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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Cite as:

Salhab, J. (2016). Hindawi publisher: 2016 findings and longitudinal comparison of APC rates. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/04/27/hindawi-publisher-2016-findings-and-longitudinal-comparison-of-apc-rates/


OA APC preliminary data 2015: range, central tendencies and preliminary longitudinal analysis

by Heather Morrison & Jihane Salhab

Noting the important caveat of the mythical nature of “the OA APC” as a single per-article price, following are the range, central tendencies and some highlights from our 2015 OA APC data.

Note that a2015APCll prices are in USD.





The overall average of journals sampled in 2015 was $998, compared to $964 in 2014 and $906 reported by Solomon & Björk in 2010. These are modest average increases (4% 2014 – 2015, 2% per year from 2010 – 2015). However, the average may mask contradictory tendencies, such as low or no fees for new journals to attract content obscuring increases for journals that either are, or are be2014-15 price changescoming, established.

From 2014 – 2015 on a per-title basis there was a fairly even 3-way split between journals that retained the same price, increased or decreased their price.

Different publishers show different tendencies. Hindawi, the largest OA publisher by number of journals, has such an 2015apcnohindawiimpact we are beginning to call this the “Hindawi factor”. In 2015, the overall mode (most common price) is $800, while the mode without Hindawi is $2,145. The following two charts illustrate the variation in pricing tendencies from 2010 – 2015 for the two largest OA APC publishers, Hindawi and BMC, reflecting the differences in approach to pricing for these publishers over the same time frame.

hindawi 20102015 BMC20102015 APC 2010 to 2015

The above chart shows a relatively steady average and median in contrast with a varying mode (most common price) from 2010 – 2015.

It is important to note that the samples are not entirely comparable. Notably, to facilitate the longitudinal study we have not included new publishers listed in DOAJ as of 2015. This is an important limitation. For example,  DeGruyter, not present in 2014, is the 3rd largest DOAJ publisher in 2015. The following details illustrate that the average cost-to-publish in a fully OA journal with publication fees in 2015 varies from about $250 USD to $2,145 USD, depending on the measure and particular sample of journals selected.


Range: $0 – $4,500

$0 APC = journals has APCs but currently price is $0. Most commonly this is used by journals that are “free for now” until more content is added.

Average (mean) Median Mode Standard deviation
Preliminary sample (all) 1,051


800 800 795
Preliminary sample (weighted) 858
Preliminary sample (excluding $0 APC) 1114
Preliminary sample (excluding $0 APC) weighted 1370

Preliminary sample: includes the 1,363 journals sampled in 2010, 2013 and/or 2014 confirmed as using APCs (excluding journals using APPC but not APC). APC of $0 (journals for which APC method is confirmed but no current charges, e.g. “free for now” approach) are included unless otherwise specified. The weighted figures adjust by a sampling factor designed to give added weight to journals from categories with lower rates of sampling, journals by publishers with less than 10 journals using APCs.

Full sample: 1,999 journals including preliminary sample plus additional journals sampled from publisher’s website.

Average (mean) Median Mode
All 998


800 600
Weighted 866
Excluding $0 APC 1,077


Excluding $0 APC) weighted 1,034


See above for description of “weighted”.

More details will be posted as our data analysis continues.

Cite as:

Morrison, H., & Salhab, J. (2015). OA APC preliminary data 2015: Range, central tendencies and preliminary longitudinal analysis. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2015/12/03/oa-apc-preliminary-data-2015-range-central-tendencies-and-preliminary-longitudinal-analysis/

Sustaining the Knowledge Commons – Open Access Scholarship, IDRC 2015

Cite the original presentation as:

Morrison, H., & Salhab, J. (2015, September). Sustaining the knowledge commons: Open access scholarship, IDRC. Overview of the Sustaining the Knowledge Commons project presented at the International Development Reesarch Center (IDRC), Ottawa. Retrieved from http://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/32845

The presentation powerpoint can also be downloaded from this link.

In the E.U.? Your USD APCs cost 21% more than a year ago

by Jihane Salhab and Heather Morrison

The following chart and table (thanks to Jihane) are designed to illustrate the impact of currency fluctuations on OA APCs assuming an international approach to publishing. If you are in the E.U., an APC in USD that has not changed in price over the past year will cost you 21% more today than it did a year ago, due solely to the rising strength of the U.S. dollar. Conversely, in the US your APC dollars buy more in EUR, GPB, JPY or Canadian dollars today than they did a year ago. A strong currency works in your favour when you are buying (paying for APCs), but to your detriment when you are selling (your prices went up even though you didn’t change them; you are less competitive). This makes budgeting for APCs difficult for libraries, universities, and funders. This is important because libraries, universities and funders generally work within the constraints of fixed budgets. This variation due to currency fluctuations is a disadvantage of international publishing whether based on APCs or subscriptions. Using local services to the greatest extent possible is one way to avoid or minimize the impact of currency fluctuations. This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

USD vs. other currencies 2014-15

1 USD (2014) 1 USD (2015) % of value loss to the US Dollar
Canadian Dollar 1.09 CAD 1.20 CAD 10%
Japanese yen 101.46 JPY 119.38 JPY 18%
UK pound sterling 0.60 GBP 0.63 GBP 5%
European Euro 0.73 EUR 0.88 EUR 21%

Cite as:

Salhab, J., & Morrison, H. (2015). In the E.U.? Your USD APCs cost 21% more than a year ago. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2015/05/20/in-the-e-u-your-usd-apcs-cost-21-more-than-a-year-ago/

How a flat APC with no price increase for 3 years can be a 6% – 77% price increase

by Jihane Salhab and Heather Morrison

The purpose of this post is to explain the impact of currency differences on article processing charges. Over the past few years megajournal PLOS ONE has been a good model in at least one way, maintaining the APC of $1,350 USD with no price increase over several years. However, if you happen to be paying in Euros, the PLOS ONE APC rose 14% from March to December of 2014, or 23% from March 20, 2014 to March 20, 2015. In South Africa, the price increased 58% in the same 3-year period; in Brazil, the price increase was 77%. Click on the following link to view the PLOS ONE price rises from March to December 2014 and from March 2012 to March 2015 in 8 currencies.

The PLOS ONE APC 8 curr

Any scholarly publishing system that involves cross-border payments, whether demand side (subscriptions / payments) or supply side (APC, journal hosting or other production services) has this disadvantage of pricing variability almost everywhere. In this case, US payers benefit from the flat fee, but anytime an APC is paid for a US scholar publishing in an international venue the same pricing variations based on currency will apply. In contrast, any scholarly publishing system that involves local payments (e.g. hosting of local journals, paying local copyeditors and proofreaders) has the advantage of relative pricing stability that comes with paying in the local currency.

This post is part of the open access article processing charges project.

Cite as:

Salhab, J., & Morrison, H. (2015). How a flat APC with no price increase for 3 years can be a 6% – 77% price increase. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2015/05/13/how-a-flat-apc-with-no-price-increase-for-3-years-can-be-a-6-77-price-increase/

Who is served by for-profit gold open access publishing? A case study of Hindawi and Egypt

by: Jihane Salhab and Heather Morrison


The highly successful Egypt-based open access publisher Hindawi is presented as a model of quality publishing and commercial success. However, this success is not accompanied by obvious benefits to Egypt’s own research and researchers. Even in the best-case scenario for academics in Egypt’s public university system, it would take three month’s salary for a full professor to pay the $1,500 USD OA APC of Hindawi’s high-end Disease Markers. Egypt’s largest public university, Cairo University, has no institutional repository. Fortunately for Egyptian researchers, there are open access journals that do not charge APCs, and not all open access repositories are institutional repositories. Open access may not be the most salient issue for Egyptian researchers at any rate. It is not clear that the pre-revolutionary state interference with research detailed in a 2005 Human Rights Watch report has been resolved, and the need to take on other work due to low salaries leaves many academics with little to no time to do research. In this instance, commercial success is not correlated with social benefit.


Hindawi is an open access commercial publishing success story and an Egyptian business success story. Hindawi Publishing Corporation was founded by Ahmed Hindawi who, in an interview with Richard Poynder conducted in September 2012, confirmed a revenue of millions of dollars from APCs alone – a $3.3 net profit on $12 million in revenue, a 28% profit rate (Poynder, 2012). Hindawi is highly respected in open access publishing circles, and was an early leader in establishing the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA), an organization that takes quality in publishing seriously.

However, it seems highly unlikely that Egyptian researchers could afford to publish in the larger Hindawi journals. It would take three months’ salary for a full professor in today’s public university system to pay the $1,500 USD APC of Hindawi’s Disease Markers; this would take six months’ salary for a lecturer. This is the best-case scenario, assuming a university that has been able to implement the raise for academics decreed by Morsi in July 2012 to 3500 EGY monthly for a full professor ($579 USD) (1).

In addition to the financial factor, years of the pre-revolution regime’s interference with research subjects and methods formed a stagnant nature of contemporary scholarship where “the state restricts who can research what and severely punishes those who overstep their bounds” (Human Rights Watch, 46). Though there is a slight improvement after the revolution, still “economic, political, and physical insecurity in the country make it very difficult for serious changes to be made” (El-Awady, 2013).

There are other options for Egyptian researchers: the vast majority of open access journals do not charge article processing fees (Morrison et. al., 2015), there are subject as well as institutional open access repositories, and Egyptian researchers can read open access works of others. Still it might be reasonable to ask whether the most appropriate route to “open” in the short-term for researchers in Egypt involves opening up time to do the research through adequate salaries and opening up freedom to conduct and share research by building support for intellectual and academic freedom.


1. In July 2012, more than a year after the revolution that ousted the Mubarak regime, elected president Morsi issued decree 84, amending the wages for academics that had not been changed since 1972. Published on July 14th in the Egyptian Official Journal (issue 28), Decree 84 (translated from Arabic by Jihane Salhab). lists the amendments of academics’ monthly wages as follows: 3500 EGY ($579 US) for professors, 3000 EGY ($497 US) for associate professors, 2500 EGY ($414 US) for lecturers, 1500 EGY ($248 US) for assistant lecturers and 1000EGY ($165 US) for teaching assistants respectively (using XE currency converter for that same date at a rate of $1=6.045 EGY). That raise was supposed to be only the first phase, but in February 2013 Egyptian minister of higher education Mas’ad confirmed in a statement that no other phases would follow (Bedewi, 2013).


Bedewi, M. (24 February 2013). Higher education: the country cannot endure the second phase of ‘academic wages.’ Al-Youm Al-Sabe’ [In Arabic]. Retrieved on 10 April 2015.

El-Awady, Nadia. (8 June 2013). Higher education still suffering after the revolution. University World News. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130606161959301

Human Rights Watch (2005). Reading between the “Red Lines”: the repression of academic freedom in Egyptian universities. Human Rights Watch, 17(6): 1-109. Retrieved February 17, 2015 from http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/egypt0605/egypt0605.pdf

Morrison H, Salhab J, Calvé-Genest A, Horava T (2015). Open Access Article Processing Charges: DOAJ Survey May 2014. Publications 3(1):1-16. Retrieved April 10, 2015 from http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/3/1/1

Poynder, R. (2012).The OA interviews: Ahmed Hindawi, founder of Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Retrieved March 10, 2015 from http://www.richardpoynder.co.uk/Hindawi_Interview.pdf

This post is the first in a series analyzing the actual or potential impact of APCs.

Cite as:

Salhab, J., & Morrison, H. (2015). Who is served by for-profit gold open access publishing? A case study of Hindawi and Egypt. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2015/04/10/who-is-served-by-for-profit-gold-open-access-publishing-a-case-study-of-hindawi-and-egypt/


Sustaining the Knowledge Commons team at CASRAI Reconnect 2014


The Sustaining the Knowledge Commons Team (left to right Heather Morrison, Alexis Calvé-Genest, Jihane Salhab and Tony Horava) presenting at the CASRAI Reconnect conference in Ottawa, Nov. 20, 2014. Click the link below to view the team’s presentation in PDF. The uO Recherche (IR) link can be found in the citation.


Cite as:

Morrison, H., Calvé-Genest, A., & Salhab, J. (2014, November). Sustaining the knowledge commons: Open access scholarship. Presented at the CASRAI reconnect, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Retrieved from http://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/32314

Copernicus Publications: when length of articles and choice of templates matter

Copernicus Open Access publishing requires the author or a supporting institution to pay the Article Page Processing Charges (APPC). These cover the cost of the review process, typesetting, web publication and long term archiving, upon publication. Copernicus also gives the author the choice of customization, using a complex system for calculating its APPCs based on the number of pages published and the format of the material submitted. As Copernicus puts it, “authors can directly influence the price of the publication.”
Accordingly, what makes the financing models at Copernicus variant and flexible are charges that are based on article length and sources files (Word/LaTeX). For example, publishing a 10 page article (without calculating the additional tax) in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics could vary from €792 when using the publisher’s LaTeX template, to €1122 when using a different LaTeX template. Another option might be to use the publisher’s Word template and pay €957, or else pay €1287 when using another Word template. Surely, there is always the author’s choice between the publisher’s LaTeX and Word templates; i.e. between paying €792 or €957 respectively. Of course, fewer pages would cost the author even less.
In addition, Copernicus Publications provides several agreements where settlement of payments can be done directly between the publisher and the respective institution, given that members of those institutions opt to use Copernicus’s templates. For example, members of ETH Zurich, do not pay any publication fees for any of Copernicus’s journals if they use their LaTex or Word template. However, if an author does not use one of these templates, Copernicus will charge the difference to the author.
As to authors who lack financial support, Copernicus waivers policy provides another way to lower the price as they can benefit from the budget of free pages which is assigned by the chief editor of each journal.

Cite as:

Salhab, J. (2014). Copernicus Publications: When length of articles and choice of templates matter. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2014/10/23/copernicus-publications-when-length-of-articles-and-choice-of-templates-matter/

Sustaining the Knowledge Commons (SKC) – Selected Bibliography on Open Access

Update December 2019: this bibliography is still available, but is no longer updated. Thanks to Jihane for her work on this. Keeping up with open access is challenging – the most comprehensive and ambitious effort to date is the crowdsourced Open Access Tracking Project. Please follow and join! ~ hm

Sustaining the Knowledge Commons (SKC) bibliography is a growing list of scholarly articles, books, book chapters, reports as well as primary publications. What began as a bibliographic list designated to the Open Access Article Processing Charges (APC), a project worked on by Heather Morrison, Tony Horava and Stephen Pinfield, has become a more general folder. It comprises the suite of projects under SKC, a concept aiming to remove barriers between all people, whether poor or rich, and the world’s scholarly knowledge. This  Zotero SKC folder will enable the users not only to access the metadata and abstracts of the sources, but also, when possible, provide links to sources that are freely available on the internet. Users will view, print, search by titles, authors, etc., export or generate a reference list to enable collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

This is a folder in progress and more reference recommendations are always welcomed. Please note that you are free to send us suggestions to improve the folder or to add to it.

June 30, 2014 Dramatic Growth of Open Access

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access series was updated June 30, 2014 by Heather Morrison and Jihane Salhab. In case you have technical difficulty accessing this link, the whole post is re-blogged here. Highlights this quarter include charts that demonstrate more than half a million items funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health that are now freely available, and indications that the Public Access Policy is working – after 3 years, NIH funded items are more than twice as likely to be open access than any item regardless of funding.

Dramatic Growth of Open Access June 30, 2014

The June 30, 2014 Dramatic Growth of Open Access celebrates the milestone of more than half a million articles funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health that are now freely accessible! After 3 years, the percentage of items found through a PubMed search funded by NIH rises to 71% (for NIH staff), 66% for NIH external funded research, and 31% for any article regardless of funding. At first glance, this looks a lot like evidence suggesting the NIH Public Access Policy is very effective, more than doubling the percentage of items freely available! Thanks to Jihane Salhab from the Sustaining the Knowledge Commons team for the charts, data gathering and analysis of PMC Free this quarter.

Research Support, N.I.H. Extramural + Intramural
Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural [pt]
 Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural [pt]
No Limits (No distinction based on researcher)

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series is a quarterly series (end of March, June, September, and December) of key data illustrating the growth of open access, with additional comments and analysis. The series is available in open data and blogpost (commentary) editions. The quarterly series began December 31, 2005, and is predated by a peer-reviewed journal article featuring data as of February 2005. To download the data or the rationale & method, see the Dramatic Growth of Open Access dataverse. Morrison, Heather, 2014-03, “Dramatic Growth of Open Access”, http://hdl.handle.net/10864/10660 Morrison, Heather [Distributor] V1 [Version].  The rationale and method has not been updated; March 31 is the latest. If you are using the June 30, 2014 PMC Free data, please Morrison, Heather and Salhab, Jihane.

More highlights this quarter

By the numbers, it’s usually the large, well-established and much used services that tend to impress. This quarter, the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine added 140 content providers and over 2 million documents for a total of over 3,000 content providers (illustrating the growth of the repository movement) and 62 million items (illustrating the growth of self-archiving). The Internet Archive gathered another 14 billion webpages for a total of 416 billion. The Electronic Journals library added another 958 journals that can be read free-of-charge for a total of over 45 thousand free journals. PubMedCentral added about 100 thousand free articles, for a total of over 3 million, and the number of journals actively contributing to PMC that now provide immediate free access grew by 63 to a total of 1,315. Searchable article growth in DOAJ was 75,000, bringing the total number of articles searchable by article in DOAJ to over 1.6 million.

By percentage growth, it’s the newest services starting off with nothing that have the greatest ability to impress. SCOAP3, the high energy physics full flip to open access global collaboration, started this January and nearly doubled the article count this quarter, to a total of over 2,000 articles. The Directory of Open Access Books added 6 publishers and 175 books for a total of 68 publishers and over 200 books.

Highwire Press added 8 completely free sites, for a total of 107 completely free sites, 8% growth this quarter (annual equivalent 32%).

Items of interest since March 31, 2014

  • June 4: the home page for Peter Suber’s MIT Press book Open Access passed the milestone of 100,000 page views (I highly recommend this as an excellent brief starting point for learning about OA).

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Cite as:

Morrison, H., & Salhab, J. (2014). June 30, 2014 Dramatic Growth of Open Access. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2014/07/07/june-30-2014-dramatic-growth-of-open-access/