Elsevier as an open access publisher

Just published:

Morrison, H. (2017). From the field: Elsevier as an open access publisher. The Charleston Advisor 18:3, pp. 53-59 doi https://doi.org/10.5260/chara.18.3.53

Abstract:

Highlights of this broad-brush case study of Elsevier’s Open Access (OA) journals as of 2016: Elsevier offers 511 fully OA journals and 2,149 hybrids. Most fully OA journals do not charge article processing charges (APCs). APCs of fully OA journals average $660 US ($1,731 excluding no-fee journals); hybrid OA averages $2,500. A practice termed author nominal copyright is observed, where copyright is in the name of the author although the author contract is essentially a copyright transfer. The prospects for a full Elsevier flip to OA via APC payments for articles going forward are considered and found to be problematic.

Save the date! April 1, 2017 all-day open access workshop at University of Ottawa

On Saturday, April 1, 2017, Sustaining the Knowledge Commons is co-sponsoring an all-day open access workshop at the University of Ottawa. The workshop, part of a new master’s-level special topics course on open access, ISI 6300, will be designed to facilitate conversation on emerging topics in open access and related areas, and will feature local and visiting scholars engaged in various open access initiatives and research in addition to student presentations. Presentations will be in French or English and discussion welcome in either language. Registration will be free but required.

Confirmed speakers to date:

Inma Aleixos Borrás. Visiting Scholar. Tentative topic. “European Commission policies on (research) Open Data”. Website: www.inmaaleixos.com

Victoria Volkanova. Visiting Librarian « Les pratiques de publication des chercheurs en milieu francophone minoritaire à l’ère numérique » (see the SKC About the Team page for bio info).

Susan Spronk. University of Ottawa – Faculty of Social Sciences & Editor, Studies in Political Economy.

Kyle Conway & Bill Crahere: The Digital Press @ University of North Dakota

Mary Francoli hhttps://carleton.ca/sjc/profile/francoli-mary/ Open government

Sponsors

École des Sciences de l’Information | School of Information Studies http://arts.uottawa.ca/sis/

The Association des étudiants en sciences de l’information / Information Studies Student Association (AÉSISSA) http://arts.uottawa.ca/sis/student-experience/student-association

University of Ottawa Digital Humanities | Université d’Ottawa Sciences Humaines Numériques http://www.uottawa.ca/academic/info/regist/calendars/programs/1731.html

Sustaining the Knowledge Commons | Soutenir les Savoirs Communs (SKC): sustainingknowledgecommons.org

Watch for further details as planning unfolds early in 2017.

The workshop is part of a special topics class on open access, ISI 6300. An early draft of the course outline is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5n66wofwO7ackhZaE9aaXo3d3M/view

Oxford Open: Increased the Number of Open Access Journal

Oxford Open wants to distribute journals of high-quality research but to be able to publish the journal in the open access model. They do charge article processing fees for most of their journals. Oxford Open also has journals that the author can choose the open access option (hybrid journals), but for the purpose of our research, we only use the journal that is available fully in open access.

By collecting the information about the open-access journals I noticed that only 14 of their journals don’t have any processing charge and some of them don’t have them, but only for 2016.

 

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On their website I was able to collect 35 journal titles, the DOAJ only has 16. They seem to aim for more journals that will be available without fees for the user.

 

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In 2015 they had 11 journals and we sampled 5 of them. Only two have increased their price and the other three journals the price remained the same. The Journal DNA Research has increased the most of their processing fees in 2016. It has risen by 50%. However, the Nucleic Acids Research  has a rise they processing fees from 1400 GBP in 2015 to 1420 GBP in 2016.

 

Libertas Academica: follow-up

by Widlyne Brutus and Victoria Volkanova

Highlights

We recently reviewed the APCs of the publisher Libertas Academica for the year 2016 and found a mostly steady pricing compared with the year 2015. The fees are now listed in USD and GBP only, the latter replacing both Euro and Japanese Yen which were used in the previous years for authors from outside of North America. We also have noted the tendency to standardized pricing for the majority of the OA journals: US$1,848 / 1,399 GBP for the journals that are included in PubMed Central (PMC), and US$1,699 /1,299 GBP for the journals that are not included in PMC.

Details

According to its website, Libertas Academica (LA) publishes 83 international, peer-reviewed scientific, technical and medical journals.  Most of the LA journals are open access with the exception of the Clinical Medicine Reviews series that operates under the traditional subscription or pay-per-view model (http://www.la-press.com/about_us.php).

Last year we reviewed the APCs (or APFs, as they call it) of this publisher and found out the overall increases in all currencies (USD, Euros and Japanese Yen) that were much greater than the normal inflation rate warranted. In the comments to the original post, Tom Hill from Libertas Academica provided some explanation for the price increases, more specifically the addition of many journals to PubMed Central (i.e. XML creation, image quality requirements and additional quality control) and the depreciation of the Euro and the Yen, which were the two currencies used for authors from outside of North America. He also pointed out the ongoing possibility of fee waivers and discounts for authors.

Recently we revisited Libertas Academica’s website and compared their 2016 APCs with the previous years. First of all, we’ve noted one significant change in the currencies used: as of 2016, the authors from North America pay APCs in USD, whereas the authors from the rest of the world pay in GBP. We couldn’t find any explanation as to the reasons for which the publisher dropped both the Euro and the Japanese Yen in favour of the British Pound. Some of the possible reasons are the location of the company’s key external service providers in the United Kingdom (as well as in India and in New York, USA); generous UK APCs funding (RCUK, Wellcome Trust), or else the relative stability of this particular currency.

On a side note, the institutional membership fees are charged in USD only and go from US$3,300 to US$13,500, entitling the member institutions for an APC discount varying from 5% to 25%. So far, only one institution has subscribed to this option.

Another observation is the unified APCs for the journals that are being included in PubMed Central: US$1,848 and 1,399 GBP respectively. The fee in USD has remained stable for most journals. However, depending on the exchange rate between GBP and Euro (fluctuations ranging from 1.1054 to 1.4286 – GBP to Euro – in the past year, according to the Bank of England), the new price represents either a slight decrease (0.91% at the low point) or an increase of 1.17% at the high point.

For most journals that are not being included in PubMed Central, the APCs have been standardized at US$1,699 /1,299 GBP, which once again ranges from staying the same as in the year 2015 (for the APCs in USD and in some cases for the rest of the world) to an average increase of 1.47% (min being 1.28 % and max being 1.66%) for the other currencies.

However, there are a few exceptions to the standardized APCs (PMC- included or not): the journals Gene Expression to Genetical Genomics, Genomics Insights, and International Journal of Insect Science saw an increase of 1.59% in their 2016 APCs payable in GBP (1,399). Out of the three journals, Gene Expression to Genetical Genomics is not currently included in PMC.

As to the APCs stated previously in the Japanese Yen, the recent switch to the GBP had practically no impact: the charges fluctuated slightly between 0.916 % and 1.104 % compared to the previous year.

According to the LA’s website, the journals Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research, Infectious Diseases: Research and Treatment, Palliative Care: Research and Treatment, and Virology: Research and Treatment are included in PMC, however, these titles do not appear on the PMC list as of November 1st, 2016 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals).

Hikari- favor some disciplines?

Hikari is a publisher of journals in science, technology and medicine founded in 2005. They used to be in the DOAJ 2015, but in 2016 the publisher isn’t mentioned in the directory. The publisher didn’t change the amount of their OA APC. The majority of the journals still charge processing fees but they no longer charge publication fees in the fields of medicine and economics. This means that of their 20 journals, 4 of them no longer have publication fees. 25 percent of their journals have no publication fees. The journals that still have publication fees charge 200 EUR per page up to 8 pages and an extra 25 EUR per pages for the additional pages.

Medknow 2016: it’s complicated!

by Widlyne Brutus and Heather Morrison

Highlights

Medknow is an emerging commercial scholarly journal publisher based in the developing world (India) that is owned by one of the oldest and most traditional western-based commercial publishers, Wolters Kluwer, that publishes in partnership with many long-standing traditional society and university journals. Even though the publisher is for-profit by nature, the majority of journals do not charge APCs. Of the journals that do charge APCs, most have not changed price between 2015 and 2016; some journals are adding or dropping APCs, and a few have lowered their APC. However, we identified 16 journals that did raise APCs from 2015 to 2016, in some cases by substantial amounts (over 50%, some even doubling or tripling in price).

medknow-partnershipsmedknow-apc-split

Details

Medknow is a commercial publisher of peer-review medical journals that originated in India. This publisher has partnerships with many associations, societies and universities and its publications include many long-standing not-for-profit journals. Of the 141 journals published by Medknow, more than half (83 journals) are published in partnership with universities and learned societies.

A traditional commercial scholarly publisher, with a history dating back to 1836, Wolters Kluwer, acquired Medknow in 2011. The reason for mentioning this is as one example of how the distinction between traditional and open access publishers may not be as relevant today as it used to be.

The partnership with the not-for-profit societies and universities likely explains why less than half of Medknow journals (70 journals) charge an APC as of 2016 (an increase from 61 journals with APCs in 2015).

In 2016, there are 26 journals that clearly state that there is no processing charge, down from 28 journals in 2015. It is not always clear whether there is an APC or not. In 2016 we note 38 journals with no cost found (meaning we did not find either an APC or clear language stating that there is no APC), down slightly from 41 in 2015.

There 28 publication in 2015 that have no publication fees and in 2016 26 publication have no processing charge.

Widlyne compared the averages of the article processing charge for the year of 2015 and 2016.

The average in 2015 was $285 and in 2016, $173 in US dollar. While the price seems to have decreased, this likely reflects currency fluctuations as the primary currency for a large portion of the journals is not USD, for example Indian rupees as the primary currency is very common. So this information should not be taking as a proof of the decrease of APC.

Comparing prices on a journal-by-journal basis, most of the prices did not change (31 journals had exactly the same price). Four journals lowered their APC and two no longer charge APC’s.

16 journals have increased their APCs, this table show which journal have increase their APC’s, the amount for 2015 and 2016 and the percentage of increase.

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As you can see most of these journals have increase their APC considerably; at least 8 journals increased their price by more than half. Some journals even doubled or tripled their prices

 

Inside e-life: what it costs to publish

Update September 6: Kent Anderson has published a critique of e-life’s annual report on the Scholarly Kitchen blog (published by the Society for Scholarly Publishing). Thanks to Danny Kingsley on the Global Open Access List.

Thanks to Emily Packer, e-life Press Office, via the SSP list for the following, and to e-life for their transparency. As a bit of context, e-life is a new journal aiming to compete with the most prestigious scholarly journals. Their costs are quite a bit higher than the average APC, reflecting a number of factors, including paying editors and significant staff costs, and the costs of developing their own technology platform (now available to all as open source).

Emily Packer’s message:

Of interest, eLife has published its 2015 annual report, detailing our costs of publishing versus those of our technology innovation and development.

Every year since 2012, eLife has published an annual report on activities along with our US Form 990 (required for our type of non-profit organisation) and our audited financial accounts. This year, we present a deeper view of our 2015 financials, covering publishing and non-publishing expenses.

As part of our ambition to change how science publishing works, especially among highly selective journals, we hope that being transparent about our costs will help set a future course for research communication that is efficient and sustainable.

eLife’s Executive Director, Mark Patterson, and Head of External Relations, Jennifer McLennan, have written a blog post that provides further information about our costs (https://elifesciences.org/elife-news/inside-elife-what-it-costs-publish) and the Times Higher Education featured a news piece: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/elife-reveals-publication-costs-spark-debate-journal-prices.

Our 2015 annual report is also available to view here: https://2015.elifesciences.org.