by Widlyne Brutus and Victoria Volkanova
We recently reviewed the APCs of the publisher Libertas Academica for the year 2016 and found a mostly steady pricing compared with the year 2015. The fees are now listed in USD and GBP only, the latter replacing both Euro and Japanese Yen which were used in the previous years for authors from outside of North America. We also have noted the tendency to standardized pricing for the majority of the OA journals: US$1,848 / 1,399 GBP for the journals that are included in PubMed Central (PMC), and US$1,699 /1,299 GBP for the journals that are not included in PMC.
According to its website, Libertas Academica (LA) publishes 83 international, peer-reviewed scientific, technical and medical journals. Most of the LA journals are open access with the exception of the Clinical Medicine Reviews series that operates under the traditional subscription or pay-per-view model (http://www.la-press.com/about_us.php).
Last year we reviewed the APCs (or APFs, as they call it) of this publisher and found out the overall increases in all currencies (USD, Euros and Japanese Yen) that were much greater than the normal inflation rate warranted. In the comments to the original post, Tom Hill from Libertas Academica provided some explanation for the price increases, more specifically the addition of many journals to PubMed Central (i.e. XML creation, image quality requirements and additional quality control) and the depreciation of the Euro and the Yen, which were the two currencies used for authors from outside of North America. He also pointed out the ongoing possibility of fee waivers and discounts for authors.
Recently we revisited Libertas Academica’s website and compared their 2016 APCs with the previous years. First of all, we’ve noted one significant change in the currencies used: as of 2016, the authors from North America pay APCs in USD, whereas the authors from the rest of the world pay in GBP. We couldn’t find any explanation as to the reasons for which the publisher dropped both the Euro and the Japanese Yen in favour of the British Pound. Some of the possible reasons are the location of the company’s key external service providers in the United Kingdom (as well as in India and in New York, USA); generous UK APCs funding (RCUK, Wellcome Trust), or else the relative stability of this particular currency.
On a side note, the institutional membership fees are charged in USD only and go from US$3,300 to US$13,500, entitling the member institutions for an APC discount varying from 5% to 25%. So far, only one institution has subscribed to this option.
Another observation is the unified APCs for the journals that are being included in PubMed Central: US$1,848 and 1,399 GBP respectively. The fee in USD has remained stable for most journals. However, depending on the exchange rate between GBP and Euro (fluctuations ranging from 1.1054 to 1.4286 – GBP to Euro – in the past year, according to the Bank of England), the new price represents either a slight decrease (0.91% at the low point) or an increase of 1.17% at the high point.
For most journals that are not being included in PubMed Central, the APCs have been standardized at US$1,699 /1,299 GBP, which once again ranges from staying the same as in the year 2015 (for the APCs in USD and in some cases for the rest of the world) to an average increase of 1.47% (min being 1.28 % and max being 1.66%) for the other currencies.
However, there are a few exceptions to the standardized APCs (PMC- included or not): the journals Gene Expression to Genetical Genomics, Genomics Insights, and International Journal of Insect Science saw an increase of 1.59% in their 2016 APCs payable in GBP (1,399). Out of the three journals, Gene Expression to Genetical Genomics is not currently included in PMC.
As to the APCs stated previously in the Japanese Yen, the recent switch to the GBP had practically no impact: the charges fluctuated slightly between 0.916 % and 1.104 % compared to the previous year.
According to the LA’s website, the journals Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research, Infectious Diseases: Research and Treatment, Palliative Care: Research and Treatment, and Virology: Research and Treatment are included in PMC, however, these titles do not appear on the PMC list as of November 1st, 2016 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/journals).