Open Access in 2019: Which countries are the biggest publishers of OA journals?

by Hamid Pashaei and Heather Morrison

Fifty percent of the open access (OA) journals listed in DOAJ in 2019 are published in Europe, and the United Kingdom is the biggest publisher of OA journals in DOAJ. It is important to note that we do not know the extent to which OA journals are fully represented in DOAJ; we understand that there is a parallel service called Chinese Open Access Journals. There are a few surprises in the 10 largest countries in DOAJ. Latin America and the U.S. are well represented as usual, while Indonesia is now the second largest country in DOAJ, and Poland, Iran, and Turkey, are among the top 10. This may reflect the work of the DOAJ ambassadors program.

The analysis of geographical data on Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) shows that the European countries are leading the way in publication of Open Access journals by publishing 6133 journals in 2019, while Oceania and Africa published the least amount of OA journals in the same period.

The United Kingdom is the biggest publisher of open access journals by publishing 1471 journals in 2019. Indonesia and Iran are among the top 10 publishers of OA journals in 2019 that implies a growing interest in open access in these two countries.

Our team of researches collected the publication fee data for the open access journals in 2019 to see how the pricing to publish OA journals differs in different parts of the world. The results shows that while 71% of OA journals published in North American countries do not charge article processing charge (APC), but the average APC for the rest of the journals in North America is 1473 USD which is more expensive than any other part of the world. Asia with the average APC of 190 USD is the least expensive continent to publish OA journals.

Crawford (2019) published the results of his research on world open access journals in 2018 but he categorized the regions in a different way.

The following table shows the share of world OA journals in 2019 by each continent. It should be noted that the true number of OA journals in the world are higher, but here we are only analyzing the journals which geographical data on DOAJ was available.

The following table shows the percentage of journals which charge APC comparing those which do not charge APC in each continent. Because the information regarding APC was not available for some journals, the sum of APC and NO APC columns in the table for some rows is not equal to 100 percent.

Of the journals that charge APC, the average APC amount for each region is shown in the following table. The high standard deviation implies high variability in the range of prices.

According to the DOAJ data, there are 24 countries that have published more than 100 OA journals in 2019.

The summary of top 24 countries in publishing open access journals is shown below.

The method and documentation of the current research by Morrison et al. (2019) and the complete dataset is listed in the references section.

Cite as: Pashaei, H. & Morrison, H. (2019c). Open Access in 2019: Which countries are the biggest publishers of OA journals? Sustaining the knowledge commons.

Morrison, H. et al. (2019). OA Main 2019: Dataset, documentation and open peer review invitation. Sustaining the knowledge commons.

Morrison, Heather, et al. 2019, “OA APC longitudinal study dataset 2019”,, Scholars Portal Dataverse, V1

Crawford, W. (2019). Gold Open Access 2013-2018: Articles in Journals (GOA4), Livermore, CA:2019. Retrieved Oct. 31, 2019 from



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