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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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