need to change, develop and adapt the journals portfolio in order to secure its future. Like many other societies, SfAM relies heavily on journal income to achieve its charitable objectives. SfAM appointed its first in-house publishing professional in 2021 to create a publishing strategy that will help develop and grow its portfolio in a sustainable way. SfAM aims to be the first choice for authors working in applied microbiology to publish their work and recognizes there is a lot to do to achieve this goal. The tender process is just the beginning of many exciting changes to come, including a complete rebrand of SfAM journals with a new modern design for the portfolio. The Society will also cease all printing of journals next year to become more sustainable and move towards being a net zero organisation.

Will the change in publisher affect the financial stability of the SfAM? 
OUP offered significantly improved financial terms compared to Wiley and were prepared to guarantee a high percentage of budgeted revenue for the duration of the five-year contract. This provides significant extra revenue and financial security to SfAM.

How will I benefit from the change as an SfAM member? 
As an SfAM member you will retain free access to the content of both online journals. Look out for a communication on how to access the journals on the new site when it launches. There is also an exciting new benefit for members as you will be entitled to a 20% discount on article processing charges to publish an open access article in JAM or LAM. This discount will be available for members once the submission system transfers to OUP in September.

Are SfAM’s other journals moving publisher? What changes are on the horizon for these titles?
Environmental Microbiology (EMI), Environmental Microbiology Reports (EMIR) and Microbial Biotechnology (MBT) are jointly owned by SfAM and Wiley and will therefore be published by Wiley in perpetuity. They will benefit from the same rebrand and strategic development support as SfAM’s wholly owned journals. The big change to announce is that EMIR will be changing to a fully gold open access journal in 2023. Submissions to the journal from mid-August will be for open access publication and therefore subject to an APC. Look out for more announcements soon. Members will continue to get access to EMI online and will be entitled to a 10% discount on APCs in EMIR and MBT

Will there be any interruption to services during the transition? 
SfAM does not anticipate any interruption to services to members and subscribers of the Journals. The transition is well underway and SfAM looks forward to launching the new journals platform in the autumn.

Who can I contact for further information? 
If you have any queries that haven’t been answered here, please contact [email protected]


Kathryn Spiller

Head of Publishing

Society for Applied Microbiology