Update December 2019: in 2016 Sage acquired Libertas Academica. As noted on SKC in 2018, some of the Libertas Academica titles have ceased publishing. Titles that are still publishing are available via the Sage website; titles that have ceased publishing are available via CLOCKSS. These are good practices, but at the same time a good illustration of a danger that assuming that an OA publisher is “forever”. The Libertas Academic website per se is no longer available; any author, reader, or editor who goes to this site looking for content that used to be there might not find what they were looking for.
Libertas Academica posts APCs in three currencies, USD, Japanese Yen, and Euro, which results in 3 different average APC price increases: 18% for USD, 56% for Japanese Yen, and 21% for Euro. The only price decreases were in Euros; a few journals decreased 12% in price. In Japanese Yen, the range of price increases is from no increase to 249% of the 2014 price (i.e. more than double the 2014 price). In USD, the range is from no increase to a 79% price increase. The current inflation rate as calculated by Statistics Canada (may vary elsewhere) is 1.2%, so these average price rises are a very great deal higher than inflation. These are price increases that match or exceed the steep price increases of serials in the past century as recorded in the report of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Serials Pricing Project.
These are price increases on already substantial prices. For example, journals with APCs of $1,699 USD in 2014 are now $1,848 (9% increase). Journals that were $950 USD in 2014 are now $1,699 USD (79% increase).
Average APCs for Libertas Academica in 2015
22,550 Japanese Yen
There are 76 titles listed on the Libertas Academica website today, down from 81 in 2014. It is not clear how readers would find articles published in the other 5 journals. This poses issues for readers and authors alike; discussion and recommendations are available in the title not found: room for improvement in maintaining access to content in ceased journals post.
Full data for the above has been posted in the OA APC dataverse.
50 of the Libertas Academic titles are listed in DOAJ. Another 32 OA APC Libertas titles are not listed in DOAJ. The titles are:
Advances in Tumor Virology
Bone and Tissue Regeneration Insights
Cell & Tissue Transplantation & Therapy
Cell Biology Insights
Cell Communication Insights
Clinical Medicine Insights: Psychiatry
Clinical Medicine Insights: Trauma and Intensive Medicine
Clinical Medicine Insights: Urology
Gene Expression to Genetical Genomics
Health Services Insights
Healthy Aging & Clinical Care in the Elderly
Human Parasitic Diseases
Immunology and Immunogenetics Insights
Indian Journal of Clinical Medicine
Indian Journal of Clinical Medicine
Journal of Experimental Nuroscience
Journal of Genomes and Exomes
Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemias
Medical Equipment Insights
Organic Chemistry Insights
Particle Physics Insights
Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry
Primary Prevention Insights
Rehabilitation Process and Outcome
Reproductive Biology Insights
Signal Transduction Insights
Tobacco Use Insights
This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.
Morrison, H. (2015). Libertas Academica: Average 18% to 56% price increase 2015 over 2014. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2015/05/15/libertas-academica-average-18-to-56-price-increase-2015-over-2014/
The fee increases you have observed are mainly associated with journals being added to Pubmed or being under preparation for inclusion in Pubmed.
Pubmed indexing introduces significant additional costs so where a journal is accepted for Pubmed or under active preparation for NLM evaluation we have to move the journal up to the next higher price band. These costs are not only the direct cost of XML creation and addressing the NLM’s image quality requirements, but also in quality control which is very time consuming, about 60 minutes per paper.
This picture is complicated by the depreciation of the Euro and the Yen in the past 12 months, meaning that we’ve had to make changes to some of the fees within each price band.
There continue to be a number of journals in the lower non-Pubmed price bands. All journals continue to regularly provide fee waivers and discounts to individuals in developing countries, to peer reviewers, former authors and other groups.
Re 60 minutes for quality control for PubMed: what are the staff qualifications for this and can you describe the pay grade?
Similarly for XML publishing?
Thank you for your comments.
I can’t comment on fees for staff and XML contractors as both are contractually confidential, but the quality control work carried out internally is done by trained and experienced staff. Note that at this point we are fundamentally concerned with insuring fidelity to the published version of the article (the version that has been approved by the authors) and that no errors have been introduced during the conversion process or afterwards. Once a paper has been approved by us and released the NLM will not make any amendments to address errors introduced at any stage in the conversion process, so great care must be taken at this point.
Can you provide an approximate time frame per article for XML conversion?
If quality control work takes about an hour per article, if the staff person is paid at $45 USD per hour and we add in 25% for benefits and 15% for standard business overhead, that would account for $65.
The increase for Advances in Tumor Virology was $749 in USD, from $950 USD last year to $1,699 USD today. If you subtract $65 for additional quality control work, that leaves an additional $684 price increase unaccounted for. Care to explain?
In my earlier comment I referred to journals that are being prepared for evaluation for inclusion in Pubmed. That journal is one of them.
My point is that $65 for the extra quality control work for PMC seems pretty reasonable (if not generous – I suspect many staff who do this kind of work would be thrilled with $45 an hour). There is also the XML conversion. Can you provide an average hourly time estimate for this or per-article payment? Is there anything else you need to do to prepare articles for PMC?
Heather, I’d be happy to go into this in more detail with you but I can’t share information publicly that would be useful to LA’s competitors. If you’d care to continue this via email my address is on the LA website.
Perhaps Tom Hill could also say who owns Libertas Academica? I realise it is privately held, but can he name the owners? If not, why not?
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