Nature Publishing Group 2016

Nature Publishing Group is 30th in number of Open Access (OA) journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) with 22 journals.  We are interested in it because it is division of the international scientific publishing company Springer Nature.  Springer Nature is a scientific publishing company resulting from the 2015 merger of Springer Science+Business Media and Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group’s Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, and Macmillan Education.

While only 22 journals are listed in DOAJ, Nature Publishing Group lists four types of OA journals, with 86 in total on its website ( These four types are: 1. Multidisciplinary (3 journals), 2. Nature Partner Journals (21 journals), 3. Academic and society journals (22 journals), 4. Journals with hybrid open access options (40 journals).

There are APCs listed for all journals in three currencies: US dollar (USD), pound sterling (GBP), and Euro (EUR). We gathered data from Nature Publishing Group’s OA website and analyzed these APCs in USD.  We evaluated all OA journals except for the fourth group (Journals with hybrid open access options), therefore 46 journals in total were compared.

Of the 46 journals compared, the lowest APC is $1,350 for Scientific Data. The highest listed APC is $5,200 for Nature Communications. The mode is $4,000 and the average is $3,491.

The chart below shows a sample of the journals that were compared.



De Gruyter Open (english)

by Myriam Dumais-DesRosiers et Widlyne Brutus; translated by Heather Morrison

Abstract (français)

The commercial publisher De Gruyter, not even listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in 2014, is now the 3rd largest publisher of open access scholarly journals in DOAJ. Two factors that can explain this large increase of the publisher: the first is the purchase of other open access publishers (for example, Versita and Berkeley Electronic Press), the second is partnerships that De Gruyter has undertaken with a number of societies and universities, primarily in Eastern Europe.

The commercial publisher De Gruyter, that as of 2014 was not included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), was, in November 2015, the 3rd largest publisher of open access journals in DOAJ by number of journals( One reason for this large increase is the purchase of other open access publishers (for example, Versita and Berkeley Electronic Press), another is partnerships that De Gruyter has undertaken with a number of societies and universities, primarily in Eastern Europe. This sudden growth is not the only interesting aspect of this publishing house. Among the journals published by De Gruyter, only 2% charge article processing fees, the others preferring to assume the production costs themselves.

Tableau 1

Frais de publication De Gruyter

The journals that charge article processing fees are all commercial, without society / university partnerships. To put this another way, none of the journals produced in these partnerships charge APCs and all leave copyright in the hands of the authors. The division of types of partnerships is as follows:
• 16% commercial only
• 3% commercial / government
• 23% commercial / society
• 3% commercial / society / university
• 55% commercial / university

Tableau 2

Répartition selon le partenariat


In conclusion, one might say that De Gruyter, whose activities used to be very traditional, took a considerable turn towards open access to becomes the 3rd largest publisher in DOAJ, and this without charging article processing fees for the majority of authors or asking for copyright transfer. It remains to be seen whether this model will continue.

SpringerOpen: 2015-2016 APCs Comparison

Update May 9: many of the journals with links to APC information not working in April are now working, so that we can confirm that about 40% of SpringerOpen journals are fully sponsored and do not charge article processing fees.

SpringerOpen is an Open Access (OA) publisher that requires Article Processing Charges (APCs) for most journals. This publisher displays APCs in three currencies: pound sterling (GBP), US dollar (USD) and Euro (EUR).
SpringerOpen is the fourth largest OA journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) with 170 journals listed. As SpringerOpen is one of the largest OA publishers it must be examined in order to gain insight into future APC trends.


151 matching journals from 2015 and 2016 were compared in USD. When the journals not charging APCs were removed, the average APC for 2015 was $1,166 and is $1,239 in 2016.  The lowest APC for 2015 was $125 for Agricultural and Food Economics. In 2016, the lowest APC is $430 for two journals: Advanced Modeling and Simulation in Engineering Sciences and Botanical Studies. The mode APC was $1,085 for both 2015 and 2016.  The highest APC in 2015 was $1,935 for AMB Express and in 2016 is $2,500 for AAPS Open.

Only one journal’s APC decreased from 2015: Fire Science Reviews was charging $1,420 in 2015 and is now charging $1,155 (-19%) in 2016. 38 journals did not charge APCs in 2015, and still do not charge them in 2016. 32 journals are charging the same amount as they were in 2015. A little more than half of the journals (77/151) have increased their APCs. Most of those charging more (54/77), increased by 10% or less.

Screenshot (103)

De Gruyter maintenant 3e éditeur en importance sur le Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Co-écrit par Myriam Dumais-DesRosiers et Widlyne Brutus


Résumé (anglais)

La maison d’édition commerciale De Gruyter, bien qu’absente du Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) en 2014, est maintenant le 3e plus important éditeur de revues savantes en libre accès sur cette même plateforme. Deux raisons pourraient expliquer cette importante croissante de l’éditeur : la première consiste en l’achat de quelques maisons d’édition produisant du contenu en libre accès (par exemple, Versitas et Berkeley Electronic Press), la seconde est le partenariat qu’entretient De Gruyter avec de nombreuses sociétés et universités, majoritairement de l’Europe de l’Est.


La maison d’édition commerciale De Gruyter, qui jusqu’en 2014 n’était pas incluse dans le Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), était, en novembre 2015, le 3e plus important éditeur de revues savantes en libre accès sur DOAJ en nombre de revues ( Une des raisons expliquant cette progression est que De Gruyter a acquis quelques maisons d’édition publiant leur contenu en libre accès au cours des dernières années, par exemple Versitas et Berkeley Electronic Press. Cette ascension fulgurante n’est pas le seul aspect intéressant de cette maison d’édition. En effet, parmi les revues sous sa direction, seulement 2 % chargent des frais de publication, les autres préférant assumer eux-mêmes les coûts de production.

Tableau 1

Frais de publication De Gruyter

Les revues chargeant des frais de publication aux auteurs sont toutes de type commercial, sans partenariat.

Une autre raison expliquant la réussite de De Gruyter dans le domaine de la publication de revues savantes en libre accès est les multiples partenariats qu’elle entretient avec de nombreuses sociétés et universités, situées majoritairement en Europe de l’Est. Pour les revues en partenariat avec De Gruyter, aucun frais n’est exigé aux contributeurs et ceux-ci conservent leurs droits d’auteur. Ces partenariats sont répartis selon la division suivante :

  • 16 % sont uniquement de type commercial
  • 3 % sont de type commercial/gouvernemental
  • 23 % sont de type commercial/société
  • 3 % sont de type commercial/société/université
  • 55 % sont de type commercial/université


 Tableau 2

Répartition selon le partenariat


En conclusion, on constate que De Gruyter, dont les activités anciennement traditionnelles ont pris un virage considérable dans le domaine du libre accès pour devenir le 3e éditeur en importance sur le site de DOAJ, n’applique pas, pour la majorité de ses revues, un modèle d’imposition des frais aux auteurs. Ces revues ne facturent donc pas de frais de publication ni ne retiennent de droits d’auteur pour assumer les frais de production. Reste à voir si ce modèle va perdurer.

Hindawi publisher: 2016 findings and longitudinal comparison of APC rates

Hindawi is an Open Access (OA) publisher that follows the business model of Article Processing Charges (APC) in all its journals. This publisher charges APC only in USD, and it is known to often merge journals and provide free publishing on a rotating basis.

Hindawi is listed as the largest OA publisher in DOAJ with 540 journals.  Despite the fact that it lists only 406 journals on its website, mainly as a result of merging 130 ISRN journals into one journal, Hindawi is still considered the largest OA publisher and therefore needs to be observed to gain insight into the future APC trends.

2015-2016 comparison

A total of 389 matching journals are compared in years 2015 and 2016. The median and mode remain the same. The average, however, witnesses an increase of USD 65.


When removing all journals that charge no-APC in both years, 286 journals are compared and the following observations are noted:
More than two-thirds of journals charged the same price in both years, about one-third increased their prices, but not a single journal witnessed a price decrease.


As to APC increase in 2016 (91 journals), the range noted is between 4% to 108%. The majority of journals charged 25% (30 journals), 33% (29 journals) and 67% (30 journals) respectively.


2015-2016: Rotating No-APC journals:

When examining the no-APC journals in both years, we found that 57 journals charged no-APC in 2015 whereas the number went down to 51 in 2016.  Only 5 journals charged no-APC in both years.

What is interesting, however, is not the number of journals per se, but rather the price increase for most of those journals in 2016. For example, in 2015, 28 out of 2016 no-APC journals charged USD 600 and only 11 charged USD 800. However when examining prices in 2016, we find that only 11 of 2015 no-APC journals charged USD 600, 35 charged USD 800 and that 7 journals went further to charge USD 1000.


Hindawi: Comparing years 2010 & 2016

Unlike 2015-2016 comparison that showed that APC has either increased or stayed the same, comparing the year 2010 to 2016 proves that APCs are not always tending towards higher prices. A total of 121 journals were compared in both years where 57 journals increased APC, 45 decreased APC and only 19 kept the same price.


Hindawi: 2010-2016:

To examine APC prices in years 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016, we compared also 121 matching journals.  The data shows that APC in 2010 was higher than all other years with an average of USD 799. However, unlike the sample from years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 which include 41, 60, 17 and 13 no-APC journals respectively, the matching journals from 2010 does not include any no-APC journal. This explains the skewed distribution in years 2013 and 2014 with zero mode in both years. Nevertheless, the data shows that in this sample the APC used to be higher in 2010 than 2016 with an average of USD 799 compared to only USD 698 in 2016.


As we examine Hindawi APC pricing throughout the years, it is obvious that there is a lot of manipulation whether through price change or no-APC rotation policy.

Will Hindawi apply a gradual price increase while decreasing the number of no-APC journals as witnessed in years 2015-2016 or will it rather apply another round of huge shifts as in previous years? Here lies the importance of the longitudinal study in monitoring changes and hopefully predicting future practices.


Co-Action Publishing 2016

Summary: this post summarizes my analysis of Co-Action publication fees as of 2010, 2015, and 2016 and comments on the Co-Action pricing structure. In brief, there is a 5% average price increase for journals for which article-level publication fees are available for 2015 and 2016, and a 44% average price increase for the 7 journals for which article-level publication fee data is available for 2010 and 2016. These increases contrast with EU inflation rates during this time frame, generally modest (high of 3%) and sometimes negative. It is important to note that Co-Action is one of many publishers that offers a range of pricing rather than a single flat per-article fee. A number of Co-Action journals have a policy of free of charge to publish unless there is an author fund available. This model is a fairly clear illustration of the interests of APC-charging publishers in this type of funds. I raise the point that in this respect the interests of APC publishers is not necessarily aligned with the interests of researchers, institutions and funders, who may favour prioritizing funding for research and researchers. In this respect, the interests of APC publishers may more closely resemble the financial interests of toll access publishers than other stakeholders in the open access ecosystem. This may be understandable – but it is important to understand.


Co-Action 2010-2016

Co-Action’s researcher pricing is interesting from a number of perspectives. It is important to note that there is no flat per-article publishing charge. Each journal has its own pricing structure. There is typically a range of prices based on such factors as type and length of article. Occasionally, there are deals for society members. A number of journals are free of charge – except for authors who have access to institutional or funder OA funds. I count these as APC journals. This explanation from the publication fee page of the Journal of European Continuing Medical Education is typical:

Publishing in Journal of European Continued Medical Education is now free of charge thanks to a generous grant from European CME Forum with additional support from the European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology (EBAC) and the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).

However, if the author’s university or institute officially maintains a central fund to cover costs for Open Access Publishing, or the article describes results from research funded by an Open Access-friendly funding agency, a publication fee will be charged at a rate of 1250 EUR/1450 USD for a regular article.

Comment: this model is a clear illustration of the interests of publishers reliant on APCs in this funding model for open access. It is important to note that in this instance the interests of APC publishers are not necessarily aligned with the interests of researchers, institutions or funding agencies for whom funding for research per se, salaries and infrastructure support for researchers is a higher priority. In this respect, the interests of APC-charging publishers and publishers reliant on subscriptions / purchase (money to pay for publishing) are identical even if the preferred model is not.

As of 2016, Co-Action publishes 27 APC-charging journals, 4 journals with page rather than article charges, and 4 journals are completely free of publication charges. The 2016 average of 1,184 EUR compares favorably with the 2015 average of 1,173 EUR. However, when the per-journal price changes for 2015 and 2016 are compared, there is an average 5% price increase (22 journals with data both years) and when the 7 journals for which we have data for 2010 and 2016 are compared, there is an average increase of 342 EUR or a 44% price increase. These price increases are much higher than EU inflation rates in recent years; the 10-year average from 2005 – 2014 was just under 21% (EU Commission).


Co-Action 201516