This paper details the lessons learned in the process of setting up a new open access (OA) journal from scratch. The Journal of the European Honors Council (JEHC) was started in 2016, published its first issue in 2017, and is currently publishing its fifth issue. The development of JEHC is described in four phases: lead-up to the first idea (2015-2016), from first idea to first issue (2016-2017), professionalization (2017-2018), and increasing impact (2018-). Ten lessons learnt are detailed: (1) do a realistic needs assessment; (2) involve committed people with skills, passion, and time; (3) provide a low-barrier publication option; (4) identify and pick ‘low-hanging fruit’; (5) get your basics organized; (6) invest time in technical knowledge; (7) professionalize in phases; (8) be transparent, open, and personal; (9) try to avoid monetary transactions as much as possible; and (10) printing can help. The main piece of advice to others wishing to start an OA journal is: inform yourself well before you start, but do not be afraid to learn along the way.
- open access publishing