Copernicus 2015-2016 comparison

(was 12 Copernicus journals tripled or quadrupled page charges in 2016)

Update July 7, 2016: thanks to Copernicus’ Silke Hartmann (S.H.) for adding a substantive comment. Following is a brief data update about 2 journals formerly free of charge that now charge APCs, clarification about my category “cost not specified”, and highlights worth repeating of S.H.’s clarification about the meaning of “currently waived”.

Data update: in brief, two journals with conflicting information about APPCs as of June 15, 2016 now post APPC details on their webpages.

Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf) and Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems  now charge from €50 to €120 per printed page as of July 1, 2016.

Both journals posted conflicting information about APCs as of June 15, 2016. Their APC pages stated: “If the discussion paper is published after 1 January 2016 the APCs are levied for the publication of the final revised paper in the journal. The publication in the discussion forum is free of charge”. Under the price per journal page, the cost is indicated as “currently waived”. The June 15 version of the ESurf APC page is attached here in order to illustrate:  ESurf – Article processing charges 2016 06 15

This is a good illustration of why I have a category called “cost not specified” and how this is used. The journal APC page clearly indicates that “APCs are levied [emphasis added]” along with conflicting information that APCs are “currently waived”. It would be consistent with this explanation to provide free publication to authors, or to inform them that fees are now in place at some point between submission and publication. I do not mean to suggest that these journals have any intention of deceiving authors, merely to point out that this is conflicting information and authors and payers reading the website information do not have a clear indication as to whether or not there is a charge. Two other journals S.H. indicates have appropriate APC information continue to post this conflicting information, that APCs are levied but currently waived.

Highlights from S.H. of Copernicus’ comments: “Currently waived” journals either plan to institute APCs or that have not yet decided whether to use this model or not and wish to keep their options open. “Cost not found” in the case of Copernicus journals (a category I use when I cannot find any information indicating whether there is or is not a cost) means that publishing in the journal is free of charge [Earth System Science Data and Soil].

Data will be updated before it is included in the main spreadsheet (to be completed and released later this year).

Update July 6, 2016: I retract my statement on tripling of page charges thanks to new evidence indicating that the difference reflects a change in the stage at which papers are assessed (now final publication stage generally one-third the pages of discussion paper stage). The change is intended to be revenue-neutral but more data from APC payers would be needed to confirm this. 2015 data from the Open APC project includes values for 2 journals with papers at both stages, and prices paid are 17-24% higher for papers at the final publication stage. I re-affirm my assessment of the volatility of the APC market. I found 6 journals with APCs indicated “currently waived”, presumably journals that will charge APCs of unknown quantities in future. I found 4 journals that referred to APCs without specifying the cost and 2 journals with no indication of whether or not there is a cost. This is a very substantial percentage of Copernicus’ journals for which the answer to the questions “is there an APC or APPC, and if so, how much is it?” is not available on the Copernicus’ website. I regard Copernicus as a model OA publisher. It is likely that this situation reflects journals that would rather not charge APCs, feel they must charge APCs but are not sure how much to charge, etc., rather than deliberate obfuscation. New evidence and the original post follow.

New evidence

Thanks to Copernicus’ Xenia van Edig for a clarification posted to the Global Open Access List and inthe comments section below. According to Xenia, the tripling of per-page pricing does not impact the article pricing as this represents a change in timing of assessment of charges. Previously, charges were assessed at the discussion paper stage, now they are assessed at the final publication stage, where articles are typically one third of the length.This makes sense and my 2015 data does refer to costing at the discussion stage. It is clear to me that Copernicus aims to be fully open and transparent about article processing charges. I recommend that Copernicus and its partners review the website information for the journals listed below (second chart) indicated “cost not found” or “cost not specified”.

Dirk Pieper on the GOAL list points to an open APC server for server payers of APCs and indicates that their data does not confirm tripling of prices. A review of the OLAC server data for Copernicus for 2015 and 2016 does suggest that the primary difference in pricing is paper stage (final v. discussion). However, only 16 Copernicus articles are listed for 2016. I have not checked to see if all are from the journals with this change in pricing; of those with this change in pricing, any submitted before December 31, 2015 would have been assessed at the discussion paper stage. This data is far from conclusive. From the 2015 data, there are 2 journals for which mean APCs are available for both Discussion Papers and the final publication stage. The mean value for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics is €1.543 compared to Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions at € 1.32. There is a 17% difference, with the 2016 final paper model representing the higher value. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques’ mean value is € 1.34 compared to Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions at € 1.09, a 24% difference. This data suggests that the change in timing of assessment of charges may not be price neutral, although this is not enough data to come to any conclusions about direction or net impact of the change.

Original post and update

Update July 5, 2016: thanks to astute readers for asking questions about the calculations. It may not be easy to follow as we’re used to much smaller price increase – a 3% increase from year to the next, not 300%! I’ve added more detail below which should make this easier to understand. Further questions are welcome.

On June 1, 2016, German-based commercial open access publisher Copernicus endorsed OA2020, an “an international initiative to support the swift, smooth, and scholarly oriented transformation of journals from print subscription to open-access publishing”.  Half of Copernicus’ journals (12) for which we have numeric data for both 2015 and 2016 tripled or in some cases quadrupled their page charges from 2015 to 2016. Coincidence? The rest of this group of journals (10 journals) showed no change in price or modest increases. There were 18 journals for which I found no data with which to compare. Of these, 1 is clearly sponsored and free of charge; 6 are “currently waived”; 4 are “cost not specified”, i.e. the website indicates a charge will be applied but the amount is not given; 3 are “no cost found”, i.e. presumably free but no clear language to confirm; 3 are “title not found” and 1 title that was free last year began to implement charges in 2016. Following are comments: in brief, the price changes illustrate what I call the volatility of the market suggesting it may be too early for OA2020 as pricing is not stable, and I suggest that the topics of many of the journals which touch on things like drinking water quality, climate change and ocean science, would support an argument for public sponsorship of research dissemination in these areas that are important public priorities in the present and near future. Full data is available in charts below.

Comments

Copernicus is a highly regarded and innovative open access publisher with an innovative model where prices reflect the work involved (pricing varies with size of article, format of submission and whether the author uses the publishers’ template). Even after the tripling of prices most of the fees for these journals are fairly modest, e.g. a 10-page article in the preferred format using the publisher’s template adds up to less than a thousand Euros. However, this data illustrates what I describe as the continuing volatility of this market. Libraries and others that might be payers of article page processing charges tend to have fixed budgets that do not easily accommodate tripling of prices or sudden institution of pricing for “currently waived” journals. To illustrate: if a library budgeted based on 2015 prices and then prices on average triple in 2016, the fund will run out 1/3 of the way through the year.

The topics of some of the journals suggest to me the advisability of public sponsorship of at least some of these journals that are publishing in key public good priorities for the present and near future, for example Drinking Water Engineering and Science, Climate of the Past, and Ocean Science (all journals that tripled in price this year). It is great to see that these journals are open access, but if anyone has the ability and inclination to grow our knowledge on how to care for our water, climate, or oceans, let’s not let page charges stand in the way of disseminating the research.

The following chart illustrates APPC (article page processing charges) for all the journals for which we have numeric data for both 2015 and 2016. In reading the % change column, 100% means no price change, 300% means the price tripled and 400% means the price quadrupled.

Update July 5: I’ve added a column to the chart below on the right hand side which explains in plain language the difference in price between 2015 and 2016. A 400% change is a quadrupling of price. If your rent was $1,000 last year and increased to $4,000 this year, that’s 4 times higher. This is easiest to see and understanding with the journals that tripled in price from 25 EUR per page to 75 EUR per page. 25 X 3 = 75.

For many of these journals, to their credit Copernicus has posted pricing for articles submitted in both 2015 and 2016. To illustrate let’s look at one of these journals, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. The APCs are currently posted here and a PDF copy can be found here ACP – Article processing charges 2016 06 15 (created because Copernicus is likely to update their APC page at some point in the future).

Here are the APC details, an extract copied from the ACP website as of July 5, 2016 (without formatting, extracted to facilitate comparison). The following illustrates that the price for every category is precisely 3 times higher after January 2016 than it was before December 2016. Category 1 jumps from €25 to €75. Category 2 jumps from €30 to €90. Category 3 jumps from €35 to €105. Category 4 jumps from €40 to €120. Not every journal follows this pattern precisely, but it is a repeated pattern. I encourage readers to look at the APCs on the Copernicus journal sites to see for yourselves.

Discussion papers published before 31 December 2015
Price per discussion page
Description
Category 1 €25 net LaTeX submissions using the Copernicus Publications LaTeX Package
Category 2 €30 net Word submissions using the Copernicus Publications Word Template
Category 3 €35 net LaTeX submissions causing higher expenditure of work due to any LaTeX style and/or difficulties with tables/figures
Category 4 €40 net Word submissions causing higher expenditure of work due to any Word
style and/or difficulties with tables/figures

Discussion papers published after 1 January 2016
Price per journal page
Description
Category 1 €75 net LaTeX submissions using the Copernicus Publications LaTeX Package
Category 2 €90 net Word submissions using the Copernicus Publications Word Template
Category 3 €105 net LaTeX submissions causing higher expenditure of work…
Category 4 €120 net Word submissions causing higher expenditure of work…

Copernicus APPC (*category 1 where multiple prices exist) 2016 / 2015
Title 2016 APPC as of June 15, 2016 (EUR) * 2015 05 15 (APPC) (EUR) * Price increase in EUR 2016 – 2015 Price ratio 2016/2015 in % Plain language price ratio from 2015 to 2016
Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics 75 17 58 441% more than quadrupled
Solid Earth 75 17 58 441% more than quadrupled
Drinking Water Engineering and Science 69 20 49 345% more than tripled
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 75 25 50 300% tripled
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques 75 25 50 300% tripled
Biogeosciences 75 25 50 300% tripled
Climate of the Past 75 25 50 300% tripled
Geoscientific Model Development 75 25 50 300% tripled
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 75 25 50 300% tripled
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 75 25 50 300% tripled
Ocean Science (OS) 75 25 50 300% tripled
The Cryosphere 75 25 50 300% tripled
Advances in Radio Science : Kleinheubacher Berichte 26 25 1 104% slight increase
Advances in Science and Research 26 25 1 104% slight increase
ASTRA Proceedings 31 30 1 103% slight increase
Advances in Geosciences 31 31 0 100% no change
Annales Geophysicae 45 45 0 100% no change
Fossil Record 50 50 0 100% no change
Mechanical Sciences 45 45 0 100% no change
Primate Biology 55 55 0 100% no change
Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences 35 35 0 100% no change
Stephan Mueller Special Publication Series 25 25 0 100% no change
Geothermal Energy Science 60 57.5 2.5 104% no change
Average percentage change 219%

The following chart provides data for journals for which we do not have numeric data for both 2015 and 2016. Note that Copernicus has a number of journals which have associated journals that are called Discussions; these are actually early release of the journals with the same name and are not included here.

Title 2016 APPC as of June 15, 2016 (EUR) *
Earth System Dynamics 50
Geographical Research Abstracts abstracts of conference papers – no cost found
Earth Surface Dynamics cost not specified
Earth System Science Data cost not specified
Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems cost not specified
SOIL cost not specified
Advances in Statistical Climatology, Meteorology and Oceanography currently waived
Archives Animal Breeding currently waived
Geographica Helvetica currently waived
Journal of Sensors and Sensor Systems currently waived
Web Ecology currently waived
Wind Energy Science currently waived
Scientific Drilling free of charge
History of Geo- and Space Sciences no cost found
ISPRS Archives and Annuals no cost found
Animal Breeding title not found
Social Geography (SG) title not found
Astrophysics and Space Sciences Transactions (ASTRA) title not found – see ASTRA

 

Walt Crawford’s Gold Open Access Journals 2011 – 2015

Walt Crawford has released his data and book Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015. For explanations on the different versions and links to download, go to Crawford’s website http://waltcrawford.name/goaj.html

Selected key findings:

  • Of the 10,324 fully open access journals listed in DOAJ studied by Crawford as of December 31, 2015, 71% do not charge article processing fees. This is an important contribution to our understanding as previous information from DOAJ only went up to 2013.
  • These 10,324 journals collectively published 566,922 articles in 2015 alone. This data was derived from counting the articles on each journal’s website, and is another major contribution of this work. This count is more accurate than relying on DOAJ metadata for article count which reflects the limitations of not all journals being able to supplement metadata and not all journals supplying metadata are able to supply correct metadata for year of publication.
  • 44% of the articles published in 2015 were published by no-fee journals.

Comments

This selection of key findings reflects the summary data most pertinent to the SKC OA APC project; I encourage readers to go to the book and download the data for answers to other questions that may more relevant for you.

Kudos and thanks to Walt Crawford for doing this work and freely sharing both the data and the book and to SPARC  for supporting this work. Disclosure: Crawford provided us with an early version of his spreadsheet which we are incorporating into our own longitudinal study. One illustration of the value of this is that having the ability to identify free-to-publish journals as of 2015 will enable comparisons of free and APC journals using our longitudinal data and the DOAJ metadata once our 2016 spreadsheet is complete (likely this fall). Also although there are important difference between our data, there are enough similarities that we will be able to use a considerable amount of Crawford’s data in lieu of doing the work ourselves, for example in the case of fairly stable publishers with straightforward APCs in USD. This behind-the-scenes collaboration is one of the reasons our team has been able to forge ahead with individual publisher case studies this year and even include selected open/hybrid comparisons. If anyone is looking for examples of the benefits of collaboration and open sharing, you might consider adding this one to your list.

Society for Scholarly Publishing AGM Presentation 2016

The slides from my presentation at the Society for Scholarly Publishing AGM June 3, 2016 in Vancouver are available here:  SSP presentation 2016 06 03 hgm

Please see the references slides at the ends for citations and links to further information. Comments and questions are welcome, here or via email to Heather dot Morrison at uottawa dot ca. If you would like to comment on the blog but prefer anonymity please contact me via e-mail

 

Taylor & Francis 2016

With over 2,500 journals, Taylor & Francis, is one of the largest academic publishers in the world. For this reason, we are interested in the Open Access (OA) models they are using, as well as how they deal with copyright.

Taylor & Francis Journals

Taylor & Francis journals currently fall under three categories: Open (Fully OA), Open Select (Hybrid OA) and Subscription (Not OA). Fully Open or Pure open access journals means that all of the articles in these journals are OA. For these journals, an article publishing charge (APC) is often applicable. Their Open Select option is a hybrid option meaning that an author can publish in a subscription journal and pay a charge, usually an APC or an article page processing charge (APPC) to make their article freely available online upon publication.  The final category, Subscription, allows for Green Open Access, which is the archiving of an article on a website or in a repository. This is allowed for the accepted version of an article, which has been through peer review and has been accepted, but isn’t the final published article. This option is offered after an embargo period. The chart below shows the breakdown of the number of journals for each of these categories.  The Open Select option accounts for most of the journals at 91%, while 93 (4%) journals are fully OA.

TaylorandFrancispiechart

Of the fully open journals, 17/93 (18%) do not charge APCs.  Additionally, APCs could not be found for 5 journals.  The APCs of the journals that were found to charge them range from $200-$2000 in US dollars (USD) with the average being $922 and the mode being $1200. Some journals in this category have a different APC based on the length of the article and the type of creative commons license being used, these prices were not factored in to the average listed above.

An interesting model is being used by one group of fully OA journals by Cogent OA. Cogent journals, which account for 15/93 of the fully OA journals from Taylor & Francis operate a ‘pay what you want’ model.  This means that authors are allowed to choose how much they contribute towards OA publishing based on their financial circumstances. Authors have the opportunity to state how much they want to contribute, if accepted for publication, during the submission process.  In order to guarantee the integrity of peer review, the APC process is managed by the Cogent OA publishing team and not by journal editors or reviewers. Cogent OA states, “We believe strongly in the benefits of open access to scientific research and scholarship, and our APC policy is intended to help remove any barriers to its take-up around the world – leading to greater research impact for all.”

The APCs for the hybrid model were quite a bit higher than the ones for fully OA journals.  2142/2284 (94%) of these journals charge an APC of $2,950 USD (£1,788,  €2,150). The rest of the journals in this category either charge a lower APC or charge an APPC instead.

Taylor & Francis: Copyright Statements

When publishing with a Taylor & Francis subscription journal,  they ask the author to assign copyright to them. Alternatively, any author can also opt to retain their own copyright and sign a licence to publish. If the author chooses to assign copyright to Taylor & Francis, the author is asked to sign a publishing agreement.

In the case of open access journals it appears that Taylor & Francis is using the same author nominal copyright approach we first noticed when looking at Elsevier this year. Following is the text from the T&F Author Services page. An exclusive license to publish is in effect a transfer of virtually all rights under copyright, with the copyright in the name of the author, hence “author nominal copyright”.

Open access Creative Commons licenses

We ask you to sign a publishing agreement to establish the originality and provenance of your article and to give us the exclusive right to publish [emphasis added] the Version of Record of your article; you (the author) retain copyright. This agreement incorporates the Creative Commons license of your choice, which will dictate what others can do with your article once it has been published.

Copyright statements tend to vary from journal to journal for Taylor & Francis’ OA journals.  For example,  Acta Biomaterialia Odontologica‘s Instructions for Authors document states, “The copyright will remain with the Authors for articles published under this Open Access model, and once a paper has been accepted for publication, Informa will ask authors for a license to publish.”

Similarly Acta Oto-Laryngologica Case Reports states, “All contributing authors are asked to grant Taylor & Francis the right to publish her or his article as the final, definitive, and citable Version of Scholarly Record. Authors are required to sign an Open Access Article Publishing Agreement to facilitate this. Articles published in Acta Oto-Laryngologica Case Reports are published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence which permits others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. Authors do however have the choice of opting for the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial Licence should they so choose. Reuse conditions will be subject to the license type chosen by the author.”

The Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology requires authors to assign the right to publish their texts both electronically and in any other format they see fit, along with the right to store manuscripts in an electronic archive to the journal, Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology. They go on to state, “Once published, authors may disseminate their papers (final, accepted and peer-reviewed PDF version) in whatever way they wish, within the terms set out in the Creative Commons Licence 4.0. The IPJP has adopted the CC BY-NC-ND licensing agreement. Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Accordingly, authors may post a copy of the PDF of their published article to their institutional repository or to any departmental or personal website, etc., subject to acknowledging its publication in the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology.”

In contrast to these above statements Journal of Drug Assessment states, “Articles are published with the understanding that their copyright be assigned to the Publisher once they are accepted. If any material used is subject to third-party copyright, copyright clearance is the sole responsibility of the authors and must be supplied in writing to the Publisher. Corresponding authors will be sent a copyright form to sign upon acknowledgment of their paper.”

These copyright statements are a small sample of how OA journals published by Taylor & Francis handle copyright.  As they all differ, it is important for authors to understand their options and submit to journals accordingly.  It may be assumed that authors retain their copyright when publishing in OA journals, but this is not always the case.

 

AOSIS 2015-2016 Comparison

AOSIS is a smaller South African based open access publisher, with 26 journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).  As of May 2016, the AOSIS website lists 28 open access journals. We found 27 matching journal titles when comparing our 2015 and 2016 data gathered from the AOSIS website.

The AOSIS website lists a per-page cost or Article Page Processing Charge (APPC) while the DOAJ’s Article Processing Charge (APC) figure is per-article.  The APC amount listed on DOAJ is likely based on an estimate of the average number of pages for an article.

From the AOSIS website in 2015, 11 out of 27 journals were sponsored by various organizations, therefore they did not require APPCs to be paid by authors.  Two of these titles are no longer sponsored in 2016.  18 out of 27 titles require APPCs to be paid by authors.  Most of these APPCs have increased since 2015.  The APPCs are listed in South African Rand (ZAR). The current conversion rate between ZAR and the US dollar (USD) is 1 ZAR equals 0.064 USD.  The average APPC in 2016 is about 617 ZAR, which equates to about 40 USD. The average AOSIS APC in DOAJ is 6050 ZAR or 388 USD.

The journal with the lowest APPC in 2015 and 2016 is In die Skriflig.  This journal charged 429 ZAR in 2015 and has increased to 44o ZAR in 2016.  The journal with the highest APPC in 2015 and 2016 is African Vision and Eye Health, which was charging 1191 ZAR in 2015 and is now charging 1250 ZAR. In 2015, only 4 journals charged over 1000 ZAR for APPCs.  In 2016, 10 out of 27 charge over 1000 ZAR.

According to AOSIS’ Copyright policy page, “The author(s) retain copyright on work published by AOSIS unless specified otherwise.” All individual journals titles were checked to see if there are any other specifications regarding copyright.  After clicking through each title, we found that all journals provided a link to the main About Scholarly Journals page, which states “Rest assured: you always retain copyright of your work.”

AOSIS Chart
References

AOSIS. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.aosis.co.za/

Directory of Open Access Journals. (Mn.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://doaj.org/

 

 

Social media alternatives for scholarship

This is a post for noting interesting discussion and potential alternatives involving social media and scholarship. By “alternative” I mean alternatives to giving away scholarly work to private for-profit owners. Thanks to Anthony Ross-Hellauer for inspiring this line of discussion arising from the SSRN sellout to Elsevier of May 2016.

After SSRN: Hallmarks of Trust for Subject Repositories  https://blogs.openaire.eu/?p=933

What about platform cooperatives? The basic idea is instead of the person or organization building a platform owning everything, ownership is shared with those to contribute to the service. An article describing this approach here: http://www.shareable.net/blog/how-platform-coops-can-beat-death-stars-like-uber-to-create-a-real-sharing-economy

 

Elsevier: now the world’s largest open access publisher

Elsevier: the world’s largest open access publisher as of May 2016

** draft ** by Heather Morrison

Summary

Elsevier is now the world’s largest open access publisher as measured by the number of fully open access journals published. Elsevier has 511 fully open access journals. De Gruyter is second with 435, Hindawi third with 405. These figures are based on data from the publishers’ own websites. 315 of the 511 journals (63%) have an APC of 0 and indicate “fee not payable by author”. Sampling of the open access journals indicates that a very large percentage (90%) of the fully open access journals are sponsored by actively involved societies and institutions with most owning copyright. I argue that society copyright ownership is not a bad thing; the alternative may not be vision of pure OA but rather Elsevier copyright.

In addition, 2,149 Elsevier journals have hybrid options at 2,149 journals. There is a marked difference in pricing patterns between hybrid and open access journals. Fully open access journals are clustered at the low end of the $0 – $5,000 USD price range while hybrids’ pricing is skewed toward the higher end.

A sampling of 50 journals from the full list of Elsevier journals found that 70% feature a “supports open access” button on the about the journal page; 38% have indications of society involvement, but clear indication of society copyright ownership is much less common. There is very limited historical information provided about Elsevier journals on the freely available website, making it difficult to assess past society or institutional involvement for a large percentage of journals.

Finally, an analysis is presented of the potential for Elsevier to achieve a full flip to open access APC while retaining current revenue. Reasonably realistic estimates range from a low of $5,000 USD to a high of over $11,000 USD to cover the 2015 Elsevier annual revenue of $3 billion USD from STM and enjoy the current 37% profit rate. These rates are not realistic. Libraries and those wishing to further the transition to open access should anticipate that Elsevier will seek to continue to receive subscriptions revenue, even with broad-based support for APCs, for a long time to come.

For full details see the draft in PDF:

Elsevier and open access publishing May 2016

Data from the study of 50 Elsevier journals can be downloaded from the dataverse.