2016 OA APC longitudinal study data and documentation: now published

Now published in Data: http://www.mdpi.com/2306-5729/2/2/13

Morrison, H.; Brutus, W.; Dumais-Desrosiers, M.; Kakou, T.L.; Laprade, K.; Merhi, S.; Ouerghi, A.; Salhab, J.; Volkanova, V.; Wheatley, S. Open Access Article Processing Charges (OA APC) Longitudinal Study 2016 Dataset. Data 2017, 2, 13. doi:10.3390/data2020013

Abstract

This article documents Open access article processing charges (OA APC) Main 2016. This dataset was developed as part of a longitudinal study of the minority (about a third) of the fully open access journals that use the APC business model. APC data for 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013 are primarily obtained from publishers’ websites, a process that requires analytic skill as many publishers offer a diverse range of pricing options, including multiple currencies and/or differential pricing by article type, length or work involved and/or discounts for author contributions to editing or the society publisher or based on perceived ability to pay. This version of the dataset draws heavily from the work of Walt Crawford, and includes his entire 2011–2015 dataset; in particular Crawford’s work has made it possible to confirm “no publication fee” status for a large number of journals. DOAJ metadata for 2016 and 2014 and a 2010 APC sample provided by Solomon and Björk are part of the dataset. Inclusion of DOAJ metadata and article counts by Crawford and Solomon and Björk provide a basis for studies of factors such as journal size, subject, or country of publication that might be worth testing for correlation with business model and/or APC size.

To download data: doi:10.5683/SP/KC2NBV

Preprint and initial data version previously announced here.

Errata

As we continue to gather data for the 2017 longitudinal study and conduct additional quality assurance processes in the course of data analysis any errata discovered in the data will be noted here and corrected.

A version 2 of the dataset is now available in the OA APC dataverse. This version corrects AOSIS publication fee data. APPC data (article page processing charges) were incorrectly identified as APCs in 2015 and 2016. The errors would have resulted in incorrect data suggesting a significant price reduction since 2010. The corrected data will result in slight changes in the numbers and percentage of journals with APCs and APPCs in 2016.

 

2010 – 2016 APC journals comparison: attrition rate

In brief: our evidence suggests an average attrition rate of APC-charging journals of approximately 1.5% – 2% per year, depending on whether one includes or excludes the anomaly of a particular business model of a new publisher (Bentham Open) starting off with a very large number of journals and retaining only successful titles.

Abstract

Solomon and Björk (2012) conducted a survey in 2010 of APCs based on a sample of 1,090 APC-charging journals that were listed in DOAJ at that time. Not all APC-charging journals in DOAJ as of 2010 were included; no journals listed in DOAJ as of 2010 that did not charge APCs were included. We compared this data with our 2016 APC survey (Morrison et al, 2017).

Of the 1,090 titles, 32 titles were published by publishers that have never been included in our longitudinal APC survey. Our survey is not limited to DOAJ, but is limited to fully OA journals that either have been listed in DOAJ in 2014, 2015, or 2016, or whose publishers have been listed in DOAJ in 2014, 2015, or 2016. Excluding the 32 titles, of the 1,058 titles studied, 849 are confirmed active in 2016, and 209 are discontinued or presumed discontinued for an attrition rate of 20% from 2010 – 2016. However it is important to note that Bentham Open is a significant anomaly, accounting for 123 of the discontinued titles from 2010 – 2016 and 4 of the discontinued titles from 2015 – 2016. Excluding these journals, the attrition rate is 82 / 935 journals or 9% over the 6 year period.

The attrition rate for 2015 – 2016 for journals studied in 2010 is 2%, or 19 of the 868 journals studied in 2015 found to be inactive in 2016. Note that 4 of these journals (25% of the total) are Bentham Open journals.

The Bentham Open anomaly reflects a particular business practice. This fairly new publisher has taken the approach of creating a large number of journals at once and appears to be retaining titles that are successful. That is, Bentham Open’s high numbers of discontinued journals need to be assessed in light of the total number of journals. In 2010, Bentham Open accounted for 211 of the 1,090 journals studied. Of these, 84 journals were active in 2016. In other words, the number of discontinued journals does not necessarily reflect an unsuccessful publisher.

In conclusion, the evidence appears to suggest an average attrition rate of about 1.5% – 2% of APC charging journals sampled, depending on whether we include or exclude the anomaly of a publisher model of starting with a large number of journals on speculation and retaining only successful titles.

Details

2010 to 2016 comparison attrition

References

Morrison, Heather; Brutus, Widlyne; Dumais-Desrosier, Myriam; Laprade, Katherine; Merhi, Salah; Ouerghi, Arbia; Salhab, Jihane; Volkanova, Victoria; Wheatley, Sara, 2017, “Open access article processing charges 2016”, doi:10.5683/SP/KC2NBV, Scholars Portal Dataverse, V2

Solomon, D. J. & Björk, B.-C. (2012) A study of open access journals using article processing charges. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 2012, 63, 1485–1495. Available online: http://www.openaccesspublishing.org/apc2/preprint.pdf

APCs in DOAJ 2017: summary of 3 studies

The DOAJ application form requests information from journals and publishers about article processing charges: whether or not there are charges, if yes the amount and currency, and a URL for more information. Is DOAJ APC data sufficient for the purposes of our longitudinal study on APC charges? In brief, we compared the APCs on publisher website for 3 publishers and conclude that no, DOAJ APC is not sufficient. There are significant differences between APC data on the websites of publishers Hindawi, MDPI, and Taylor & Francis. Conclusion: APC details in DOAJ are not sufficient for the longitudinal study of APC.

Details in brief and links to substantive posts

We used the DOAJ metadata as of Jan. 31, 2017 (our DOAJ metadata set for the 2017 APC study) for these studies.

Widlyne Brutus compared journal and APC data for Hindawi on the Hindawi website and in DOAJ – not an easy task as the title lists in DOAJ and on the Hindawi website are quite different. DOAJ includes titles that Hindawi no longer publishes (a good practice but this makes research a challenge), but not all of the titles that Hindawi currently does publish. Hindawi titles have a high rate of APC listings in DOAJ, but only 9% of the titles have the same price in DOAJ and on the publisher’s website. 144 titles have higher prices on the publisher’s website, while 45 have a lower price on the publisher’s website. Details: https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2017/03/14/hindawi-apc-le-site-web-dhindawi-versu-le-repertoire-du-doaj/

Arbia Ouerghi found that 107 MDPI titles listed in DOAJ have an APC according to the MDPI website. DOAJ has APC data for only 21 of these journals, and only 3 have the same price on the MDPI website and in DOAJ. APCs on the MDPI website are higher than those listed in DOAJ. Details: https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2017/03/02/comparaison-doaj-et-mdpi-titres-et-apc/

Katherine Laprade found 150 fully OA titles on the Taylor and Francis website. 77% of these titles have an APC according to the Taylor & Francis website, but only 1% have an APC listed in DOAJ. Of these titles, 54% have a different amount in DOAJ as compared with the publisher’s website. https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2017/03/28/taylor-francis-2017-data/

Comment (Heather Morrison): the question about whether journals charge an APC or not is a useful one, however the answer based on our research is more complex than a simple yes / no. DOAJ used to have a “conditional” charges option that I recommend re-instating. As we noted in 2014 (Morrison et al, 2015), the vast majority of fully OA journals (over 90%) have variations in pricing based on such factors as the status of the author (society member, editing contributions to the journal, location, perceived ability to pay), and the nature of the work (length, quality, type of article). A single flat-fee approach to APC does exist but is not that common. Collecting specific APC information and keeping it up to date will depend on publishers updating DOAJ every time there is a price change. It seems likely that DOAJ’s APC information will become more and more outdated over time. The yes / no / conditional information and link to where to find the information seem likely to be stable and useful, but DOAJ and its user community might want to reconsider the costs and benefits of capturing specific APC amounts.

Reference

Morrison, H.; Salhab, J.; Calvé-Genest, A.; Horava, T. Open Access Article Processing Charges: DOAJ Survey May 2014. Publications 2015, 3, 1-16. doi:10.3390/publications3010001

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: https://oa20171avril.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/all-day-open-access-workshop-at-university-of-ottawa/

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.

Details

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

Update: peer review has been completed and an announcement about the published version of the article is posted here.

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.5683/SP/KC2NBV