Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

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Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#1  Postby DanDare » May 02, 2011 3:12 am

In another thread I have been looking for writers of fantasy short stories. I'm exploring how to use my Fraxion Payments system. Here I would like to discuss something close to my heart and one of the main reasons I developed Fraxion Payments. That is building an online, commercial science magazine. Its aim would be to popularise science, provide education in science, highlight working scientists, explain scientific method and reason, and include truly in depth science journalism. Perhaps also create a social network of science fans.

The Fraxion Payments system allows small amounts of money to be charged for unlocking individual articles on word press sites. If you go to our catalogue of articles you will see this in action. You can register an account for free and you get 5 free fraxions when you do, so you can even unlock an article without committing to anything. If you want more fraxions you buy them via PayPal. The minimum number is 100 fraxions for $1.50 USD.

At the end of each month the website owner is paid for sales on that site, less a margin taken by Fraxion Payments ( a sliding scale from 30% down to 15% depending on sales volume). After margin is removed, the money left over can be divided amongst multiple people as royalties on articles.

What I am thinking with the science magazine is to payout all but 5% as royalties to authors, illustrators and editors.

So, for those who are interested here are some things that need to be discussed.

A name.

General structure of the web site.

Editorial policy including comments management.

Publishing cycle. Do we just publish stuff as it comes up or do we have a schedule, such as a "Day in the life of a scientist" article bimonthly and a feature science article every month and a "science snippets" article once a week etc.

Pricing policy. Our short story web sites charge 1 fraxion (about 1 cent USD) per 300 words. Should science stories charge more? Less? Different price depending on category of article?

Royalty policy. For each article who gets how much? Author 75%, Illustrator 15% Responsible editor 5%? Something else? Other recipients (such as web design people perhaps)?

Policy on cross reference links and abstracts and real peer reviewed science papers. Proper citation rules of course.

Advertising on site, none? Hand crafted? Google ads? If there is advertising income who does it go to? Advertising on all pages or some?

I will cover the costs of web hosting and domain name registration, and be general site admin.

What about marketing the site, no cost methods, low cost methods, real advertising?

Another thing to consider is that I am designing, and will eventually implement a "certification" system so that articles may be badged with a verified, non-counterfeittable, icon. So a "heart foundation tick" or an "IEEE standard" badge or, more to the point, an "Online Academy of Science" badge. I need input not on the technology, that's actually easy, but on the rules and management processes. How does an article author apply for a certification? Who do they apply to? Who is authorised to give the badge to the article? Is there a commercial transaction involved?

So, there you have it. Much to discuss. If you want to be involved say so, and say what capacity such as editor, illustrator, page designer, journalist, working scientist etc.

And, just to head off derails, if you think everything on the internet should be free etc. please start a different thread for that discussion thanks.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#2  Postby Mr.Samsa » May 03, 2011 5:47 am

Interesting idea, DanDare - I'm not sure why you haven't received any feedback yet. Do you have any idea of how successful the authors of the short stories have been so far, or is it still a very new site that's trying to take off? If so, then how successful are you hoping for it to be - i.e. do you think the writers will be able to make any real money from contributing or will it likely only be a bit of spare change and a bit of fun?

I think a big problem will be the fact that there are blogs and websites dedicated to similar goals, and these are free, for example: Science 2.0. So the main hurdle is differentiating yourself from these potential competitors and convincing people to use your service - the easiest way to do this is to guarantee quality. If the material presented on the website is no better than some of the blogs at Science 2.0, then that will be a problem. Instead, you'd need to market yourself as a cheaper, more accessible version of "Science" or "American Scientist". Maybe it would be useful to look at how similar ventures have successfully managed to sell something that people will often attempt to get for free - like iTunes.

As for a name, I'm not sure but I'd go for something pretty simple which is likely to get hit by google searches on related topics, so rather than something wacky like "Infophenomotamagoria!", you might be better off going for "Hypothesis" or even something a bit more specific like "Statistical Significance" or whatever. One of the best ways to decide is to figure out exactly what kind of online magazine you want to set up, and the name will come easier - for example, are you looking for opinion pieces on science? Or reviews of recent articles? Or both?

For marketing, you could try to pair up with science fora, and ask them to link to your site if you link back to them. Perhaps you could even try to create your science magazine as an extension of RatSkep, and when LIFE finishes the Front Page that he's working on, the science magazine could be a prominent link or feature of the front page - this way, you're practically guaranteed 3000+ people will see the work inside it and that'll give you a decent kick start (and, in reverse, if the magazine is successfully then it will help the popularity of RatSkep).

I also thought that, if the magazine took off, you could offer your writers a choice between payment styles: 1) they could accept the royalty policy that you've suggested and essentially work on commission, or 2) you could offer them a set fee (like, I don't know $50? Whatever seems reasonable). Obviously this is probably unworkable from the start (as it would require you paying out of your own pocket), but assuming that the magazine starts making some money, offering the authors a set fee like this will mean that some people will take the guaranteed money, leaving any profits from their article going straight to the magazine. Some authors probably wouldn't take this approach, but some would - I know I would, I'd rather have a set price, rather than hoping enough people read my article to make that week of research worthwhile or whatever.

A good way to market this would be to post on student job search sites, or student magazines, looking for science writers (and you could specify level of qualification: bachelors, masters, doctorate, etc), but I know that most people I went to uni with would love a job like this - flexible hours, and basically getting paid doing what you spend all year doing anyway. The advantage of this is that, presumably, some knowledge of the magazine will spread throughout the student body and hopefully increase the readership and profits.

With all that said, if you thought it was going to be a serious venture and there was a chance of making some realistic money from it (i.e. more than just $10 a week), then I'd probably be interested in submitting articles. If there was little chance of making any decent amounts of money, then I'd still be willing to submit articles but it just depends on whether I can spare the time or not.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#3  Postby DanDare » May 04, 2011 8:40 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:Interesting idea, DanDare - I'm not sure why you haven't received any feedback yet. Do you have any idea of how successful the authors of the short stories have been so far, or is it still a very new site that's trying to take off? If so, then how successful are you hoping for it to be - i.e. do you think the writers will be able to make any real money from contributing or will it likely only be a bit of spare change and a bit of fun?

We have only really been running for a couple of months and don't yet have a large presence. There are about 200 readers and some authors have received small payments.

Mr.Samsa wrote:I think a big problem will be the fact that there are blogs and websites dedicated to similar goals, and these are free, for example: Science 2.0. So the main hurdle is differentiating yourself from these potential competitors and convincing people to use your service - the easiest way to do this is to guarantee quality. If the material presented on the website is no better than some of the blogs at Science 2.0, then that will be a problem. Instead, you'd need to market yourself as a cheaper, more accessible version of "Science" or "American Scientist". Maybe it would be useful to look at how similar ventures have successfully managed to sell something that people will often attempt to get for free - like iTunes.

Yep. Also, having some unique content. In the case of stories that is pretty easy. For science its going to be the quality with which different audiences are addressed I believe. Also the ability to start reading at a simple level and learn and dig deeper as time goes by.
As for free stuff there are signs across the web that people are backing away from doing full time, high quality free and looking for an economical way to sustain their contributions.
Mr.Samsa wrote:As for a name, I'm not sure but I'd go for something pretty simple which is likely to get hit by google searches on related topics, so rather than something wacky like "Infophenomotamagoria!", you might be better off going for "Hypothesis" or even something a bit more specific like "Statistical Significance" or whatever. One of the best ways to decide is to figure out exactly what kind of online magazine you want to set up, and the name will come easier - for example, are you looking for opinion pieces on science? Or reviews of recent articles? Or both?

Excellent. I'm hoping to have opinion pieces and reviews both. Also tutorial material and links to the best of the web (I don't want to constrain people to the commercial site, instead have its quality high enough to keep them here voluntarily). Perhaps some political discussions about things like science funding around the world, science in education and so on.
Some other words that might appear in the name: "science" "method" "theory" "physics" "chemistry" "biology" "genius".

Mr.Samsa wrote:For marketing, you could try to pair up with science fora, and ask them to link to your site if you link back to them. Perhaps you could even try to create your science magazine as an extension of RatSkep, and when LIFE finishes the Front Page that he's working on, the science magazine could be a prominent link or feature of the front page - this way, you're practically guaranteed 3000+ people will see the work inside it and that'll give you a decent kick start (and, in reverse, if the magazine is successfully then it will help the popularity of RatSkep).

Oh yeah! Life, you listening? I'll PM you.

Mr.Samsa wrote:I also thought that, if the magazine took off, you could offer your writers a choice between payment styles: 1) they could accept the royalty policy that you've suggested and essentially work on commission, or 2) you could offer them a set fee (like, I don't know $50? Whatever seems reasonable). Obviously this is probably unworkable from the start (as it would require you paying out of your own pocket), but assuming that the magazine starts making some money, offering the authors a set fee like this will mean that some people will take the guaranteed money, leaving any profits from their article going straight to the magazine. Some authors probably wouldn't take this approach, but some would - I know I would, I'd rather have a set price, rather than hoping enough people read my article to make that week of research worthwhile or whatever.

Yes, I would like to offer the set fee for beginner authors. If, after a couple of those, they see the sales go up then I would suggest going for royalties for future pieces. And yes, I couldn't afford it from the start.

One point is that I want to structure this as a for profit enterprise because I think that makes it both sustainable long term and also looks professional to the readers. If the magazine was to make any reasonable income while still paying the bulk to staff and writers then the money should go toward promoting science and funding research.

Mr.Samsa wrote:A good way to market this would be to post on student job search sites, or student magazines, looking for science writers (and you could specify level of qualification: bachelors, masters, doctorate, etc), but I know that most people I went to uni with would love a job like this - flexible hours, and basically getting paid doing what you spend all year doing anyway. The advantage of this is that, presumably, some knowledge of the magazine will spread throughout the student body and hopefully increase the readership and profits.

As it gets started would you be interested taking that task on?
Mr.Samsa wrote:With all that said, if you thought it was going to be a serious venture and there was a chance of making some realistic money from it (i.e. more than just $10 a week), then I'd probably be interested in submitting articles. If there was little chance of making any decent amounts of money, then I'd still be willing to submit articles but it just depends on whether I can spare the time or not.

I envisage eventually having a readership of 10k+ readers paying about 5 to 50 cents an article, depending on its length. It could take over a year to build up that kind of readership though.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#4  Postby MedGen » May 04, 2011 8:04 pm

This seems like a great idea in practise, but, much like Mr Samsa has already commented the issue arises of being able to differentiate your site from a blog, whether it be a single author, or as I've seen more of lately, multi-author blogs.

Bare in mind that the succesfuly print magazines Scientific American and New Scientist have been publishing for decades, this site seems like it would sit between them and the blogosphere, which also seems to be reflected in your proposed pricing. I'd be very wary of essentially creating your own niche like this.

I think, initially at least, you'd be better off having articles written by budding science journalists and science students (high-level undergrads, masters and upwards probably). These would be the people most likely to have the time (as much as PhD students tell you they don't), passion and enthusiasm to carry this forward. As the site progresses (fingers crossed) it may start to attract more experienced scientists as writers. Of course, if there are professional scientists willing to donate their time to writing, then they should also be encouraged, but they would probably be better served as the editors given their experience.

I think that articles written by informed laypersons should also be encouraged, don't get me wrong, but I think the readership should be aware of the authors backgrounds too.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#5  Postby DanDare » May 05, 2011 1:36 am

To start with it will be whoever we can find to write articles and take on roles. We will need to give consideration to reviewing the articles and editing them properly. There are enough quality working scientists on this site alone to provide a reasonable review process.

Absolutely informed laypersons. Writing for a lay audience is a separate skill from writing a science paper and so I would like to build collaborations between authors and scientists. Of course that makes deciding who gets what from article sales a little complex. We could just wing it early on, allow the contributors to suggest how they want the sales divvied up and refine the process over time.

Anyone have some thoughts about the formal publishing cycle question? With print media there is obviously a resource value in coalescing into "issues" that doesn't exist in this case. On the other hand I think there is value for readers in some regularity. There is also value for authors knowing they are writing to a regular deadline. One thing that is very different is that the cycle can have different timings for different parts of the collection. I mentioned in my first post how that might play out.

Additionally select articles can form historical threads, being linked back to by future posts and perhaps special subject overview articles that might be available for free.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#6  Postby Latimeria » May 05, 2011 4:53 am

Marking the thread for later. Carry on!
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#7  Postby DanDare » May 05, 2011 6:31 am

This 1000 word article by P.Z.Myers would be a small article for the science magazine, and a nice entry level to moderate knowledge piece to boot: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011 ... _kidne.php

I would be inclined to post something like that for around 4 to 5 fraxions.

And speaking of P.Z. I'm exploring the idea of creating scientist celebrities, having articles about real working scientists and what their work day is like, their ambitions, their successes and failures and so on.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#8  Postby Mr.Samsa » May 05, 2011 7:47 am

DanDare wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:Interesting idea, DanDare - I'm not sure why you haven't received any feedback yet. Do you have any idea of how successful the authors of the short stories have been so far, or is it still a very new site that's trying to take off? If so, then how successful are you hoping for it to be - i.e. do you think the writers will be able to make any real money from contributing or will it likely only be a bit of spare change and a bit of fun?

We have only really been running for a couple of months and don't yet have a large presence. There are about 200 readers and some authors have received small payments.


That's what I figured - what are your plans for the magazine though? As in, how much would you expect a writer to make? I mean, obviously you'd hope for it to be an international hit and everyone involved will become millionaires, but realistically, what would be your projection be for 6 months, 12 months, 24 months, etc?

DanDare wrote:
Yep. Also, having some unique content. In the case of stories that is pretty easy. For science its going to be the quality with which different audiences are addressed I believe. Also the ability to start reading at a simple level and learn and dig deeper as time goes by.
As for free stuff there are signs across the web that people are backing away from doing full time, high quality free and looking for an economical way to sustain their contributions.


Indeed, there are quite a few quality bloggers who, I imagine, would likely jump ship if a successful online magazine offered them a chance to make money doing what they're already doing. And I liked your idea of free resources and areas on the site which will help attract readers.

DanDare wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:As for a name, I'm not sure but I'd go for something pretty simple which is likely to get hit by google searches on related topics, so rather than something wacky like "Infophenomotamagoria!", you might be better off going for "Hypothesis" or even something a bit more specific like "Statistical Significance" or whatever. One of the best ways to decide is to figure out exactly what kind of online magazine you want to set up, and the name will come easier - for example, are you looking for opinion pieces on science? Or reviews of recent articles? Or both?

Excellent. I'm hoping to have opinion pieces and reviews both. Also tutorial material and links to the best of the web (I don't want to constrain people to the commercial site, instead have its quality high enough to keep them here voluntarily). Perhaps some political discussions about things like science funding around the world, science in education and so on.
Some other words that might appear in the name: "science" "method" "theory" "physics" "chemistry" "biology" "genius".


That sounds good :nod:

And, personally, I'd refrain from using "science" in the title. There are already a number of high quality magazines with a variant of science in the title, like "Science" itself or "American Scientist" etc, and I think this could hamper your ability to climb up the google hits chain. Although I suppose on the other hand, people searching for those magazines might stumble across yours if they have similar titles.. :think:

DanDare wrote:Yes, I would like to offer the set fee for beginner authors. If, after a couple of those, they see the sales go up then I would suggest going for royalties for future pieces. And yes, I couldn't afford it from the start.

One point is that I want to structure this as a for profit enterprise because I think that makes it both sustainable long term and also looks professional to the readers. If the magazine was to make any reasonable income while still paying the bulk to staff and writers then the money should go toward promoting science and funding research.


Nice idea :cheers:

DanDare wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:A good way to market this would be to post on student job search sites, or student magazines, looking for science writers (and you could specify level of qualification: bachelors, masters, doctorate, etc), but I know that most people I went to uni with would love a job like this - flexible hours, and basically getting paid doing what you spend all year doing anyway. The advantage of this is that, presumably, some knowledge of the magazine will spread throughout the student body and hopefully increase the readership and profits.

As it gets started would you be interested taking that task on?


What task would that be? Being an author - definitely. Getting the word out to places - it depends on available time and what exactly you wanted.

DanDare wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:With all that said, if you thought it was going to be a serious venture and there was a chance of making some realistic money from it (i.e. more than just $10 a week), then I'd probably be interested in submitting articles. If there was little chance of making any decent amounts of money, then I'd still be willing to submit articles but it just depends on whether I can spare the time or not.

I envisage eventually having a readership of 10k+ readers paying about 5 to 50 cents an article, depending on its length. It could take over a year to build up that kind of readership though.


Indeed - but market it well enough and you could certainly take a reasonable crack at reaching those numbers within the first year. By hitting the big websites, like RatSkep, RD.net, ScienceForums and JREF, you could easily scrounge up a few thousand readers.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#9  Postby DanDare » May 05, 2011 7:06 pm

Perusing existing online offerings. Here is a quick list:
http://www.publish.csiro.au/
http://www.nature.com/
http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/index.html
http://www.australasianscience.com.au/
http://www.sciencemag.org/
http://www.newscientist.com/
http://www.cell.com/
http://www.thesciencejournal.com/
http://www.livescience.com/

Several have physical counterparts and you can only read the articles with a yearly subscription. I have a lot to say about why the subscription method is unsatisfactory. I'm writing an article about it and will provide a link when its done.

The free stuff seems to generate articles of about 500 words average. That's just not long enough to really get into any topic, just a heads up intro really. Also there are pop sites like http://www.space.com and they have similarly small articles. For our mag I would expect to compile such short "news" items into a single "Monthly Update" or some such. Perhaps with links to more detailed articles. Interestingly a bit of "time travel" is possible here since the detailed articles may get published later and the links added back in the older collection.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#10  Postby DanDare » May 05, 2011 7:30 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
DanDare wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:Interesting idea, DanDare - I'm not sure why you haven't received any feedback yet. Do you have any idea of how successful the authors of the short stories have been so far, or is it still a very new site that's trying to take off? If so, then how successful are you hoping for it to be - i.e. do you think the writers will be able to make any real money from contributing or will it likely only be a bit of spare change and a bit of fun?

We have only really been running for a couple of months and don't yet have a large presence. There are about 200 readers and some authors have received small payments.

That's what I figured - what are your plans for the magazine though? As in, how much would you expect a writer to make? I mean, obviously you'd hope for it to be an international hit and everyone involved will become millionaires, but realistically, what would be your projection be for 6 months, 12 months, 24 months, etc?
DanDare wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:With all that said, if you thought it was going to be a serious venture and there was a chance of making some realistic money from it (i.e. more than just $10 a week), then I'd probably be interested in submitting articles. If there was little chance of making any decent amounts of money, then I'd still be willing to submit articles but it just depends on whether I can spare the time or not.

I envisage eventually having a readership of 10k+ readers paying about 5 to 50 cents an article, depending on its length. It could take over a year to build up that kind of readership though.


Indeed - but market it well enough and you could certainly take a reasonable crack at reaching those numbers within the first year. By hitting the big websites, like RatSkep, RD.net, ScienceForums and JREF, you could easily scrounge up a few thousand readers.


I think these are the one subject so I have stitched them together here.

Rather than chrystal ball gazing lets make a statement of intent.

I estimate a start up phase of 6 months where the first few articles come in and the magazine finds its feet. During that time readers are likely to be interested but not committed. I would hope to grow sales over that period to perhaps 500 unlocks per article. There might be about 1 or 2 articles a week.

The following 6 months the general form of the magazine should be stable and there should be a regular stable of contributors. That is the time to concentrate on marketing the site. The goal would be minimum regular sales of 1,000 unlocks per article. I would push for 3 to 5 articles a week.

The following year there should be a budget for extensive marketing, and the word of mouth network should be running well. That's when we can expect to get the bloggers to start contributing their in-depth articles rather than give them away. During this time the target would then be to grow regular sales to 10,000 unlocks per article. I don't know how many articles a week is sustainable since it depends on what's happening out there but we could get as high as an article a day.

Doing some maths now:
Assume that, after the fraxion payments margin is taken out, there is about 0.85 cents per fraxion.
Assume an average of 10 fraxions per unlock, i.e. 8.5 cents.
Assume on average 80% of that goes to the author and 20% to the magazine and editors etc. That's 6.8 cents per unlock to the author.

So:
500 unlocks = $34.00
1,000 unlocks = $64.00
10,000 unlocks = $640.00

When try to estimate life time income for an article consider the fact that they never go off line, and older articles are likely to be referred to by newer articles.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#11  Postby DanDare » May 05, 2011 7:43 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
DanDare wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:A good way to market this would be to post on student job search sites, or student magazines, looking for science writers (and you could specify level of qualification: bachelors, masters, doctorate, etc), but I know that most people I went to uni with would love a job like this - flexible hours, and basically getting paid doing what you spend all year doing anyway. The advantage of this is that, presumably, some knowledge of the magazine will spread throughout the student body and hopefully increase the readership and profits.

As it gets started would you be interested taking that task on?


What task would that be? Being an author - definitely. Getting the word out to places - it depends on available time and what exactly you wanted.
.

Basically I don't know my way around the university culture. It would be helpful for contributors to get the word out to the networks that they know. When a contributor does not have the time to do the chit chat and posting, or feels she doesn't have the knack of getting people interested then we need people who can take up the task, given a pointer as to what forum to write on and so on. I'm happy to take on such “hand offs” but I would like to build a team that can throw themselves into this at various levels to get the ball rolling.

So, contributors and supporters who are comfortable about engaging their networks to get people to come and read the articles.
Myself and other contributors to take on that task when given entry to those networks.

There should be absolutely no reason to do a hard sell, no “Amway Style” marketing. Just getting the word out to people who are likely to be enthusiastic readers.

This also leads in to the question of advertising. Should we have any? Should we have a free "jobs" section? Maybe free with premium ads highlighted? Always treat universities as free advertisers?
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#12  Postby DanDare » May 05, 2011 8:08 pm

Just posted in General Discussion looking for someone to take on web site layout and look and feel.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#13  Postby DanDare » May 05, 2011 10:25 pm

An interesting article for our purposes at nature, in the news section: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/ ... 0.130.html

It's about 700 words long. The comment criticizing it I think is very valid. To rectify the criticism the article could end up closer to 1000 words. In our magazine that would be ok as a very brief introductory news article for a casual reader, and then there would be more in-depth backing articles for audiences that know more of the actual science.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#14  Postby Latimeria » May 08, 2011 12:01 am

DanDare wrote:Perusing existing online offerings. Here is a quick list:
http://www.publish.csiro.au/
http://www.nature.com/
http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/index.html
http://www.australasianscience.com.au/
http://www.sciencemag.org/
http://www.newscientist.com/
http://www.cell.com/
http://www.thesciencejournal.com/
http://www.livescience.com/

Several have physical counterparts and you can only read the articles with a yearly subscription. I have a lot to say about why the subscription method is unsatisfactory. I'm writing an article about it and will provide a link when its done.

The free stuff seems to generate articles of about 500 words average. That's just not long enough to really get into any topic, just a heads up intro really. Also there are pop sites like http://www.space.com and they have similarly small articles. For our mag I would expect to compile such short "news" items into a single "Monthly Update" or some such. Perhaps with links to more detailed articles. Interestingly a bit of "time travel" is possible here since the detailed articles may get published later and the links added back in the older collection.


Going back to what Samsa said straight from the beginning, I think it would be wise to do an analysis of precisely what is provided by each potential competitor. Make a list of competitors and consider the niche each one fills: target audience, qualifications of authors, what fees are paid by readers, popularity of each, any information you can find about how they achieved/maintained popularity, etc. Anything at all you/we could find out. Having this information neatly organized in front of you would undoubtedly be useful in helping to define your own niche. As long as we are employing this ecological terminology, it's not a bad idea to think of your plans and consider the fundamental niche of your site and predict the realized niche it is likely to maintain before beginning.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#15  Postby Mazille » May 08, 2011 12:04 am

Don't mind me. Just having a watch. :coffee:


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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#16  Postby Latimeria » May 08, 2011 12:36 am

DanDare wrote: If the magazine was to make any reasonable income while still paying the bulk to staff and writers then the money should go toward promoting science and funding research.


We could just wing it early on, allow the contributors to suggest how they want the sales divvied up and refine the process over time.


Random thought:

What would you think about allowing scientists who contribute to choose a particular area of scientific research (or a grant foundation) toward which to direct some profits from their article? In a way, it would be nice if they did not or could not precisely choose their own field, but rather must recognize other pursuits that they deem worthy of funding. Their writing might make a case for their field, but it may come across as too self-interested if the feedback loop from the Fraxions went directly back to their own field. Instead, if many different authors in different areas did this, it could be a complex symbiotic web of scientists supporting other scientists. I think that could be a unique touch that readers might find interesting and worthy of support. Just a small note on the side or bottom of the article would suffice, just so readers take notice.

What do you think?
" [This space is for rent to "which ever version of POOF creates the largest cloud of obnoxious smoke following the POOF."[1] "- God
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[1] - theropod. Parsimony of the Miraculous. RatSkep Peanut Gallery Press, 2011.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#17  Postby Latimeria » May 09, 2011 2:50 am

DanDare wrote:
So, for those who are interested here are some things that need to be discussed.

A name.

A name should be decided after the idea is more fully formed. Focus on what you will provide, and then a good name might come naturally from that. That shouldn't stop any brainstorming, but I wouldn't get committed to a name just yet.


Publishing cycle. Do we just publish stuff as it comes up or do we have a schedule, such as a "Day in the life of a scientist" article bimonthly and a feature science article every month and a "science snippets" article once a week etc.

I really like the "day in the life of a scientist" concept. I don't think it would be too hard to find scientists willing to talk about their work. Are you thinking an interview format? An article written by the scientist? I think a lot of people are never exposed to what scientists actually do... the standard guidance for young people is too often: "You like science? Be a doctor!" That may be perfect for some, but offering a greater awareness of the tremendous variety of careers out there for young people who like science isn't done enough in my opinion.

Advertising on site, none? Hand crafted? Google ads? If there is advertising income who does it go to? Advertising on all pages or some?

If advertising is there, make it the kind of thing which can be easily ignored if the reader is trying to focus on your content. You don't want to make people have to close out ads they don't want to see, and especially when starting up you don't want advertising that is so pervasive it overshadows your own content.

Another thing to consider is that I am designing, and will eventually implement a "certification" system so that articles may be badged with a verified, non-counterfeittable, icon. So a "heart foundation tick" or an "IEEE standard" badge or, more to the point, an "Online Academy of Science" badge. I need input not on the technology, that's actually easy, but on the rules and management processes. How does an article author apply for a certification? Who do they apply to? Who is authorised to give the badge to the article? Is there a commercial transaction involved?


Will you let us know what you find out? :ask: You've piqued my curiosity.
" [This space is for rent to "which ever version of POOF creates the largest cloud of obnoxious smoke following the POOF."[1] "- God
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#18  Postby GenesForLife » May 09, 2011 3:58 am

I would be interested in writing for this magazine. Some of my work is on this blog http://exploreable.wordpress.com (My username is Exploreable)
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#19  Postby DanDare » May 09, 2011 4:13 am

GenesForLife wrote:I would be interested in writing for this magazine. Some of my work is on this blog http://exploreable.wordpress.com (My username is Exploreable)

Your hired :thumbup: Nice web site too. Thanks.
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Re: Building an Online, Commercial, Science Magazine

#20  Postby DanDare » May 09, 2011 4:15 am

Looking through print science magazines at the newsagent. I discovered they cost the reader about 1c (USD) per 75 words. I think that 1 Fraxion per 200 words should give reasonable value to the magazine readers.
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