Pricing in more than one currency and pricing for local authors

Molecular Systems Biology http://msb.embopress.org/authorguide “levies an Article Processing Charge (APC) of 2,950 EUROS (3,900 USD/GBP 2,500) for each Research Articles or Reports accepted for publication. There are no additional costs (such as page charges or submission charges).” The 2,950 EUROS is a 2% price decrease from the 3,000 EUROS we noted last year. But is it really a price decrease? Correction May 22: I got the currency difference backwards – a 21% loss in the EUR should mean a 21% price increase in the EUR, not decrease. The basic concept that it is not possible to understand whether prices are flat, decreasing or increasing without having information on the pricing in all the currencies remains. Original wording: As we recently calculated, the EURO has lost 21% in comparison with the USD over the past year. If the USD is the primary currency (likely the reason for the current EUR price decrease), then the equivalent in EUR today would be 2,370 EUR. What looks like a 50 EUR or 2% price decrease may actually be a 580 EUR or 24% increase.  Last year we did not capture pricing in all the currencies so cannot confirm.

The International Journal of Engineering Innovations and Research is one of many journals and publishers offering pricing in more than one currency. In this case, only Indian authors have the option of paying in INR. The price in USD has decreased slightly from 2014, from 125 to 120, likely reflecting the stronger US currency. We did not capture the price in INR in 2014 for comparison purposes. From http://www.ijeir.org/index.php/authors/article-prossecing-fee

For foreign

  • 120 USD for publishing.
  • Paper should not be greater than 10 pages.
  • For each extra page, 5 USD will be charged.

Indian author will be charge

  • Rs. 4000/- upto 10 pages of paper.

For each extra page, Rs. 250/- will be charged.

Science Domain International has an interesting approach, at least for now: the pricing after a special time-limited discount is applied (April to end of May 2015) of 80 – 95% for each journal is presented as the effective price in US, EUR, INR, GBP and CNY. It is clear that the base price is $500 USD with the other prices included as explanation.

This is just one example; there are many publishers offering pricing in different currencies, often combined with differential pricing based on where the author is from.

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

DOAJ Added after March 2014, Has Charges: Preliminary Analysis

On May 16, 2015 I manually gathered APC and currency information for the 388 journals in DOAJ added after March 2014 that have publication fees, using a DOAJ Advanced Search / limit by journal then Article Processing Charges / Yes. The data for this subset has been posted in the OA APC dataverse (file name DOAJ Accepted after 2014 has charges). Some preliminary observations follow.

Highlights

Last year we found about 6% of journals actually had per-page rather than per-article charges; this model is not represented in DOAJ at all. This model has some logic to it, so this may be an unfortunate side-effect of the new DOAJ form and application process. The average APC in USD varies quite a bit by original currency, with journals charging in Great Britain Pounds (GBP) charging double journals charging in Euros. Could UK funders’ enthusiasm for paying APCs be a factor? The difference in APC by currency can help to explain the advantages of local publishing; it makes sense for an Indian scholar to pay an average equivalent of $32 USD rather than about 30 times this amount, the average for journals charging in USD. While the average APC of this subset is lower than we found last year, there are more journals at the top of the price range; 5 journals over the $4,000 mark as compared with only 1 from our sample last year.

Details

While the average APC in USD of this subset is lower than the average we found in 2014 ($933 vs. $964), the data seems to suggest several different tendencies happening at the same time.  Last year we found that about 6% of journals actually used a per-page rather than per-article cost. There is no way for journals to indicate this model today. This means that journals using this model either cannot participate in the DOAJ re-application process, or have to change their model. There is some logic to page charges as at least some of the costs of publishing (e.g. copyediting and proofreading) will vary depending on the length of the article. It would be unfortunate to drop this model simply because of the central importance of DOAJ for open access journals and the desire for simplicity in filling out the form.

The average may be lower, but there are more journals at the top of the price range. In 2014, of the 1,326 journals we looked at that had an APC, only one journal sampled had an APC of over $4000; only 6 had APCs of $3000 or higher. This May, out of a much smaller sample of 388 journals, 5 journals charge more than $4,000 and 10 have APCs of $3,000 or higher.

The average price in USD varies quite a bit by currency. The average price for journals charging in Great Britain Pounds (GBP) is double the amount for journals charging in Euros and 68% higher than journals charging in USD. Could the UK’s enthusiasm for paying APCs be a factor?

DOAJ accepted after 2015 has charges aver by currency

16 currencies are represented in this sub-sample, however 3 currencies dominate. 61% of these journals charge in USD, 21% in Euros and 9% in GBP, accounting for more than 90% of the total. Looking at the average amounts by currency may help to explain the advantages of local publishing. If you’re in India it’s probably a lot easier to come up with an average APC of 1,500 Indian rupees, the equivalent of $32 USD, rather than the average $969 of journals that charge in USD, roughly 30 times the amount.

DOAJ accepted after 2014 has charges currency percents

Method note: currency conversions were done using the Bank of Canada daily currency converter on May 17, 2015, in addition to the Central Banks of Khazakistan and the Ukraine (thanks to Wikipedia for the pointer to where to find this information). The Bank of Canada calculations can be verified at a later date using their 10-year currency converter. We may have more on this subset at a later date after the data is entered into the main spreadsheet with other DOAJ metadata and compared with our publisher website checks.

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