DOAJ APC information as of Jan 31, 2018

DOAJ 2018 APCs: an overview

by Heather Morrison


The purposes of this small study are to determine the extent to which the longitudinal open access article processing charges (OA APC) project can rely on DOAJ APC data rather than individual journal lookup, to capture some highlights of DOAJ APC data as of January 31, 2018, and compare these with our 2014 survey of DOAJ journals charging APCs. Selected findings: 71% of the 11,001 journals listed in DOAJ do not charge APCs [emphasis added to avoid adding to conflation of OA with APC]. For most journals, a URL as to where this information can be found is provided, indicating that DOAJ staff have verified that there are no publication charges. 28% do charge APCs, and the remainder have no information on APCs. The average price converted to USD is nearly identical in 2014 and 2018, however the reader is advised to read the details and limitations, as this must be interpreted with caution. Of the 3,131 journals with APCs, 37 different currencies are listed. A few currencies dominate, particularly USD at nearly half of the journals. A breakdown of average prices and range of prices by currency are presented. The most remarkable finding is the range; on average the highest APC for a given currency is close to 4,000 times higher than the lowest APC. This tends to support our 2014 conclusion of a volatile APC market. In conclusion, DOAJ metadata is very useful for the OA APC study, and in particular can be considered a reliable source for journals with no publication charges.


On January 31, 2018 the DOAJ metadata set was downloaded from, saved in .csv format, opened in Open Office in Unicode to retain non-English characters, and saved as .ods and .xls. The excel file is used for data processing, and the other formats are retained as backups. APC amounts were converted to USD using the XE currency converter web service * as of January 31, 2018, the date of data collection.


As of January 31, 2018, the DOAJ metadata file included 11,001 journals. DOAJ now includes some ceased journals, for example the Hindawi ISRN series which has been collapsed into a single journal, a good practice because content in these journals is still valuable and should not be removed from the primary journal directory in the area of open access. However, there is no indication in the metadata regarding ceased journals; although the vast majority are still active, the actual number of active journals listed in DOAJ does not appear to be possible to discern.

Of the 11,001 journals, the response to the question: “Does the journal have article processing charges?” (Journal article processing charges is the column name in the metadata spreadsheet) is:

  Number of journals % of total (rounded)
No 7,766 71%
Yes 3,131 28%
No information 104 1%
Total 11,001 100%

Of the 7, 766 journals indicating “no” to the APC question, 7,438 have a URL listed in the column “APC information URL”. According to DOAJ Operations Manager Dominic Mitchell (2018), when a URL is listed in this column, it means that DOAJ staff have verified the information. This means that when DOAJ metadata says “no” to the APC question and an “APC information URL” is listed, one can be quite confident that the journal does not have an APC, at least not at the time of checking. That’s 68% of the total journals listed in DOAJ that have been vetted and found not to have publication charges. For the purposes of the longitudinal study, these journals will be identified as “no publication charge” for 2018. A random sampling of these journals might be advisable in the future to view whether APC charging status has changed.

In response to the question, “Does the journal have article submission charges?” there were 212 “yes” responses, a bit less than 2% of the journals listed in DOAJ. All journals with submission charges also have APCs listed. Submission charge data are noted for the purpose of completeness; they are not considered in the following results and discussion, as there is no indication in DOAJ as to whether submission charges are deducted from the APC if an article is accepted for publication.


Of the 3,131 journals listed as having an APC, a total of 37 currencies are listed. USD accounts for nearly half of the total. USD, GBP, and EUR together account for about 80% of the total. Chart 1 below illustrates the frequency of currencies representing over 1% of the total APC-charging journals.

Chart 1: APC charging journals in DOAJ January 2018 by currency
Table 1 below lists APC averages, range, and range ratio by currency. The range ratio is included to illustrate the wide spread of APCs within currencies. No range is provided by currencies with just one journal. The average range ratio is 3,781; in other words, on average the highest APC for a given currency is close to 4,000 times higher than the lowest APC. The range in USD is $1 – $5,000. In EUR, it’s 10 – 3,300.

DOAJ APC-charging journals as of January 31, 2018    
APC average, range and range ratio by currency      
Currency # journals APC average Range – low Range – high Range ratio high / low
ARS – Argentine Peso 6 2,504 26 5,000 192
AUD – Australian Dollar 6 460 120 2,000 17
BRL – Brazilian Real 57 540 12 3,000 250
CAD – Canadian Dollar 3 327 30 750 25
CHF – Swiss Franc 116 710 156 2,080 13
CNY – Yuan Renminbi 22 1,583 100 4,900 49
COP – Colombian Peso 2 90,000 30,000 150,000 5
CZK – Czech Koruna 1 8,000      
EGP – Egyptian Pound 4 1,288 750 2,000 3
EUR – Euro 465 581 10 3,300 330
GBP – Pound Sterling 467 1,272 100 3,150 32
IDR – Rupiah 219 568,842 50 5,000,000 100,000
INR – Indian Rupee 23 4,030 50 17,500 350
IQD – Iraqi Dinar 6 43,363 50 125,000 2,500
IRR – Iranian Rial 34 5,916,176 250 150,000 600
JPY – Yen 6 98,333 5,000 135,000 27
KRW – Won 8 221,500 42,000 300,000 7
KZT – Tenge 1 2,000      
MDL – Moldovan Leu 5 250 250 250 1
MXN – Mexican Peso 4 2,070 150 5,600 37
MYR – Malaysian Ringgit 1 250      
NGN – Naira 2 5,500 5,000 6,000 1
Currency # journals APC average Range – low Range – high Range ratio high / low
NOK – Norwegian Krone 5 9,800 4,000 14,000 4
PKR – Pakistan Rupee 3 1,667 1,000 3,000 3
PLN – Zloty 21 531 40 1,230 31
RON – New Romanian Leu 3 217 150 300 2
RSD – Serbian Dinar 1 15,000      
RUB – Russian Ruble 16 6,359 300 19,000 63
SAR – Saudi Riyal 1 1,093      
THB – Baht 1 243 120 450 4
TRY – Turkish Lira 4 2,500      
TWD – New Taiwan Dollar 3  2,333 1,000 3,000 3
UAH – Hryvnia 33 542 40 2,000 50
USD – US Dollar 1,539 1,035 1 5,000 5,000
VEF – Bolivar 1 7,500      
XAF – CFA Franc BEAC 1 100,000      
ZAR – Rand 41 4,776 200 10,550 53
Total (journals); average (range ratio) 3,131       3,781

Table 1. APC average, range and range ratio by currency

Average APC in USD

The average APC in USD was $937; the median (mid-point) and mode (most common APC) were both $600.

In comparison with our 2014 survey of journals listed in DOAJ with APCs (Morrison et al, 2015):

  • the percentage of journals listed in DOAJ that charge APCs is nearly identical (26% in 2014, 28% in 2018)
  • the average (mean) APC in USD is nearly identical $964 in 2014 versus $937 in 2018 (see limitations)
  • the mode (most common) APC was reported as $0 in 2014 and is $600 USD in 2018 (see limitations)

The wide range of APC within most currencies lends support to the conclusion of our 2014 APC survey (Morrison et al, 2015) that the APC market at the current time is volatile. This makes prediction of future trends, necessary for budgeting purposes for those support this model, difficult.


2014 data is drawn from publisher websites rather than DOAJ. The finding of a mode of $0 in 2014 was based on inclusion of APC-based publishers who are planning to charge APCs, but had not yet begun to do so. In 2018, it is not clear how or if this model would be captured by DOAJ metadata. For this reason, the significance of the difference in mode and the near identical APC amounts in USD should be interpreted with caution.

DOAJ metadata on APCs reflects a necessary simplification of complex data. DOAJ has 2 fields for publication costs, APC and submission fees, and one currency listing. However there are a wide variety of publication fee models in use, including per-page rather than per-article costs. Many journals still publish in print and have print-based publication costs such as extra charges for images and/or colour. Multiple prices including pricing in different currencies is common, as is different pricing based on such factors as type or length of article, discounts for developing countries, for society or institutional members; the wide variety of models was covered in some detail in Morrison et al. (2015). It is not clear how often DOAJ metadata on APC amounts is updated, and there could be differences between journals and publishers with respect to the frequency of updates. For this reason collecting data from journal and publisher websites will continue to be necessary for the OA APC project.

* in previous years Bank of Canada rates were used, however currently currency conversion options for previous years seem to be limited.


Mitchell, D. (2018). Personal e-mail. February 2, 2018

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

Biographical information and acknowledgements

Heather Morrison is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Studies and Principal Investigator of the Sustaining the Knowledge Commons (SKC) research program sponsored by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) via an Insight Grant (2016 – 2021). Heather is an open access advocate, and the purpose of the SKC project is to facilitate the economics of transition of scholarly publishing to support a sustainable global open access knowledge commons. Thanks to the SKC and DOAJ teams who do most of the work that makes this research possible.

To download a PDF version:

DOAJ 2018 overview blogpost


2016 OA APC longitudinal study data and documentation: now published

Now published in Data:

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


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.


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.


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.


2010 to 2016 comparison attrition


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:

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:

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:

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.

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.


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

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

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: