The scientific publishing process has during the past few years undergone considerable changes, due to the possibilities offered by the Internet for fast delivery and inter-linking of publications which refer to each other. The socio-economic structures have, however, not changed much, and many academics and librarians view the current situation as sub-optimaland highly unsatisfactory. This has triggered a number of initiatives to set up e-print repositories and electronic peer reviewed journals, which usually offer the full text for free on the web. The label Open Access is gaining popularity for describing such efforts, in line with the Open Source term used in the software development community. Despite the obvious advantages it offers, Open Access hasn’t become as widespread as expected, and there is a need for both successful demonstrator projectsand serious research studying the way the scholarly communication system is affected by the Internet. As a part of the EU funded SciX project the cost implications of different publishing models are being studied. A basis for the cost studies is the formal process model of the scientific publishing process, which is presented in this paper. The model has been developedusing the IDEF0 modelling method, a method which allows the breaking up of a process into its parts connected by output and input arrows. The Scientific Publication Life-Cycle Model models the life cycle of the single publication, in particular the refereed journal article, from the research leading to it and writing it into it being read by other researchers years later or used as an impulse for practical implementation. The paper presents the 22 hierarchical diagrams of the model including 64separate activities. Conclusions are drawn about the usefulness of the modelling methodology for this particular purpose as well as of future use of the model itself. In addition to providing a basis for cost studies the model could function as a road map for different types of Open Access initiatives.