- privacy and security of individuals’ data
- potential for enclosure / privatization of free public services if the government’s data is released as open data but the government does not maintain a free human readable version
The purpose of the Sustaining the Knowledge Commons research program is to help in the process of transitioning to a stable global knowledge commons, through which everyone can access all of our collective knowledge free-of-charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions and to which all who are qualified are welcome to contribute. One common problem that I see in the open access movement and in the scientific community (OA or not) is a tendency to conflate knowledge and science. I argue that this is a serious problem not only for other forms of knowledge, but a potential immanent existential threat to science itself. At a recent talk I presented a brief explanation of the argument. Following is the abstract and a link to the full presentation.
Article 27.1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”. The central argument of this presentation is that in order to achieve the goal of scientific advancement and its benefits it is necessary to understand science as one of the interdependent forms of the knowledge of humankind. To understand human rights, we need to understand the current and historical struggles through which the needs for human rights were identified and fought for. The conceptual development and implementation of human rights comes from philosophy, law, and politics, not scientific method. Science itself cannot function without logic, and is best not practiced without ethics; both logic and ethics, essential to scientific practice, are philosophy. Science needs philosophy.
Climate change is presented as evidence of why global policy based on scientific evidence is essential to the future, perhaps the very survival of the human species, and why global policy based on scientific evidence depends on more than science alone. If science alone were enough, the scientific consensus on climate change should have compelled effective action a long time ago. Science alone is not enough; political change requires political action. In the area of policy, belief in progress through science is just that, a matter of belief that competes with other belief systems. To help people change, to achieve political change, we need to understand not just what we know (the science), we need to understand how people think (social sciences and humanities) and how to effectively communicate with people (arts). If we in the developed world were to learn from our First Nations peoples about long-term planning, the ideas that we do not inherent the world from our ancestors but rather borrow it from our children, to plan for the seventh generation, we would have the knowledge to understand why we need policy in this area that is informed by the science. In conclusion, as a holistic scholar who is indigenous to, and cares above, the planet earth, on behalf of all the other forms of knowledges, I extend this invitation to science: let’s talk.
Link to download the full presentation: https://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/38890
Brainard (2019) in an April 3, 2019 article in Science, reports that a U.S. judge has ruled that a “deceptive” publisher [OMICS] should pay $50 million in damages. This is a timely opportunity to acknowledge a downside of the APC business model, that is, opening up scholarship to further commercial exploitation, including exploitation by publishers that do not or may not meet reasonable standards for academic quality and ethics in publishing, and to make recommendations to limit this potential for exploitation.
The SKC team often focuses on the article processing charges (APC) business model for OA journal publishing, in order to observe and analyze trends. However, this focus is not an endorsement of either OA publishing (as opposed to OA archiving), or the APC business model that is used by a minority of fully OA journals. This post acknowledges a major downside to the APC model. APC “opens up” scholars and scholarly works for further commercial exploitation by traditional and new publishers that offers a wide range of quality in academic terms, ranging from excellent to mediocre and including a few with unethical practices that are not compatible with advancing our collective knowledge.This judge’s ruling provides an opportune moment to acknowledge this flaw in the APC business model, and to discuss potential remedies. I argue that it is essential for scholarly publishing to be scholar-led so that advancing scholarship is the primary priority. One model that I recommend as one to build on and expand is the SSHRC Aid to Scholarly Journals program. This program provides modest funding to scholarly journals that are under the direction of qualified Canadian academics. This funding is awarded through a competitive process that in effect serves as a journal-level academic peer review process. OA initiatives where key decisions are made by the research community (directly or through librarian representatives) are more likely to ensure high quality and ethical services than policies favouring and/or providing support for OA publishing with no clear vetting process of publication venues.
There are downsides to any model for support of scholarly publishing. One important downside to the APC model is that it further “opens” scholars and scholarly works to exploitation for commercial purposes, including exploitation by publishers that do not meet academic standards for a variety of reasons ranging from lack to experience to deliberate deception. I do not personally evaluate or judge the quality of academic publishing. However, as Brainard (2019) reports, a U.S. judge has literally made a judgement in the case of OMICS.
To understand how scholarly publishing has become vulnerable to this kind of exploitation, it is helpful to unravel the conflation of OA and OA publishing, and of OA publishing and the APC business model.
Open access (OA) is about access to the world’s scholarly knowledge. OA is not the same as OA publishing. There are 2 major approaches to OA; one is OA archiving, which is compatible with diverse publishing models. To get a sense of what has already been achieved through OA archiving, I recommend playing around with 2 major services. One is the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE). BASE cross-searches over 6,000 archives around the world that collectively contain more than 140 million documents, 60% of which are OA. The other is the Internet Archive, which provides access to billions of webpages, videos, audio recordings, and over 20 million texts. If a classic text is out of copyright, it is probably available through the Internet Archive.
The majority of fully OA journals (73% of journals in DOAJ as of today) do not charge article processing charges (APCs). How do they manage? Small journals can often get by with in-kind support such as journal hosting, modest university, funder, and/or scholarly society subsidies, and/or collaborative library-based support (e.g. Knowledge Unlatched, Open Humanities Press).
As of today, OMICs is still active. There is reason to think that there are substantial numbers of APC based OA journals by publishers of unknown and potentially problematic academic quality. As I reported based on the 2018 survey of OA journals at ELPUB 2018, ” 5 of the largest publishers are no longer listed in DOAJ (Canadian Center of Science and Education, Internet Scientific Publications, LLC, Macrothink Institute, SCIENCEDOMAINInternational, and Scientific Research Publishing; Bentham Open is listed in DOAJ in 2017, but not 2018). (Morrison, 2018). There are a variety of reasons why publishers might not be included in DOAJ. Publishers may not have completed the re-application process. This would be understandable as (in my opinion) the questionnaire is onerous and specific questions do not entirely make sense. However, not meeting the DOAJ criteria does raise questions about the quality of the publisher, particularly if DOAJ itself is used as a means of assessing quality. Journals and publishers disappearing from DOAJ raise the question of the advisability of relying on DOAJ inclusion as a criteria for quality. In an author selects a journal in DOAJ today, assuming this assures quality publication, the journal might disappear from DOAJ later, possibly when the author is up for tenure and promotion and reviewers are taking quality of publication venues into account in making recommendations.
Scams and poor quality publishing is not strictly an OA problem. There are scam conferences that are not at all OA, and traditional publishers of journals and monographs have a wide range of quality. However, it is a downside of a particular model for OA, and I recommend that the OA movement acknowledge this and help find remedies. As noted above, my remedy is scholarly leadership of OA initiatives, that is key decisions made by scholars whose primary work is in the university or research sectors, as the best way to make sure that quality of academic work is the top priority.
Brainard, J. (2019). U.S. judge rules deceptive publisher should pay $50 million in damages. Science April 3, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2019 from https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/us-judge-rules-deceptive-publisher-should-pay-501-million-damages
Morrison, H. (2018). Global OA APCs 2010 – 2017: major trends. Elpub 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2019 from https://elpub.episciences.org/4604/pdf
by Hamid Pashaei and Heather Morrison
Review of Sage Open access database in 2019 shows that the number of their open access journals is growing, they are still following article processing charge model and their payment model is still pricey.
Sage currently publishes 1,200 journals. Of these, 200 journals (about 17%) are fully open access. Compared to the last year’s data, there is a net increase of 41 open access journals (26% increase) published by Sage. Out of all open access journals, 185 journals (92 percent) have publication fees, 14 journals have no publication charges and 1 journal lacks the information whether it has processing fee or not.
Some journals from the previous years ceased publication and Sage has removed them from their database, but only a few of them are accessible through clockss.org archive.
The information regarding the number of open access journals by Sage are summarized into the following table:
Out of the journals with processing charge, 172 journals charge ‘article processing fee’, 2 journals charge ‘per page processing fee’ and 11 articles lack the exact amount and way of processing fee.
The average actual price for article processing fee in 2019 is $1475 that indicates a slight decrease comparing to the average price of $1513 in 2018.
Compared to last year’s data, most journals have no change in article processing charge while 23 journals have an increase and 20 journals have a decrease in the amount of article processing charge. The average increase in price is about $587 and the average decrease in price is $449.
The following pie chart and table summarize the difference between processing fees in 2018 and 2019.
You could download the raw data for Sage 2019 open access journals here:
For more information about the previous years data for Sage publications, see the following links:
In brief: MDPI has increased prices, in many cases quite substantially (some prices have more than tripled). Even more price increases are anticipated in July 2019, which will have the effect of doubling the average APC and tripling the most common APC. Unlike other publishers’ practices, there are no price decreases.
Comment and recommendation: open access advocates, along with policy makers and research funders, and keen to support a transition to open access. In my opinion, the enthusiasm of payers to support APC journals is causing an unhealthy and unsustainable distortion in the market. My advice: stick with green OA policy. Require deposit of funded works in an open access repository. This is a better means to ensure ongoing preservation and open access, and exerts market pressure in a way that is more suited to the development of an economically sustainable open access system.
Details, data, and links to very raw data follow. Comments and math-checking are most welcome.
February 2018 to February 2019.
MDPI lists 203 journals as of February 13, 2019. Of these, since this time last year, 74 or 36% have either started charging APCs, or have increased their APCs by 7% – 227% or 100 CHF – 1,250 CHF. For example, the APC of Cells rose from 550 to 1,800 CHF, a 227% increase, that is, the price more than tripled. As of today, according to XE Currency Converter, the CHF is worth .99 of USD, or very close to par. 17 journals are new. MDPI had no price decreases in 2019.
February to July 2019
MDPI lists price changes coming in July 2019 on their website (kudos for transparency). 160 of MDPI’s journals (79% of their journals) will have a price change in July 2019, either introducing an APC for the first time or increasing in price by 9% – 243% or 100 – 850 CHF. The net effect is a doubling or tripling of central tendencies. The average APC doubles from 546 CHF to 1,077 CHF. The median or mid-point and mode or most common APC triples from 350 CHF to 1,000 CHF. These figures exclude “free” journals, which are currently the mode or most common price.
|MDPI Central Tendencies 2019 in CHF|
|Feb 2019||July 2019|
|Excludes “free” journals with no APC (yet).|
MDPI journal price changes Feb. 2018 – Feb. 2019
|Journal||2018 APC||2019 APC||2019 – 2018 in CHF||2019 / 2018 %|
|Journal of Clinical Medicine||650||1800||1150||177%|
|Journal of Marine Science and Engineering||350||550||200||57%|
|Journal of Functional Biomaterials||550||850||300||55%|
|International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health||1600||1800||200||13%|
|Colloids and Interfaces||0||1000||1000||Price introduced in 2018|
|Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease||0||1000||1000||Price introduced in 2018|
|International Journal of Neonatal Screening||0||500||500||Price introduced in 2018|
|Batteries||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Beverages||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Fermentation||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Geriatrics||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Journal of Fungi||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Journal of Imaging||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Journal of Intelligence||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Magnetochemistry||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Medical Sciences||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Non-Coding RNA||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Safety||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease||0||350||350||Price introduced in 2018|
|Administrative Sciences||350||350||0||No change|
|Applied System Innovation||0||0||0||No change|
|Big Data and Cognitive Computing||0||0||0||No change|
|Condensed Matter||0||0||0||No change|
|Dentistry Journal||350||350||0||No change|
|Fractal and Fractional||0||0||0||No change|
|International Journal of Financial Studies||350||350||0||No change|
|International Journal of Molecular Sciences||1800||1800||0||No change|
|International Journal of Turbomachinery, Propulsion and Power||300||300||0||No change|
|ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information||1000||1000||0||No change|
|Journal of Developmental Biology||350||350||0||No change|
|Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology||0||0||0||No change|
|Journal of Low Power Electronics and Applications||350||350||0||No change|
|Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing||0||0||0||No change|
|Journal of Personalized Medicine||550||550||0||No change|
|Journal of Risk and Financial Management||350||350||0||No change|
|Machine Learning and Knowledge Extraction||0||0||0||No change|
|Mathematical and Computational Applications||300||300||0||No change|
|Multimodal Technologies and Interaction||0||0||0||No change|
|Quantum Beam Science||0||0||0||No change|
|Remote Sensing||1800||1800||0||No change|
|Urban Science||0||0||0||No change|
|Aerospace (Basel)||550||550||0||No change|
|C Ð Journal of Carbon Research (now C)||0||0||0||No change|
|Children (Basel)||550||550||0||No change|
|Computation (Basel)||350||350||0||No change|
|Informatics (Basel)||350||350||0||No change|
|Inorganics (Basel)||550||550||0||No change|
|Journal of Composite Sciences||0||0||0||No change|
|Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks||350||350||0||No change|
|Methods and Protocol||0||0||0||No change|
|Social Sciences||350||350||0||No change|
|Technologies (Basel)||350||350||0||No change|
|Veterinary Sciences||350||350||0||No change|
|Clocks & Sleep||0||New 2018|
|Gastrointestinal Disorders||0||New 2018|
|Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity||650||New 2018|
|Quantum Reports||0||New 2018|
|Smart Cities||1000||New 2018|
|World Electric Vehicle Journal||300||New 2018|
MDPI journals with price increases or first APC introduced in July 2019
|Journal||Feb 2019 APC||July 2019 APC||July 2019 – 2019 (actually July 2018)||July 2019 – 2018 %|
|Mathematical and Computational Applications||300||1000||700||233%|
|International Journal of Financial Studies||350||1000||650||186%|
|Journal of Developmental Biology||350||1000||650||186%|
|Journal of Fungi||350||1000||650||186%|
|Journal of Imaging||350||1000||650||186%|
|Journal of Intelligence||350||1000||650||186%|
|Journal of Low Power Electronics and Applications||350||1000||650||186%|
|Journal of Risk and Financial Management||350||1000||650||186%|
|Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease||350||1000||650||186%|
|International Journal of Turbomachinery, Propulsion and Power||300||550||250||83%|
|Journal of Personalized Medicine||550||1000||450||82%|
|Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity||650||800||150||23%|
|Medicina||0||1500||1,500||Price introduced July 2019|
|Acoustics||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|AgriEngineering||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Applied System Innovation||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Arts||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Big Data and Cognitive Computing||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Biomimetics||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Ceramics||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Challenges||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|ChemEngineering||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Clocks & Sleep||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Condensed Matter||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Cryptography||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Data||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Designs||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Drones||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Economies||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Fire||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Fishes||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Fluids||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Forecasting||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Fractal and Fractional||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Gastrointestinal Disorders||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Gels||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Genealogy||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Heritage||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Horticulturae||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Infrastructures||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Instruments||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Inventions||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Languages||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Logistics||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Machine Learning and Knowledge Extraction||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Multimodal Technologies and Interaction||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Neuroglia||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Particles||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Philosophies||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Physics||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Plasma||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Publications||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Quantum Beam Science||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Quantum Reports||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Quaternary||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Recycling||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Reports||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Sci||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Stats||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Surfaces||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Urban Science||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Vibration||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
|Vision||0||1000||1,000||Price introduced July 2019|
The raw data: caution – these spreadsheets are sub-sets of working files that are provided with no documentation. Data literacy and familiarity with the APC longitudinal project are necessary for interpretation.
From December 2017 to December 2018, APC prices for all PLOS journals were increased by $100 USD, resulting in percentage increases from 3% – 7%. All price increase percentages are higher than the U.S. Department of Labour Statistic’s 2.2% Consumer Price Index increase from November 2017 – December 2018. The majority of percentage price increases (4/8) are higher than the average increase in a U.S. faculty member’s salary according to the American Association of University Professors of 3% (from April 2018). The most surprising increase from my perspective is the 7% increase to the APC of PLOS ONE (twice the increase of faculty salaries, thrice the US CIP increase), because as PLOS’ pioneering megajournal, PLOS ONE’s practice is peer review limited to assessing whether the science is sound. Peer review is done by volunteers and coordinated by PLOS using a highly automated approach; it is difficult to understand how PLOS’ contribution to PLOS ONE articles justifies an APC of approximately $1,600 USD.
|Journal title||2018 APC publisher website USD||2017 APC publisher website USD||2018 price increase in USD||2018 price increase percentage|
|PLOS Computational Biology||2,350||2250||100||4%|
|PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases||2,350||2250||100||4%|
by Hamid Pashaei and Heather Morrison
Medknow is a commercial scholarly journal publisher based in India, which was acquired by Wolters Kluwer in 2011. The analysis of Medknow’s journals in 2018 shows that there has been a significant increase in number of their journals, with 23% increase comparing to 2017. It appears that most of Medknow’s journals are published in collaboration with different universities and societies in the filed of medical research.
Due to variety of affiliated communities who collaborate with Medknow, finding information and collecting data from Medknow’s website is complex. Some data about the processing charge of journals were not available, and the currency was provided in different units (INR, USD, CNY, …) that could also be confusing for potential authors. From the journals for which data was available, 71% charged no processing fee. While the cost for the majority of paid journals were fixed comparing to 2017 data, there were also an increase in cost for some journals. The processing charge for publishing journals is based on APC (Article Processing Charge), with only a few exceptions that were based on APPC (Article Page Processing Charges).