Many small open access journals / publishers do not charge APCs

This chart illustrates the difference in skew between DOAJ charges that had charges or no charges in May 2014, as explained in the blogpost text.As we recently reported in MDPI’s Publications, our sample of DOAJ journals charging APCs showed a skew in size of publisher with journals in this category. Most journals were published either by publishers with 50+ journals using APCs, or 1- 9 journals using APCs, with not much in the middle. To prepare for our next study we are drawing a small sample of the much larger set of DOAJ journals with “no charges”. In preparing for this stratified / random sample we stumbled upon a different skew for this set of journals, that is, a very large skew towards the very small journals but no skew towards larger publishers. The chart above illustrates this difference in skew. To express this in plain language, what we are seeing here is a very large number of open access journals with no article processing charges (5,669 journals or 88% of no-charges journals) published by publishers with less than 10 journals in this category. The relatively small percentage of journals that do not fit in this category are spread somewhat evenly between the other size ranges.

Open Access Article Processing Charges: DOAJ Survey May 2014

The article reporting the results of our May 2014 survey of DOAJ journals using open access article processing charges is now available in MPDI’s Publications. The abstract and citation details are below. To download the data behind the study, go to the dataverse.

Abstract: As of May 2014, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed close to ten thousand fully open access, peer reviewed, scholarly journals. Most of these journals do not charge article processing charges (APCs). This article reports the results of a survey of the 2567 journals, or 26% of journals listed in DOAJ, that do have APCs based on a sample of 1432 of these journals. Results indicate a volatile sector that would make future APCs difficult to predict for budgeting purposes. DOAJ and publisher title lists often did not closely match. A number of journals were found on examination not to have APCs. A wide range of publication costs was found for every publisher type. The average (mean) APC of $964 contrasts with a mode of $0. At least 61% of publishers using APCs are commercial in nature, while many publishers are of unknown types. The vast majority of journals charging APCs (80%) were found to offer one or more variations on pricing, such as discounts for authors from mid to low income countries, differential pricing based on article type, institutional or society membership, and/or optional charges for extras such as English language editing services or fast track of articles. The complexity and volatility of this publishing landscape is discussed.

Citation: Morrison, H.; Salhab, J.; Calvé-Genest, A.; Horava, T. Open Access Article Processing Charges: DOAJ Survey May 2014. Publications 2015, 3, 1-16.

Closing Open Medicine: why we need to work at Sustaining the Knowledge Commons

A sad moment for open access: the closing of Open Medicine. Kendall, Maskalyk & Papelu’s final editorial provides a good explanation of the resources that we need to support scholar-led open access publishing: active participation in the form of academic editing, and financial support for the work involved in running a journal. This illustrates why we need to work towards sustaining the knowledge commons.

Copernicus Publications: when length of articles and choice of templates matter

Copernicus Open Access publishing requires the author or a supporting institution to pay the Article Page Processing Charges (APPC). These cover the cost of the review process, typesetting, web publication and long term archiving, upon publication. Copernicus also gives the author the choice of customization, using a complex system for calculating its APPCs based on the number of pages published and the format of the material submitted. As Copernicus puts it, “authors can directly influence the price of the publication.”
Accordingly, what makes the financing models at Copernicus variant and flexible are charges that are based on article length and sources files (Word/LaTeX). For example, publishing a 10 page article (without calculating the additional tax) in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics could vary from €792 when using the publisher’s LaTeX template, to €1122 when using a different LaTeX template. Another option might be to use the publisher’s Word template and pay €957, or else pay €1287 when using another Word template. Surely, there is always the author’s choice between the publisher’s LaTeX and Word templates; i.e. between paying €792 or €957 respectively. Of course, fewer pages would cost the author even less.
In addition, Copernicus Publications provides several agreements where settlement of payments can be done directly between the publisher and the respective institution, given that members of those institutions opt to use Copernicus’s templates. For example, members of ETH Zurich, do not pay any publication fees for any of Copernicus’s journals if they use their LaTex or Word template. However, if an author does not use one of these templates, Copernicus will charge the difference to the author.
As to authors who lack financial support, Copernicus waivers policy provides another way to lower the price as they can benefit from the budget of free pages which is assigned by the chief editor of each journal.

Open access article processing charges: DOAJ survey May 2014

To celebrate open access week 2014, the Sustaining the Knowledge Commons team is posting an early preprint of the Open access article processing charges: DOAJ survey May 2014 )  for open commenting:

Please post your comments (or reviews?) on the article as comments to this post. The commenting period is open until November 3rd. If anyone would like to comment but prefers more time please let us know.

Data is posted as open data in the OA APC dataverse:

Happy Open Access Week! Heather, Jihane, Alexis & Tony.

Most DOAJ journals using article processing fees charge under $1,000 US

This data from the May 2014 census of DOAJ journals identified as using the open access article processing fee method may be of interest. In brief: the majority (68%) of fully gold OA journals in this sample charge less than $1,000 USD. Only about 1% charge more than $3,000.

Of the minority of journals included in DOAJ at that time identified as using the OA APC approach (approximately 26% of journals in DOAJ) which were confirmed through sampling to be using APCs, a majority of journals charge less than $1,000 USD.

As these charts illustrate, 68% of journals sampled (adjusted for sampling factor, e.g. if one out of five titles by a publisher or in a particular publisher size range was sampled, the results were multiplied by 5) had APCs in the 0 – $999 USD range. Only 1 journal (10 adjusted for sampling factor) was over $4,000. Only 5 journals (18 adjusted for sampling) were over $3,000. That’s a combined total of less than 1% of the total in this price range.

Details forthcoming.

freq by price range 2freq by price range 1 corrected

Updated October 20, 2014: date correction – original post and charts showed May 2015, corrected to May 2014. hm

Update October 14, 2014: the pie chart was updated as the colour scheme in the original was misleading – the colours for low price range were identified as high price range and vice versa. hm