Pricing in more than one currency and pricing for local authors

Molecular Systems Biology “levies an Article Processing Charge (APC) of 2,950 EUROS (3,900 USD/GBP 2,500) for each Research Articles or Reports accepted for publication. There are no additional costs (such as page charges or submission charges).” The 2,950 EUROS is a 2% price decrease from the 3,000 EUROS we noted last year. But is it really a price decrease? Correction May 22: I got the currency difference backwards – a 21% loss in the EUR should mean a 21% price increase in the EUR, not decrease. The basic concept that it is not possible to understand whether prices are flat, decreasing or increasing without having information on the pricing in all the currencies remains. Original wording: As we recently calculated, the EURO has lost 21% in comparison with the USD over the past year. If the USD is the primary currency (likely the reason for the current EUR price decrease), then the equivalent in EUR today would be 2,370 EUR. What looks like a 50 EUR or 2% price decrease may actually be a 580 EUR or 24% increase.  Last year we did not capture pricing in all the currencies so cannot confirm.

The International Journal of Engineering Innovations and Research is one of many journals and publishers offering pricing in more than one currency. In this case, only Indian authors have the option of paying in INR. The price in USD has decreased slightly from 2014, from 125 to 120, likely reflecting the stronger US currency. We did not capture the price in INR in 2014 for comparison purposes. From

For foreign

  • 120 USD for publishing.
  • Paper should not be greater than 10 pages.
  • For each extra page, 5 USD will be charged.

Indian author will be charge

  • Rs. 4000/- upto 10 pages of paper.

For each extra page, Rs. 250/- will be charged.

Science Domain International has an interesting approach, at least for now: the pricing after a special time-limited discount is applied (April to end of May 2015) of 80 – 95% for each journal is presented as the effective price in US, EUR, INR, GBP and CNY. It is clear that the base price is $500 USD with the other prices included as explanation.

This is just one example; there are many publishers offering pricing in different currencies, often combined with differential pricing based on where the author is from.

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). Pricing in more than one currency and pricing for local authors. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

Deals for members and journal as publicity for society membership: options for society journals

One of the challenges for journals published by societies is the historical relationship between journal subscriptions and society memberships. One option for such journals if they are using article processing fees is to use a discounted rate for members.

The Journal of the Ceramic Society of Japan provides awards each year for outstanding papers. Only members of the society quality for the awards.

mBio authors can join ASM at the contributing member rate of $50 (students $20) to qualify for a $1,000 discount on the $3,000 OA APC.

G3 : Genes, Genomes, Genetics uses this method. Another is using the journal website as an advertising venue for membership. Language from the publisher website

G3 publication charges will be invoiced within several weeks of article acceptance. Charges (all inclusive) are:

  • $1650 (corresponding authors who are members of the Genetics Society of America or the American Society of Human Genetics)
  • $1950 (non-members)

Read about additional benefits of joining the Genetics Society of America here. There are no additional charges for author corrections, figures, supporting information files, or submission fees.

Is this method effective in attracting or retaining members? I don’t know – that would make a great research project. The team is collecting information about this variation in pricing as we go along. When we’re done we’ll post the spreadsheet and anyone interested can use this column to find a list of journals using the method to study.

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Morrison, H. (2015). Deals for members and journal as publicity for society membership: Options for society journals. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

In the E.U.? Your USD APCs cost 21% more than a year ago

by Jihane Salhab and Heather Morrison

The following chart and table (thanks to Jihane) are designed to illustrate the impact of currency fluctuations on OA APCs assuming an international approach to publishing. If you are in the E.U., an APC in USD that has not changed in price over the past year will cost you 21% more today than it did a year ago, due solely to the rising strength of the U.S. dollar. Conversely, in the US your APC dollars buy more in EUR, GPB, JPY or Canadian dollars today than they did a year ago. A strong currency works in your favour when you are buying (paying for APCs), but to your detriment when you are selling (your prices went up even though you didn’t change them; you are less competitive). This makes budgeting for APCs difficult for libraries, universities, and funders. This is important because libraries, universities and funders generally work within the constraints of fixed budgets. This variation due to currency fluctuations is a disadvantage of international publishing whether based on APCs or subscriptions. Using local services to the greatest extent possible is one way to avoid or minimize the impact of currency fluctuations. This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

USD vs. other currencies 2014-15

1 USD (2014) 1 USD (2015) % of value loss to the US Dollar
Canadian Dollar 1.09 CAD 1.20 CAD 10%
Japanese yen 101.46 JPY 119.38 JPY 18%
UK pound sterling 0.60 GBP 0.63 GBP 5%
European Euro 0.73 EUR 0.88 EUR 21%

Cite as:

Salhab, J., & Morrison, H. (2015). In the E.U.? Your USD APCs cost 21% more than a year ago. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

Submission fee but no article processing charge: European Cells and Materials example

European Cells and Materials does not have an article processing fee, even though information retrieved from DOAJ last year suggested that this would be the case. The ecm Submission Instructions says “as a not for profit journal that has not charged you to submit or publish”. This information needs updating as farther up on the same page there is information about a new, one-time only $100 non-refundable submission fee. The language advising authors to check carefully for scope suggest the reason for this submission fee: this is likely a popular venue to publish in.

The non-refundable submission fee may not be advisable for every journal, but when a journal becomes a sought-after venue and consistently attracts larger quantities of papers than it is able to publish, this might be an approach worth considering. As an author, if I were confronted with this type of fee, I think I’d be inclined to see it as a really good reason to do as much work as possible to ensure that my article was in good shape and submitted to an appropriate venue to save the fee. I don’t know how other potential authors would react to such a fee. This would make a good research topic.

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Morrison, H. (2015). Submission fee but no article processing charge: European Cells and Materials example. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

OA APC, page charges, and dilemmas for long-standing traditional journals

Publication fees are not new with open access. Page charges and extra charges for printing in colour have been a part of traditional subscription-based scholarly journal publishing for a long time. In some cases as we look at journals identified as having OA APCs, it is not clear whether these really are OA APCs or print-based publication fees for journals that are publishing in print as well as online. Update May 21: Machine Design provides really clear language in their Call for Papers indicating the print-based nature of their charges: “Conditions for paper publishing in the journal are:…that the publishing costs of 70 EUR (for one volume, four numbers), for costs of preparation, recension, printing, packing, sending by regular mail, taxes, etc. is paid”.

Anthropological Science, the official journal of the Anthropological Society of Nippon, provides an example of the language that is hard to interpret with respect to this question. Anthropological Science appears to be 123 years old, as the current volume is 123 and the volume numbers correspond with years. Following is the language from the publisher’s website, screen scraped May 19, 2015 from

Reprints and other charges

1) Reprints may be ordered at set price.

2) Authors are charged for additional costs incurred by figures redrawn due to bad quality and excessive changes in proof. Costs for color pages will be charged to the author(s).

3) Page charges: AS papers are accepted or rejected for publication strictly on the basis of merit. However, due to rising costs, a fee of 5000 Japanese yen (or US $50.00) per printed page will be assessed to those authors who have funds available for this purpose. Payment of page charges will have no effects on the future evaluations or handling of submitted and/or accepted manuscripts.


The language about the printed page and colour charges (common in a print-based environment as colour printing costs more) suggest that this is actually old-fashioned print-based page charges rather than an OA APC. The distinction is important because open access is about online literature. A journal that has been around as long as Anthropological Science has complexities in the shift to open access that newer born electronic journals don’t have. Dual print / online publishing is just one such complexity. There is also digitizing and making available online back issues. Authors who published in a print-based journal may not have granted permission for an online version. Creative Commons has only been around a little over 10 years, so a journal-wide CC license approach would involve a massive copyright clearance effort with authors who did not publish under CC terms originally.

Born digital may be less complicated, but converting traditional journals like these to open access is the best interests of scholarship. The DOAJ application form requires a Yes / No answer to the question “Does the journal have article processing charges (APCs)?” To me, it is not clear that either Yes or No is a correct answer to this question for this journal. Question 47 of the DOAJ application form asks “Does the journal allow reuse and remixing of its content, in accordance with a CC license? *” The response options are the CC licenses, No, or Other. Without doing the work of re-negotiating copyright with every author from the extent of copyright terms to today, the only options for this journal are No or Other. By forcing this choice, DOAJ may be putting journals like this at a disadvantage (a shame if we want traditional journals to convert) – or the question could be pushing journals towards No or Other when answers like Maybe, We Support Fair Use, etc., might be in the best interests of the re-use aspects of open access.

The Montenegrin Journal of Sports Science and Medicine is a good example of print-based colour charges with nothing resembling an APC: “There is no charge for submissions and no page charge for accepted manuscripts. However, if the manuscript contains graphics in color, note that printing in color is charged”

Colour charges is not one of the variations we are tracking for each journal, but we often see mention of this with the page charges journals. These can be substantial. For example, Physiological Research has a page charge of 50 Euros per printed page but charges an additional 150 EUROs for each page printed in colour.

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). OA APC, page charges, and dilemmas for long-standing traditional journals. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from


Open access publishing: current issues in copyright and licensing

Update December 2019: The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics appears to have been caught up in internet security efforts (falsely flagged). Re-publishing the blog and its contents on another venue is on my to-do list. There is a lot of content so this may take a while and it will be probably be some time before I schedule the work. If there are particular posts or series people would like to see sooner please let me know.

I’m recording some instances of issues as we come across them on The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics to keep the Creative Commons and Open Access Critique series together on one blog.

DOAJ Added after March 2014, Has Charges: Preliminary Analysis

On May 16, 2015 I manually gathered APC and currency information for the 388 journals in DOAJ added after March 2014 that have publication fees, using a DOAJ Advanced Search / limit by journal then Article Processing Charges / Yes. The data for this subset has been posted in the OA APC dataverse (file name DOAJ Accepted after 2014 has charges). Some preliminary observations follow.


Last year we found about 6% of journals actually had per-page rather than per-article charges; this model is not represented in DOAJ at all. This model has some logic to it, so this may be an unfortunate side-effect of the new DOAJ form and application process. The average APC in USD varies quite a bit by original currency, with journals charging in Great Britain Pounds (GBP) charging double journals charging in Euros. Could UK funders’ enthusiasm for paying APCs be a factor? The difference in APC by currency can help to explain the advantages of local publishing; it makes sense for an Indian scholar to pay an average equivalent of $32 USD rather than about 30 times this amount, the average for journals charging in USD. While the average APC of this subset is lower than we found last year, there are more journals at the top of the price range; 5 journals over the $4,000 mark as compared with only 1 from our sample last year.


While the average APC in USD of this subset is lower than the average we found in 2014 ($933 vs. $964), the data seems to suggest several different tendencies happening at the same time.  Last year we found that about 6% of journals actually used a per-page rather than per-article cost. There is no way for journals to indicate this model today. This means that journals using this model either cannot participate in the DOAJ re-application process, or have to change their model. There is some logic to page charges as at least some of the costs of publishing (e.g. copyediting and proofreading) will vary depending on the length of the article. It would be unfortunate to drop this model simply because of the central importance of DOAJ for open access journals and the desire for simplicity in filling out the form.

The average may be lower, but there are more journals at the top of the price range. In 2014, of the 1,326 journals we looked at that had an APC, only one journal sampled had an APC of over $4000; only 6 had APCs of $3000 or higher. This May, out of a much smaller sample of 388 journals, 5 journals charge more than $4,000 and 10 have APCs of $3,000 or higher.

The average price in USD varies quite a bit by currency. The average price for journals charging in Great Britain Pounds (GBP) is double the amount for journals charging in Euros and 68% higher than journals charging in USD. Could the UK’s enthusiasm for paying APCs be a factor?

DOAJ accepted after 2015 has charges aver by currency

16 currencies are represented in this sub-sample, however 3 currencies dominate. 61% of these journals charge in USD, 21% in Euros and 9% in GBP, accounting for more than 90% of the total. Looking at the average amounts by currency may help to explain the advantages of local publishing. If you’re in India it’s probably a lot easier to come up with an average APC of 1,500 Indian rupees, the equivalent of $32 USD, rather than the average $969 of journals that charge in USD, roughly 30 times the amount.

DOAJ accepted after 2014 has charges currency percents

Method note: currency conversions were done using the Bank of Canada daily currency converter on May 17, 2015, in addition to the Central Banks of Khazakistan and the Ukraine (thanks to Wikipedia for the pointer to where to find this information). The Bank of Canada calculations can be verified at a later date using their 10-year currency converter. We may have more on this subset at a later date after the data is entered into the main spreadsheet with other DOAJ metadata and compared with our publisher website checks.

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). DOAJ Added after March 2014, Has Charges: Preliminary Analysis. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

Libertas Academica: average 18% to 56% price increase 2015 over 2014

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

1,848 USD
22,550 Japanese Yen
1,705 EUR

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
Genomics Insights
Glycobiology Insights
Health Services Insights
Healthy Aging & Clinical Care in the Elderly
Human Parasitic Diseases
Immunology and Immunogenetics Insights
Immunotherapy 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
Proteomics Insights
Rehabilitation Process and Outcome
Reproductive Biology Insights
Signal Transduction Insights
Tobacco Use Insights
Translational Oncogenomics

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). Libertas Academica: Average 18% to 56% price increase 2015 over 2014. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

Title not found: room for improvement in maintaining access to articles when journals disappear

Update July 3: 11 “titles not found” have been added, 9 for BioMedCentral and 1 for Springer Open, for a total of 15 titles so far.

Some open access journal publishers and services may not have much experience in the complexities of keeping track of journals and articles as journals change over time. The purpose of this post is to highlight the loss of ready access that occurs when a journal ceases publication and is removed from DOAJ, and sometimes from the publisher’s website as well. It is understandable that DOAJ wishes to focus on and encourage active open access journals, however removing content when journals cease is a disservice to readers and authors alike.


Authors: always post a copy of your article in an open access archive, even if you have published in an open access journal.

Open access journal publishers: if a title ceases to exist, do not remove the title from your website (unless it had no articles at all). If the journal has changed title, add a link to help the reader make the connection. If the title has ceased, include a note to that effect.

DOAJ: indicate that journals have ceased rather than removing them from DOAJ. Include a field to indicate whether journals are active or not. There is an “end date” in DOAJ which seems like a good candidate to use for that purpose.

Examples of title not found

These 9 titles were on the BioMedCentral website in 2014, but have disappeared as of May 2015:

BMC Medical Physics
Genome Integrity
International Archives of Medicine
Journal of Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Injury
Journal of Molecular Signaling
Longevity & Healthspan
Microbial Informatics and Experimentation
Nuclear Receptor Signaling

These titles were on the Libertas Academica website in 2014, but have disappeared as of May 2015:

      • Autism Insights
      • Cell Biology Insights
      • Clinical Medical Insights: Dermatology
      • Immunotherapy Insights
      • Particle Physics Insights

Sciedu Press

  • Journal of Haematological Malignancies – last issue appears to be 2013. Still listed in DOAJ, not included on publisher’s website.

From Springer Open, 1 title on the website in 2014 disappeared in 2015:

Scalable Computing

These 4 journals were from the sub-sample of 139 journals we surveyed last year published by publishers with 9 or fewer journals – a 3% attrition rate for this sub-group:

  • American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies
  • International Journal of Phytomedicine
  • International Journal of Marketing Practices
  • Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

This post is part of the Tech Tips series

Morrison, H. (2015). Title not found: Room for improvement in maintaining access to articles when journals disappear. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

OA APC survey May 2015 work-in-progress

Update December 2019: for the latest version of the OA APC longitudinal survey (which includes the 2015 data), see this post:

Friday May 15, 2015 is the beginning of the 2015 data-gathering for the OA APC project. This post will report work-in-progress illustrating the open research approach.

The DOAJ metadata file was downloaded Friday May 15 at 8:00 a.m. EST, using the instructions on how to download and save the file without messing up the characters. I found the simplest way to do this was to save the .csv file then open in Open Office. Our internal shared Google Drive had no difficulty retaining the characters. I had no success with my version of Excel (mac user). The DOAJ metadata file has been posted to the OA APC dataverse.

Some basic facts and statistics as of today

From DOAJ metadata (csv file)

  • 10,532 journals listed in DOAJ
  • Publication fee and further information (for publication fee) columns are blank in DOAJ metadata (we have a saved file from Nov. 2013 where this information was still available which we’ll be using to find journals with APCs as the latest available)
  • Content in DOAJ column indicates “Yes” for all journals which is not correct

From the DOAJ website

  • 10,532 journals
  • 6,325 searchable at article level
  • 134 countries
  • 1,902,039 articles

What percentage of journals in DOAJ charge APCs? There is no up to date information on this question at this point in time. The best estimate is about 30 – 32%, based on historical data from DOAJ. The reason this information is not up to date: DOAJ has asked all journals to re-apply in order to provide better information and to date just over 10% have done this. The 30 – 32% is virtually identical to what we found last year, i.e. 26% of DOAJ journals at that time had charges and 5% were “conditional” with respect to charges. The “conditional” category has disappeared, so the 26% + 5% = 31%. The 1% difference could be a rounding error. This is not surprising as DOAJ has not updated this information since March 2014.

Now on to looking up publisher OA APC charges and getting the data into our spreadsheet and other files so that we can do some analysis. I’ll post updates from time to time.

Possibly of interest

Loyalty discount: Libertas Academica offers discounts to former authors as well as peer reviewers – their language on transparency / separation of payment and editorial functions may be of interest as well.

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). OA APC survey May 2015 work-in-progress. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from