MDPI 2019: price increases, some hefty, and more coming in July

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

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
Average APC 546 1,077
Median 350 1000
Mode 350 1000
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 %
Cells 550 1800 1250 227%
Processes 350 1100 750 214%
Journal of Clinical Medicine 650 1800 1150 177%
Electronics (Basel) 550 1400 850 155%
Mathematics 350 850 500 143%
Biosensors 350 650 300 86%
Bioengineering (Basel) 300 550 250 83%
Insects 550 1000 450 82%
Microorganisms 550 1000 450 82%
Pharmaceutics 550 1000 450 82%
Agronomy 550 1000 450 82%
Cancers 1000 1800 800 80%
Atoms 350 550 200 57%
Computers 350 550 200 57%
Diseases 350 550 200 57%
Education Sciences 350 550 200 57%
Fibers 350 550 200 57%
Lubricants 350 550 200 57%
Machines 350 550 200 57%
Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 350 550 200 57%
Diagnostics 550 850 300 55%
Geosciences 550 850 300 55%
Journal of Functional Biomaterials 550 850 300 55%
Animals 650 1000 350 54%
Biomolecules 650 1000 350 54%
Pathogens 650 1000 350 54%
Scientia Pharmaceutica 600 850 250 42%
Land 550 750 200 36%
Coatings 1200 1600 400 33%
Brain Sciences 650 850 200 31%
Forests 1400 1800 400 29%
Metals 1200 1500 300 25%
Catalysts 1300 1600 300 23%
Sustainability 1400 1700 300 21%
Toxins 1500 1800 300 20%
Buildings 550 650 100 18%
Foods 550 650 100 18%
Vaccines 550 650 100 18%
Behavioral Sciences 550 650 100 18%
Algorithms 850 1000 150 18%
Future Internet 850 1000 150 18%
Information 850 1000 150 18%
Membranes 850 1000 150 18%
Metabolites 850 1000 150 18%
Crystals 1200 1400 200 17%
Micromachines 1200 1400 200 17%
Minerals 1200 1400 200 17%
Symmetry 1200 1400 200 17%
Energies 1600 1800 200 13%
Genes 1600 1800 200 13%
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 1600 1800 200 13%
Materials 1600 1800 200 13%
Viruses 1600 1800 200 13%
Marine Drugs 1800 2000 200 11%
Nutrients 1800 2000 200 11%
Applied Sciences 1400 1500 100 7%
Entropy 1500 1600 100 7%
Nanomaterials 1500 1600 100 7%
Water 1500 1600 100 7%
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
Actuators 350 350 0 No change
Administrative Sciences 350 350 0 No change
Antibiotics 550 550 0 No change
Antibodies 350 350 0 No change
Antioxidants 550 550 0 No change
Applied System Innovation 0 0 0 No change
Arts 0 0 0 No change
Atmosphere 1400 1400 0 No change
Axioms 350 350 0 No change
Big Data and Cognitive Computing 0 0 0 No change
Biology 650 650 0 No change
Biomedicines 550 550 0 No change
Biomimetics 0 0 0 No change
Ceramics 0 0 0 No change
Challenges 0 0 0 No change
ChemEngineering 0 0 0 No change
Chemosensors 350 350 0 No change
Climate 550 550 0 No change
Condensed Matter 0 0 0 No change
Cosmetics 350 350 0 No change
Cryptography 0 0 0 No change
Data 0 0 0 No change
Dentistry Journal 350 350 0 No change
Designs 0 0 0 No change
Diversity 850 850 0 No change
Drones 0 0 0 No change
Econometrics 350 350 0 No change
Economies 0 0 0 No change
Environments 300 300 0 No change
Fire 0 0 0 No change
Fishes 0 0 0 No change
Fluids 0 0 0 No change
Fractal and Fractional 0 0 0 No change
Galaxies 350 350 0 No change
Games 550 550 0 No change
Gels 0 0 0 No change
Genealogy 0 0 0 No change
Healthcare 550 550 0 No change
High-throughput 350 350 0 No change
Horticulturae 0 0 0 No change
Hydrology 350 350 0 No change
Infrastructures 0 0 0 No change
Instruments 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
Inventions 0 0 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
Languages 0 0 0 No change
Laws 350 350 0 No change
Life 650 650 0 No change
Logistics 0 0 0 No change
Machine Learning and Knowledge Extraction 0 0 0 No change
Mathematical and Computational Applications 300 300 0 No change
Medicines 350 350 0 No change
Molbank 350 350 0 No change
Molecules 1800 1800 0 No change
Multimodal Technologies and Interaction 0 0 0 No change
Neuroglia 0 0 0 No change
Particles 0 0 0 No change
Pharmaceuticals 850 850 0 No change
Pharmacy 550 550 0 No change
Philosophies 0 0 0 No change
Photonics 350 350 0 No change
Plants 550 550 0 No change
Plasma 0 0 0 No change
Polymers 1500 1500 0 No change
Proteomes 550 550 0 No change
Publications 0 0 0 No change
Quantum Beam Science 0 0 0 No change
Quaternary 0 0 0 No change
Recycling 0 0 0 No change
Religions 550 550 0 No change
Remote Sensing 1800 1800 0 No change
Reports 0 0 0 No change
Resources 350 350 0 No change
Risks 350 350 0 No change
Robotics 350 350 0 No change
Sensors 1800 1800 0 No change
Separations 350 350 0 No change
Societies 350 350 0 No change
Sports 350 350 0 No change
Stats 0 0 0 No change
Systems 350 350 0 No change
Toxics 350 350 0 No change
Universe 350 350 0 No change
Urban Science 0 0 0 No change
Vibration 0 0 0 No change
Vision 0 0 0 No change
Aerospace (Basel) 550 550 0 No change
Agriculture 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
Epigenomes 0 0 0 No change
Humanities 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
Soil 0 0 0 No change
Technologies (Basel) 350 350 0 No change
Veterinary Sciences 350 350 0 No change
Acoustics 0 New 2018
AgriEngineering 0 New 2018
Chemistry 1000 New 2018
Clocks & Sleep 0 New 2018
Forecasting 0 New 2018
Gastrointestinal Disorders 0 New 2018
Heritage 0 New 2018
J 0 New 2018
Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity 650 New 2018
Medicina 0 New 2018
Physics 0 New 2018
Psych 0 New 2018
Quantum Reports 0 New 2018
Sci 0 New 2018
Smart Cities 1000 New 2018
Surfaces 0 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 %
Universe 350 1200 850 243%
Environments 300 1000 700 233%
Mathematical and Computational Applications 300 1000 700 233%
Actuators 350 1000 650 186%
Administrative Sciences 350 1000 650 186%
Antibodies 350 1000 650 186%
Axioms 350 1000 650 186%
Batteries 350 1000 650 186%
Beverages 350 1000 650 186%
Chemosensors 350 1000 650 186%
Cosmetics 350 1000 650 186%
Dentistry Journal 350 1000 650 186%
Econometrics 350 1000 650 186%
Fermentation 350 1000 650 186%
Galaxies 350 1000 650 186%
Geriatrics 350 1000 650 186%
High-throughput 350 1000 650 186%
Hydrology 350 1000 650 186%
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%
Laws 350 1000 650 186%
Magnetochemistry 350 1000 650 186%
Medical Sciences 350 1000 650 186%
Medicines 350 1000 650 186%
Molbank 350 1000 650 186%
Non-Coding RNA 350 1000 650 186%
Photonics 350 1000 650 186%
Resources 350 1000 650 186%
Risks 350 1000 650 186%
Robotics 350 1000 650 186%
Safety 350 1000 650 186%
Separations 350 1000 650 186%
Societies 350 1000 650 186%
Sports 350 1000 650 186%
Systems 350 1000 650 186%
Toxics 350 1000 650 186%
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease 350 1000 650 186%
Antibiotics 550 1200 650 118%
Antioxidants 550 1200 650 118%
Plants 550 1200 650 118%
Vaccines 650 1400 750 115%
Foods 650 1200 550 85%
International Journal of Turbomachinery, Propulsion and Power 300 550 250 83%
Atoms 550 1000 450 82%
Biomedicines 550 1000 450 82%
Climate 550 1000 450 82%
Computers 550 1000 450 82%
Diseases 550 1000 450 82%
Education Sciences 550 1000 450 82%
Fibers 550 1000 450 82%
Games 550 1000 450 82%
Healthcare 550 1000 450 82%
Journal of Personalized Medicine 550 1000 450 82%
Lubricants 550 1000 450 82%
Machines 550 1000 450 82%
Pharmacy 550 1000 450 82%
Proteomes 550 1000 450 82%
Religions 550 1000 450 82%
Pharmaceutics 1000 1600 600 60%
Biology 650 1000 350 54%
Biosensors 650 1000 350 54%
Buildings 650 1000 350 54%
Life 650 1000 350 54%
Mathematics 850 1200 350 41%
Metabolites 1000 1400 400 40%
Land 750 1000 250 33%
Pathogens 1000 1300 300 30%
Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity 650 800 150 23%
Animals 1000 1200 200 20%
Biomolecules 1000 1200 200 20%
Insects 1000 1200 200 20%
Microorganisms 1000 1200 200 20%
Diagnostics 850 1000 150 18%
Diversity 850 1000 150 18%
Processes 1100 1200 100 9%
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.

MDPI raw data Feb 2019

MDPI raw data July 2019

MDPI APC / FDP 2011 – 2016

Tanoh Laurent Kakou and Heather Morrison

Brief abstract (English)

This post presents highlights of preliminary results of our longitudinal study of the article processing charges (APCs) of MDPI, an open access publisher using the APC business model (exclusively), with new journals offering « free for now »  publication. Thanks to Solomon and Björk (2012) we have data for a sample of 25 of MDPI’s journals that did charge APCs in 2011 (non-charging journals were excluded from their study). The APCs for these 25 journals ranged from 300 CHF to 1,600 CHF, with an average of 624 CHF. Only 1 journal (Algorithms) did not change in price ; all others increased in price from 2011 – 2016. The average APC for this group of journals in 2016 was 1,148 CHF, an average increase of 524 CHF or an 84% increase in 5 years. This compares with a compound U.S. interest rate from 2010 – 2015 of 8.7% as calculated by Sara Wheatley https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/04/13/comparison-of-biomed-central-apcs-from-2010-2016/. The EU compound interest rate would have been lower during this time frame, with some years in negative growth. One might say that MDPI’s APCs for established journals have increased by an order of magnitude greater than the overall inflation rate in the past 5 years.

As of March 2016, MDPI listed 155 journals on its website. Of these, nearly half (72 journals) are <>, that is they use the APC model but are not yet charging. The average APC of 359 CHF (662 CHF when non-charging journals are excluded) contrasts with the 1,148 average APC of the 25 journals that were included in the 2011 sample (established journals). From 2014 to 2015 APCs either stayed the same or decreased ; from 2015 to 2016, we see only stable or increasing prices with an average price increase from 2015 to 2016 of 18% (60 CHF increase on a 2015 average APC of 334 CHF).

This case study illustrates one approach to the evolution of a new commercial publisher committed to the APC business model, with new journals offering free publishing until journals are established. APC payers need to take this into account for budgeting purposes; journals that today either are free or have very low APCs may have substantial APCs in a few year’s time.

Following are the original abstract (in French) by data analyst Tanoh Laurence Kakou and a table with the APCs of the 25 journals for which we have APC data for 2011 and 2016.

Résumé (Français)

Nous analysons des données de MDPI APC de 2011 à 2016. Notre recherche consiste à comprendre comment les frais de publication de MDPI ont évolué dans cette période. Nous avons analysé d’abord les données de chaque période. D’abord 2011, 2014, 2015, puis 2016. Puis nous avons comparé l’évolution des frais de 2011 à 2016, de 2014 à 2015 et de 2015 à 2016.

Les données de 2011 sont des prélèvements d’un échantillon effectué en 2011 par Solomon et Björk (2012) sur uniquement 25 revues avec des frais de publication. Ainsi, la moyenne des frais est 624 CHF, la médiane est de 500 CHF et le mode est de 300 CHF. Sensors a les frais de publication les plus élevés (1,600 CHF). Tandis que Molbank détient les moins élevés (200 CHF). En 2016, on a obtenu une moyenne de 345 CHF, une médiane de 300 CHF et un mode de 0 CHF. Sensors, Marine Drugs et Molecules ont les frais (1,800 CHF) les plus élevés. En ce qui a trait à l’évolution des frais entre 2011 et 2016, on obtient une moyenne de 115%, d’une médiane de 75% et d’un mode de 167%. S’agissant de l’évolution du nombre du montant des frais, nous obtenons une moyenne de 523 CHF, d’une médiane de 500 CHF et d’un mode de 200 CHF. Seule les frais de Algorithms n’ont pas changé. Ils sont restés à 300 CHF soit une évolution de 0%. Tandis que Polymers augmente de 367% qui représentent une valeur ajoutée de 1100 CHF.

Concernant les données de 2014 de Morrison et al, (2015) elles ont été effectuées sur toutes les 124 revues au site web de MDPI. On obtient dans cet échantillon, une moyenne de 372 CHF, d’une médiane de 300 CHF et d’un mode 0 CHF. 3 revues : Sensors, Marine Drugs et Molecules détiennent les frais les plus élevés. En 2015, Morrison et al. (2016) ont étudié 141 revues. 70 revues n’avaient pas de frais de publication. Sensors, Marine Drugs et Molecules gardent les mêmes frais (1800 CHF). Par rapport à l’évolution des frais de publication de 2014 à 2015, deux tendances s’observent.

Au niveau de l’évolution des frais des 124 revues de 2014 à 2015, les frais de 84 revues n’ont pas changé. 40 revues ont baissé leurs frais.

En mars 2016, nous avons trouvé 155 revues au site web de MDPI. Presque la moitié (72 revues) sont <>. La moyenne FDP est 359 CHF (662 CHF si on exclut les revues sans frais) la médiane 300 CHF (500 CHF si on exclut les revues sans frais et le mode 0 (300 CHF si on exclut les revues sans frais).

Au niveau de l’évolution 2015 et 2016, la moyenne augmentation est 18%, (60 CHF), une médiane de 0 et un mode de 0.

Conclusion

L’analyse des données de MDPI APC de 2011 à 2016 montre que les frais de publication de cette période ont augmenté en moyenne 84%, allant jusqu’ à 367% pour la revue Polymers. Cependant entre 2014 et 2015, on a constaté une stabilité des frais et même une baisse de 100% de 6 revues : Sports, Systems, Technologies, Toxics, Universe, Veterinary Sciences. Entre 2015 et 2016, on a remarqué en augmentation en moyenne de 18% (60 CHF).

JOURNAL NAME APC 2011 (CHF) APC 2016 (CHF) Change 2016 – 2011
Algorithms 300 300 0
Cancers 300 800 500
Diversity 300 800 500
Energies 800 1,400 600
Entropy 1,000 1,400 400
Future Internet 300 500 200
Games 300 500 200
Genes 300 800 500
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 1,000 1,600 600
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 1,400 1,600 200
Marine Drugs 1,400 1,800 400
Materials 800 1,400 600
Molbank 200 300 100
Molecules 1,400 1,800 400
Nutrients 500 1,500 1,000
Pharmaceuticals 500 800 300
Pharmaceutics 300 500 200
Polymers 300 1,400 1,100
Remote Sensing 500 1,600 1,100
Sensors 1,600 1,800 200
Sustainability 500 1,200 700
Symmetry 300 800 500
Toxins 500 1,400 900
Viruses 500 1,500 1,000
Water 300 1,200 900
Average 624 1,148 524

Réference

Solomon, D.J. & Björk, B.-C. (2012) A study of open access journals using article processing charges. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci. Technol. 2012, 63, pp. 1485–1495. Retrieved from http://www.openaccesspublishing.org/apc2/preprint.pdf February 2, 2016.