Ottawa open access workshop April 1

If you are in Ottawa on Saturday, April 1, please join the open access class for an all-day workshop on OA. Registration is free, but appreciated if you plan to join us for lunch. Details and a link to register can be found here:

Thanks to students of ISI 6300, a new master’s-level special topics course on open access, for organizing the event. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons is one of the sponsors.

Scientific Research Publishing 2017: not currently in DOAJ but apparently stable and active

Scientific Research Publishing

2017 sample (5 journals)

In brief: Scientific Research Publishing is not currently listed in DOAJ, but is included in the APC study as a publisher previously included in DOAJ and the longitudinal APC study. The publisher currently has 247 titles. A sample of the 65 titles for which we have data from previous years shows stable pricing from 2016 – 2017. All journals are active, publishing 4 – 14 issues and 13 – over 100 articles in 2016. Conclusion: this publisher appears active and stable. Our sampling for 2017 is limited to these 5 journals.


Full explanation and methods notes in PDF:  Scientific Research Publishing

Download data in excel format: SRP_2017_plus_OA_APC_Main_2016sample



OA APC longitudinal study: 2016 dataset

APC data is now available for over 12,000 journals with longitudinal data going back to 2010 for selected journals.

Summary description of the dataset from the documentation article (from the 2017 data documentation preprint)

This dataset includes information on open access journals derived from publisher websites and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), developed as the base for a longitudinal study on the open access article processing charges (APC) method used by about a third of open access journals. In the APC business model, a payment is made, by an author, institution, or funding agency, for publishing an article so that the article can be freely available to everyone (open access). This dataset also includes 2015 APC data provided by Crawford [2], 2010 APC data provided by Solomon and Björk [3], a smaller set of pilot project data collected by the research team in 2013, and a fuller set of data collected on APCs by the research team in 2014 and 2015, as well as additional data relating to APC sub-model (e.g., variations in pricing, page versus article charges), analysis of publisher type, and a custom subject analysis. To date, these data were used as the basis for a 2014 DOAJ APC survey [4]. This project received funding from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council under the Insight Development Grant program for 2014–2016 and is currently funded under an Insight Grant for 2016 – 2021. At present, there is keen interest from research funders, libraries, scholars, and publishers on the economics of transition to open access. This dataset will facilitate and speed up the work of other researchers, and this document describing the data is necessary to understand and analyse the data.

The 2016 dataset is now available for download here:


What do rankings tell us about higher education? Roundtable at the Peter Wall Centre, Vancouver May 2017

May 13 – 17 I will be at a roundtable talking about rankings and higher education at the Peter Wall Centre, University of British Columbia. If you’re in Vancouver join us for one of the public events!

My approach to rankings is a critical one flowing from my theoretical perspective of irrational (or instrumental) rationality. In brief, we humans have a tendency to develop tools such as metrics to help us then become slaves to the tools. The old metrics (e.g. relying on high impact factor journals) are a barrier to productive change in scholarly communication; but will the new metrics be any better? What are your thoughts on university rankings? Comments are welcome.

OA APCs in 2016: average $840 USD, price skew at low end of range

Here is another early result from the 2016 OA APC project. Of the 3,282 journals for which we have APC data, the average is $840 USD, and the media $600, illustrating a skew towards the low end of the price range. That is to say, half of the APCs are below $600. Excluding journals with an APC of $0 (journals that clearly  use the APC model but are currently free to publish in), the average is $877 USD. This year’s average of $840 is $124 or 13% less than the average of $964 USD the team found in 2014. This finding should be interpreted with caution as pricing for specific journals may have increased substantially, with the global total offset by large numbers of journals that are small, new, or from the developing world with relatively lower APCs. The 3,282 journals are all journals for which we were able to confirm pricing and specify a particular APC. Journals using article page processing charges (APPC) are considered as a separate model and not included in this analysis. The full dataset and documentation are in progress.

The following chart and table illustrate the pricing by bands of $500.

OA APCs by price range in 500s.jpg

APC in USD by range by 500’s # of journals
0 – 500 1,486
501 – 1,000 739
1,001 – 1,500 278
1,501 – 2,000 599
2,001 – 2,500 101
2,501 – 3,000 33
3,001 – 3,500 10
3,501 – 4,000 26
4,001 – 4,500 5
4,501 – 5,000 2
5,001 – 5,250 2
Total (missing one) 3,281

OA journals study 2016: 65% free-to-publish

First result from the 2016 OA APC study: of the 12,060 journals for which we have data for 2016, 7,786 are free to publish in (noted free in Crawford (2016)*, plus no publication fee (SKC team)). 3,510 or 29% have a publication fee (APC or article page processing charge, cost specified or not specified). 404 or 3% were “cost not found”, i.e. we could not determine whether or not there is a cost associated with publishing. 343 or 3% were title not found (titles might be discontinued  or there could be technical issues with websites or connectivity). The 12,060 journals include journals whose publishers either are, or have been, listed in DOAJ, including titles from many publishers that are not currently listed in DOAJ. Dataset and detailed documentation are in progress.


* Thanks to Walt Crawford for providing open data for his Gold Open Access Jounals 2011-2016 dataset. Without this work it would not have been possible to expand the OA APC study from a sample of about a quarter of the journals listed in DOAJ to all of DOAJ and beyond. In particular, 7,040 of the journals confirmed as free to publish in are from Crawford’s work.

Crawford, W. (2016). Gold Open Access Journals 2011 – 2016.