AOSIS 2015-2016 Comparison

AOSIS is a smaller South African based open access publisher, with 26 journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).  As of May 2016, the AOSIS website lists 28 open access journals. We found 27 matching journal titles when comparing our 2015 and 2016 data gathered from the AOSIS website.

The AOSIS website lists a per-page cost or Article Page Processing Charge (APPC) while the DOAJ’s Article Processing Charge (APC) figure is per-article.  The APC amount listed on DOAJ is likely based on an estimate of the average number of pages for an article.

From the AOSIS website in 2015, 11 out of 27 journals were sponsored by various organizations, therefore they did not require APPCs to be paid by authors.  Two of these titles are no longer sponsored in 2016.  18 out of 27 titles require APPCs to be paid by authors.  Most of these APPCs have increased since 2015.  The APPCs are listed in South African Rand (ZAR). The current conversion rate between ZAR and the US dollar (USD) is 1 ZAR equals 0.064 USD.  The average APPC in 2016 is about 617 ZAR, which equates to about 40 USD. The average AOSIS APC in DOAJ is 6050 ZAR or 388 USD.

The journal with the lowest APPC in 2015 and 2016 is In die Skriflig.  This journal charged 429 ZAR in 2015 and has increased to 44o ZAR in 2016.  The journal with the highest APPC in 2015 and 2016 is African Vision and Eye Health, which was charging 1191 ZAR in 2015 and is now charging 1250 ZAR. In 2015, only 4 journals charged over 1000 ZAR for APPCs.  In 2016, 10 out of 27 charge over 1000 ZAR.

According to AOSIS’ Copyright policy page, “The author(s) retain copyright on work published by AOSIS unless specified otherwise.” All individual journals titles were checked to see if there are any other specifications regarding copyright.  After clicking through each title, we found that all journals provided a link to the main About Scholarly Journals page, which states “Rest assured: you always retain copyright of your work.”


AOSIS. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from

Directory of Open Access Journals. (Mn.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2016, from



Nature Publishing Group 2016

Nature Publishing Group is 30th in number of Open Access (OA) journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) with 22 journals.  We are interested in it because it is division of the international scientific publishing company Springer Nature.  Springer Nature is a scientific publishing company resulting from the 2015 merger of Springer Science+Business Media and Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group’s Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan, and Macmillan Education.

While only 22 journals are listed in DOAJ, Nature Publishing Group lists four types of OA journals, with 86 in total on its website ( These four types are: 1. Multidisciplinary (3 journals), 2. Nature Partner Journals (21 journals), 3. Academic and society journals (22 journals), 4. Journals with hybrid open access options (40 journals).

There are APCs listed for all journals in three currencies: US dollar (USD), pound sterling (GBP), and Euro (EUR). We gathered data from Nature Publishing Group’s OA website and analyzed these APCs in USD.  We evaluated all OA journals except for the fourth group (Journals with hybrid open access options), therefore 46 journals in total were compared.

Of the 46 journals compared, the lowest APC is $1,350 for Scientific Data. The highest listed APC is $5,200 for Nature Communications. The mode is $4,000 and the average is $3,491.

The chart below shows a sample of the journals that were compared.



SpringerOpen: 2015-2016 APCs Comparison

Update May 9: many of the journals with links to APC information not working in April are now working, so that we can confirm that about 40% of SpringerOpen journals are fully sponsored and do not charge article processing fees.

SpringerOpen is an Open Access (OA) publisher that requires Article Processing Charges (APCs) for most journals. This publisher displays APCs in three currencies: pound sterling (GBP), US dollar (USD) and Euro (EUR).
SpringerOpen is the fourth largest OA journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) with 170 journals listed. As SpringerOpen is one of the largest OA publishers it must be examined in order to gain insight into future APC trends.


151 matching journals from 2015 and 2016 were compared in USD. When the journals not charging APCs were removed, the average APC for 2015 was $1,166 and is $1,239 in 2016.  The lowest APC for 2015 was $125 for Agricultural and Food Economics. In 2016, the lowest APC is $430 for two journals: Advanced Modeling and Simulation in Engineering Sciences and Botanical Studies. The mode APC was $1,085 for both 2015 and 2016.  The highest APC in 2015 was $1,935 for AMB Express and in 2016 is $2,500 for AAPS Open.

Only one journal’s APC decreased from 2015: Fire Science Reviews was charging $1,420 in 2015 and is now charging $1,155 (-19%) in 2016. 38 journals did not charge APCs in 2015, and still do not charge them in 2016. 32 journals are charging the same amount as they were in 2015. A little more than half of the journals (77/151) have increased their APCs. Most of those charging more (54/77), increased by 10% or less.

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Comparison of BioMed Central APCs from 2010-2016


We compared 2016 BioMed Central (BMC) Article Processing Charges (APCs) in US dollars (USD) with APC data from 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015. A total of 165 matching journal titles were compared.


All but one title has increased its APCs since 2010. Molecular Autism was the only title that decreased. Its APCs were $2200 in 2010 and are now $2145, with a decrease of -3%. 18% was the mode of the percentage of increase since 2010, with 55/165 titles increasing their APCs by 18%, all of these APCs were $1825 and are now $2145. The highest percentage of change (77%) was for the journal, Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, which was charging $1365 in 2010 and is now charging $2410 in 2016. The average price in 2010 was about $1750 while the average price in 2016 is $2197. The chart below shows a comparison of a sample of BMC journal titles with APCs from 2010 and 2016.

Biomed Central APCs 2010 and 2016


Most APCs have increased since 2013 as well. 163/165 increased and two have decreased. The mode of percentage of change from 2013 to 2016 was 4%, 80/165 titles increased by 4%. Another prevalent percentage was 21%. 42 titles increased by 21%, 40/42 of these titles were priced at $1780 in 2013 and increased to $2145 in 2016. Finally, two titles, Molecular Autism and Neural Development, have decreased in price since 2013, both were priced at $2355, but have since reduced in price by $210. The highest percentage of change, 36%, was the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, which was $1580 in 2013 and is now $2145. The average price in 2013 was $1984, compared to $2197 in 2016.


Interestingly, many APCs increased between 2013 and 2014, but decreased in 2015. APCs of 94 journal titles have decreased since 2014, and two have stayed the same. -3% was the mode of percentage of change for 76 titles, all but one of these was priced at $2215 in 2014, and they are now $2145 in 2016. The highest percentage of change, 17%, was the Health Research Policy and Systems, which was $1960 in 2010 and $2300 in 2016. The lowest percentage of decrease was a tie between Molecular Autism and Neural Development at -16%, both were $2545 in 2014 and are now $2145. The average charges were $2168 in 2014, which is slightly lower than the $2197 average in 2016.


Most, 111/165 (67%), titles’ APCs have stayed the same since 2015. Molecular Autism and Neural Development are the only two titles that have decreased their APCs, from $2450 to $2145. The average APC price has increased from $2149 to $2197. The highest percentage of increase was a tie between 21 journals at 11%, all of these titles were charging $1940 in 2015 and are now charging $2145.

US Inflation Rates Compared to BMC APCs

When comparing the percentage change of BMC APCs from 2010 to 2016, it is clear that most prices have increased at a higher rate than the US rate of inflation. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, lists the average Consumer Price Index (CPI) or US inflation rates for each year from 2010 to 2015 as: 2010: 1.6%, 2011: 3.2%, 2012: 2.1%, 2013: 1.5%, 2014: 1.6%, 2015: 0.1% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). When compounded, the US inflation rate from 2010 to 2016 comes to 8.7%. However, when comparing BMC’s APCs, most titles (148/165) have increased by 18% or more since 2010.

In 2010, $1825 was the most prevalent APC amount listed by BMC. According to the CPI Inflation Calculator provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that price in 2016 would be $1,984.48. However, BMC lists all APCs that were formerly $1825, for example BMC Anesthesiology, in 2010 as $2145 in 2016. The chart below compares the price of BMC Anesthesiology using the US inflation rate against the BMC APC. As you can see, in 2014 the APC, like many APCs, increased (from $2060 in 2013 to $2215 in 2014), but decreased to $2145 in 2015 and has remained at this price as of April 13, 2016.

Our comparison of inflation rates to APCs harkens back to the Report on the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Serials Project by Ann Okerson (1989). The objective of Okerson’s study was to test the hypothesis that subscription prices had risen at a faster rate than inflation in publishing costs, which was found to be true (1989). In our case, a majority of APCs have stayed the same since 2015, but most APCs have increased at a higher rate than the rate of inflation when comparing 2010 to 2016 charges. These mixed results suggest that BMC’s APCs could be increasing over time at a faster rate than the rate of inflation, however it is too soon to say what the future will hold. We will continue to monitor BMC’s APCs in order to gain insight into future pricing trends.

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BioMed Central. (2016). Fees and funding. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). CPI Inflation Calculator. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from

Okerson, A. (1989). Report on the ARL Serials Project. The Serials Librarian, 17(3-4), 111-119. doi:10.1300/j123v17n03_15

BioMed Central Article Processing Charges

BioMed Central and Directory of Open Access Journals (2016)

If you look at the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) you will see that some journals have Article Processing Charges (APCs) listed. So why are we still gathering APC data? Two reasons: one is to check the accuracy and completeness of the DOAJ APC data, and the other is that we gather more detail on the model than what is captured in DOAJ.  BioMed Central (BMC) offers one good illustration – while DOAJ includes a single figure1 for APC amount, BMC provides pricing in 3 currencies on its website.

306 titles are listed on BMC’s website (2016, February 22)2, and 289 BMC titles are listed in DOAJ.  When comparing the two lists of journal titles we found that 274 matched.

  • Of the 274 matching titles, only 38 (14%) provided an APC in DOAJ
  • Of the 38, the number of titles with an accurate APC was 15 out of 38 (40%)
  • 23 of the 38 APCs (60%) did not match
  • Two of the 38 (5%) had a higher APC in DOAJ
  • 21 of 38 (55%) had a lower APC in DOAJ

In summary, only 15 of the 289 (5%) BMC journals have accurate APCs listed in DOAJ.

Table 1. Comparison of the 38 APCs from BMC’s website and DOAJ

BMC DOAJ 2016 Comparison

BioMed Central Article Processing Charges Between 2015 and 2016

The chart below compares APCs listed on BMC’s website from May 15, 2015 with February 22, 2016.  Most (65%) APCs have stayed the same, however 34% have increased.

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Note: This is our first post on BMC this year.  We are doing more longitudinal work and will report back soon.

I would like to thank Jihane Salhab for allowing me to build on her work.


1. BMC’s APC currency in DOAJ is usually GBP (Pound Sterling).
2. As of March 30, 2016, BMC no longer has the table of APCs available on its website that was used for this price comparison.