Libertas Academica: average 18% to 56% price increase 2015 over 2014

Update December 2019: in 2016 Sage acquired Libertas Academica. As noted on SKC in 2018, some of the Libertas Academica titles have ceased publishing. Titles that are still publishing are available via the Sage website; titles that have ceased publishing are available via CLOCKSS. These are good practices, but at the same time a good illustration of a danger that assuming that an OA publisher is “forever”. The Libertas Academic website per se is no longer available; any author, reader, or editor who goes to this site looking for content that used to be there might not find what they were looking for.

Libertas Academica posts APCs in three currencies, USD, Japanese Yen, and Euro, which results in 3 different average APC price increases: 18% for USD, 56% for Japanese Yen, and 21% for Euro. The only price decreases were in Euros; a few journals decreased 12% in price. In Japanese Yen, the range of price increases is from no increase to 249% of the 2014 price (i.e. more than double the 2014 price). In USD, the range is from no increase to a 79% price increase. The current inflation rate as calculated by Statistics Canada (may vary elsewhere) is 1.2%, so these average price rises are a very great deal higher than inflation. These are price increases that match or exceed the steep price increases of serials in the past century as recorded in the report of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Serials Pricing Project.

These are price increases on already substantial prices. For example, journals with APCs of $1,699 USD in 2014 are now $1,848 (9% increase). Journals that were $950 USD in 2014 are now $1,699 USD (79% increase).

Average APCs for Libertas Academica in 2015

1,848 USD
22,550 Japanese Yen
1,705 EUR

There are 76 titles listed on the Libertas Academica website today, down from 81 in 2014. It is not clear how readers would find articles published in the other 5 journals. This poses issues for readers and authors alike; discussion and recommendations are available in the title not found: room for improvement in maintaining access to content in ceased journals post.

Full data for the above has been posted in the OA APC dataverse.

50 of the Libertas Academic titles are listed in DOAJ. Another 32 OA APC Libertas titles are not listed in DOAJ. The titles are:

Advances in Tumor Virology
Bone and Tissue Regeneration Insights
Cell & Tissue Transplantation & Therapy
Cell Biology Insights
Cell Communication Insights
Clinical Medicine Insights: Psychiatry
Clinical Medicine Insights: Trauma and Intensive Medicine
Clinical Medicine Insights: Urology
Gene Expression to Genetical Genomics
Genomics Insights
Glycobiology Insights
Health Services Insights
Healthy Aging & Clinical Care in the Elderly
Human Parasitic Diseases
Immunology and Immunogenetics Insights
Immunotherapy Insights
Indian Journal of Clinical Medicine
Indian Journal of Clinical Medicine
Journal of Experimental Nuroscience
Journal of Genomes and Exomes
Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemias
Medical Equipment Insights
Organic Chemistry Insights
Particle Physics Insights
Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry
Primary Prevention Insights
Proteomics Insights
Rehabilitation Process and Outcome
Reproductive Biology Insights
Signal Transduction Insights
Tobacco Use Insights
Translational Oncogenomics

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

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). Libertas Academica: Average 18% to 56% price increase 2015 over 2014. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

Title not found: room for improvement in maintaining access to articles when journals disappear

Update July 3: 11 “titles not found” have been added, 9 for BioMedCentral and 1 for Springer Open, for a total of 15 titles so far.

Some open access journal publishers and services may not have much experience in the complexities of keeping track of journals and articles as journals change over time. The purpose of this post is to highlight the loss of ready access that occurs when a journal ceases publication and is removed from DOAJ, and sometimes from the publisher’s website as well. It is understandable that DOAJ wishes to focus on and encourage active open access journals, however removing content when journals cease is a disservice to readers and authors alike.


Authors: always post a copy of your article in an open access archive, even if you have published in an open access journal.

Open access journal publishers: if a title ceases to exist, do not remove the title from your website (unless it had no articles at all). If the journal has changed title, add a link to help the reader make the connection. If the title has ceased, include a note to that effect.

DOAJ: indicate that journals have ceased rather than removing them from DOAJ. Include a field to indicate whether journals are active or not. There is an “end date” in DOAJ which seems like a good candidate to use for that purpose.

Examples of title not found

These 9 titles were on the BioMedCentral website in 2014, but have disappeared as of May 2015:

BMC Medical Physics
Genome Integrity
International Archives of Medicine
Journal of Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Injury
Journal of Molecular Signaling
Longevity & Healthspan
Microbial Informatics and Experimentation
Nuclear Receptor Signaling

These titles were on the Libertas Academica website in 2014, but have disappeared as of May 2015:

      • Autism Insights
      • Cell Biology Insights
      • Clinical Medical Insights: Dermatology
      • Immunotherapy Insights
      • Particle Physics Insights

Sciedu Press

  • Journal of Haematological Malignancies – last issue appears to be 2013. Still listed in DOAJ, not included on publisher’s website.

From Springer Open, 1 title on the website in 2014 disappeared in 2015:

Scalable Computing

These 4 journals were from the sub-sample of 139 journals we surveyed last year published by publishers with 9 or fewer journals – a 3% attrition rate for this sub-group:

  • American Journal of Oil and Chemical Technologies
  • International Journal of Phytomedicine
  • International Journal of Marketing Practices
  • Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

This post is part of the Tech Tips series

Morrison, H. (2015). Title not found: Room for improvement in maintaining access to articles when journals disappear. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

$1,300 per article or $25K / year in subsidy can generously support quality scholar-led OA journal publishing

Update May 14:the Austrian Science Fund published very similar numbers in 2012 – 20 articles per journal, €22,000 per year, €1,100 per article. See below for details and comments.
Second update May 14: see Stevan Harnad’s comments on the GOAL list Fair Gold vs. Fool’s Gold and my comments below.

This is one potential model for supporting small scholar-led open access journals, drawing on interviews and focus groups with editors. In brief, $1,300 per article (mixing CDN and USD, currently not too far off par) or a subsidy of about $25,000 per year can pay for the following for a small journal publishing 20 peer-reviewed articles per year:

  • $8,000 for a course release to hire a sessional to free up close to a full day per article for a senior academic to focus on the journal (e.g. academic editing, coordinating with the board)
  • $12,790 to hire a senior support staff for one day (7 hours) per week at a total of $35 / hour (including benefits) – tasks to include things like communicating with authors, copyediting, marketing and promotion which may include social media; this is over two full days per peer-reviewed article
  • $2,700 USD for top of the line OJS journal hosting (see the PKP site* for what’s included in Enterprise hosting)
  • $2,500 annually for various other costs (e.g. language editing, graphics)
  • $25,990 total. Assuming 20 articles per year, that’s $1,300 per article.

In addition to the modest costs, local advantages include the leadership opportunities, prestige and local profile-raising that come with leading a journal and local part-time job opportunities suitable for new or emerging scholars and the universities’ own graduates. A faculty with a few journals like this might consider combining some of the part-time positions into one full-time, i.e. 5 one-day support staff positions could add up to a full-time permanent job at a rate of $63,950 including benefits. This is a generous model. There are sessional positions at less than $8,000 per hour. The Canadian minimum wage is about $10 / hour, so the $35 / hour for support staff is a nice professional salary. OJS offers basic service at a third of what is budgeted here.

Austrian Science Fund 2012 data (thanks to Falk Reckling)

Reckling, Falk et al.. (2012). Initial funding for high-quality open access journals in the humanities and social sciences. Zenodo. 10.5281/zenodo.16462


For the time after the three-year initial funding period, the median costs assumed were
approximately €22,000 per year. As the journals aim to publish some 20 articles each
year, the medium-term costs were estimated at €1,100 per article on the average.
  • As of today, these figures translate to $22,000 CDN per year or $1,500 CDN per article at the 1.3632 exchange rate according to the Bank of Canada daily currency converter.
  • The journal-level peer review process described is worth having a look at as a potential model for assuring quality in scholarly publishing, another benefit of the subsidy model. Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council also has a journal subsidy program with journal-level peer review as part of the application process. It would be interesting to hear about other examples of journal-level peer review.
  • The Austrian Science Fund is looking for journals with an international visibility. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Based on my interviews, funding tied to publishing local authors is too limiting for a number of journals. On the other hand, internationalization sometimes makes sense in the humanities and social sciences, but not always. There are some research areas in any discipline (sciences too) where important research topics are of necessity local, e.g. local history, geography, politics and culture. One suggestion for funders to be flexible to recognize the varying needs of different research communities.

Stevan Harnad’s comments on the GOAL list Fair Gold vs. Fool’s Gold : excerpts and comments.

To paraphrase Harnad: Fool’s Gold is paying for open access publication while still paying for the subscriptions system, while Fair Gold is what will emerge after all scholarly works are available open access through repositories. The sole immediate priority is mandating open access archiving. Comment: I absolutely agree that the immediate priority is open access policy and that all policy should be for green self-archiving, not gold open access publishing (with the exception of publishing organizations and publishing funders setting internal policies). I share Harnad’s concern with spending on open access publishing without cutting subscriptions. My perspective is that this takes money away from the research itself. Unlike Harnad, I do see value in a gradual transition as a collective learning process.

Harnad: re *(a) “top-of-the-line journal hosting”*: Obsolete after universal Green OA.

The worldwide distributed network of Green OA institutional repositories hosts its own paper output, both pre and post peer review and acceptance by the journal. Acceptance is just a tag. Refereeing is done on the repository version. Simple, standard software notifies referees and gives them access
to the unrefereed draft.

Morrison: I agree that this is optimal. The Houghton / JISC study found the repository-peer-review overlay to be the most cost-effective option (by far) for UK open access (as compared with gold open access publishing or just repositories). The journal as a format was optimized for print (hence the bundling into mailable issues); whether journals will be needed in the future is far from clear. There are signs of convergence in repository and journal hosting software and services. For example, many library scholarly communication services provide both types of support. Bepress Digital Commons repository software advertises that “A Digital Commons repository showcases the breadth of scholarship produced at an institution – everything from faculty papers, student scholarship, and annual reports to open-access journals, conference proceedings, and monographs”. DOAJ uses the Open Access Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to harvest content from open access journals.

Harnad *(b) “a senior academic to devote just a little less than one full day per
article”*: This is a genuine function and expense:

The referees have to be selected, the reports have to be adjudicated, the author has to be informed what to do, and the revised final draft has to be adjudicated — all by a competent editor. The real-time estimate sounds right for ultimately accepted articles — but ultimately rejected articles take time too (and for a 20-accepted-articles-per-year journal there will need to be a no-fault submission fee so that accepted authors don’t have to pay for the rejected ones. (Journals with higher quality standards will have higher rejection rates.)

Morrison: thank you. I know you have years of experience as an academic editor, these details will really help with this research.

Harnad: *“(c) a part-time senior support staff at a nice hourly rate to provide
over 2 days’ support per peer-reviewed article”*:

Copy-editing is either obsolete or needs to be made a separate, optional service. For managing
paper submissions and referee correspondence, much of this can be done with form-letters using simple, standard software. Someone other than the editor may be needed to manage that, but at nowhere near 2 days of real time per accepted article.

Morrison: again, thank you. In retrospect I think I’ve overestimated the time for the support staff person. I am not sure that copyediting will be obsolete, but would agree that we should at least talk about this. There are probably areas where copyediting does not clearly benefit scholarship per se, for example re-writing to fit the style of a particular journal or translating the minor spelling and grammar differences of British/Canadian and American English. In situations where copyediting is beneficial, it makes no sense to include this in a blind review process. To minimize the risk of introducing errors, a copyeditor should work as closely with the author as possible. This is another area where it makes sense to work with a local copyeditor charging local rates in the local currency. It makes no sense, for example, for an author in the developing world to pay for copyediting services in the developed world if these services are available locally. Many authors can do their own copyediting and proofreading. If support services are provided to authors, local services that might be extended to help with grant and report writing might be the most useful, i.e. services that are institutionally rather than publisher based.

* Note that the main reason for using OJS / PKP in calculations is transparency of pricing. There are other hosting services and other ways to provide OJS hosting service.

This post is part of the resource requirements for small scholar-led open access publishing project.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). $1,300 per article or $25K / year in subsidy can generously support quality scholar-led OA journal publishing. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from


Tech tip for DOAJ journals contributing article-level metadata

If your journal is contributing article-level metadata to DOAJ, you should probably check to see if the year of publication is being noted correctly. Based on data gathered last year, it appears that article counts by publication year by journal significantly under-represent the actual journal content, and based on a more recent cursory search of DOAJ and e-mail with DOAJ’s community manager Dom, it appears that a fairly recent change in metadata harvesting at DOAJ has increased the disparity.

Here is how to check for your journal:

From a DOAJ Advanced Search Screen

    Under journals vs. articles (left hand side of the screen) select Articles
    In the main search area across the top of the screen, use the drop-down menu that starts with Search all, select Article: Journal Title and enter the title of your journal as the search term
    On the left-hand side of the screen, expand Year of Publication

If the publication numbers by year in DOAJ do not match your journal’s publication numbers, check the DOAJ For Publishers page for information on what to do next. If you have any questions, please send them to DOAJ feedback. If you have tips for other publishers to resolve this issue, feel free to add a comment to this post. Feel free to add questions too, just note that I won’t be able to help.

To illustrate the scope of the problem

A DOAJ Advanced Search for “articles” with no search terms or limits with the Year of Publication expanded yields the following results for the past 4 years:

2015 (11)
2014 (37388)
2013 (183470)
2012 (211728)

It is far more likely that the nearly ten-fold decrease in publication numbers from 2012 to 2014 reflects the difference in ingestion of metadata than an actual decrease in publication numbers in DOAJ journals.

How did I notice this? I’ve been doing some analysis of content in DOAJ. As of last May, the number of articles identified via publication year appears to have been considerably understated for many journals. For example, a search of the World Journal of Gastroenterology for 2004 – 2013 yielded a total of 23,000 articles while the DOAJ results for this journal for these years was only 5,901. 1,047 articles were identified as published in 2013. A DOAJ search for World Journal of Gastroenterology today, almost exactly a year later, still yields exactly 5,901 articles total for this journal. The Year of Publication option on the left-hand side of the screen lists 2012 as the most recent year, while the results show articles published in 2013.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). Tech tip for DOAJ journals contributing article-level metadata. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

How to download and work with DOAJ journal metadata without messing up the characters in the journal titles and publisher names.

Background: the file containing the sample for May 2014 has incorrect characters which are very difficult to fix because we did not contemplate how to download and open the csv files in the right way.

These are the most important steps to download and work with DOAJ journal metadata without messing up the characters in the journal titles and publisher names:

  • Go to DOAJ and download metadata
  • Save the CSV file on your computer WITHOUT opening it
  • If you’re using a spreadsheet package, first open the application (e.g. Excel or LibreOffice Calc) and then IMPORT the CSV file into the application.

The following is one example of how you can import and work with the file without messing up the characters using Excel 2013.

  • Open Excel and click on the “Data” menu option.
  • Click on the “From Text” icon.
  • Browse the location of the CSV file, and then click on the “Import” button.
  • The Text Import Wizard will prompt, showing Step 1 of 3.
  • Choose “Delimited” on data type.
  • Select the character set as “65001: Unicode (UTF-8)”
  • Click on the “Next” button to display Step 2 of 3.
  • Select the “Comma” character.
  • Click on the Next button to display Step 3 of 3.
  • Choose the appropriate data format for each column
  • Click on the “Finish” button to complete importing your data into MS Excel.
  • Save the file in MS Excel format WITH ANOTHER NAME, ensuring that you preserve a copy of the original CSV file for further verifications.

If you use open software like LibreOffice Calc, you can import and work with the file and save it again without messing up the characters using Excel 2013.

Import file into LibreOffice Calc.

  • Open the application (LibreOffice Calc).
  • Click on “File – Open”.
  • Browse the location of the CSV file and click on the “Open” button.
  • An import file dialog box will prompt
  • Select the character set “Unicode (UTF-8)”
  • On the Separator Options, select “Comma”
  • Choose the appropriate data format for each column
  • Click on the “Finish” button to complete importing your data into LibreOffice Calc.
  • Save the file in LibreOffice Calc format, WITH ANOTHER NAME, ensuring that you preserve a copy of the original CSV file

Now you can work and modify the file, adding more information if needed using any spreadsheet software. However, if you work with Excel and need to save the file again in CSV format, you need to follow another process or you end up messing up the characters in the journal titles and publisher names, or special characters added in another columns.

The easiest way to do this is to follow these steps:

  • Open the Excel file using LibreOffice Calc
  • Choose File – Save as – Text CSV
  • An export file dialog box will prompt
  • Select the character set “Unicode (UTF-8)” and click Ok

If you know other methods or alternatives, please share them with us.

Cite as: Villamizar, C. (2015). How to download and work with DOAJ journal metadata without messing up the characters in the journal titles and publisher names. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from

OA APC variation: english language editing

MDPI provides a good example and explanation of a variation on article processing charges that reflect the work involved, that is, english language editing services. From the MDPI APC website (August 5, 2014):

For journals with an APC of 500 CHF or lower, a charge of 250 CHF will be applied to articles requiring extensive English language editing or formatting. To avoid surcharges, authors are recommended to carefully follow the instructions for authors and use the MS Word or LaTeX template files available on the instructions for authors page of the journal website. We encourage non-native English speaking authors to send their manuscripts to a professional English editing service prior to submission. If you use a service that provides a confirmation certificate, please send a copy to the Editorial Office. Authors from developing countries should consider registration with AuthorAid, a global research community that provides networking, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in developing countries.

This illustrates an important point about scholarly publishing when viewed as a service rather than as a good for sale: there is an inverse relationship between quality and the amount of work involved, i.e. the higher the quality, the less the work that is needed. This is because publishers do not pay for the largest portion of the work, conducting the research and writing the article. A well-researched and well-written article is less work for a journal at every step, as high quality articles make for easier editorial and peer review decisions as well as less work at the copyediting stage.

This approach provides an incentive for authors to submit articles in much better shape along with clear instructions about what that means, and also points to assistance for authors from developing countries.

One suggestion that fits with this approach is that it may be more effective to shift much of the support work of formatting and copyediting from publishers to the author’s institution. This way, institutions could hire local assistants and pay at rates appropriate for their own country and in their own currency, as well as creating local jobs, perhaps jobs for their own graduates in the case of universities.

For authors and copyeditors, there are advantages to working together over multiple projects. The copyeditor then has an opportunity to learn the terminology and approach preferred by the author, lessening the workload for both parties, as well as an opportunity to observe the growth of the author and research project over time. Perhaps a staff person in this position can help researchers with similar administrative tasks such as filing paperwork for grant proposals. This would free up the time of researchers to focus more on research. Where would the money come from? My suggestion is that in the process of transition to OA, we should not be looking to or funding publishers for services such as copyediting and formatting.

Of the 124 journals listed on the MDPI website, 124 or 85% offer english language editing services, generally at 250 CHF.

As a methodological note: while MDPI listed 124 journals, as of May 15, 2014 DOAJ listed 48 titles for MDPI. Correction August 5, 2014: note that DOAJ lists 104 journals for MDPI; the 48 titles are ones for which there are APCs. Many MDPI journals do not charge APCs, so the discrepancy is much less than I had thought.

I am finding that these large variations in title lists between websites of publishers relying on OA APCs and DOAJ are quite common. Simply collating these lists is proving to be a fair bit more challenging than anticipated.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2014). OA APC variation: English language editing. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from