APCs comparisons among different publishers in 2019

Abstract

This post features 4 comparisons between publishers and sub-publishers of fully open access journals that are included in our longitudinal APC study. Traditional publisher Wolters Kluwer owns two sub-publishers (or imprints). Wolters Kluwer Medknow journals tend not to charge APCs, and have low prices when they do charge. Wolters Kluwer Lippincott journals tend to charge, and prices are high. Indonesian-based Universitas Negeri Semerang is now one of the world’s largest OA journal publishers by the number of journals and appears to be new to online publishing using open-source software. Very few of their journals have APCs. The traditional Oxford University Press tends to have APCs, and their APCs are more than twice as high as a new UK-based not-for-profit OA journal publisher, Ubiquity Press. MDPI and Hindawi are very similar, both are fairly new, APC based commercial OA journal publishers; but Hindawi’s average APC is 44% higher than MDPIs. To understand the economics of OA journal publishing, it is necessary to take into account the strategies of particular publishers and even sub-publishers.

Research Question: are publishers and sub-publishers of fully open access journals pursuing observably different strategies with respect to publication fees (charging / non-charging, pricing strategies).

Method: 4 pairs of publishers or sub-publishers (imprints) were selected for comparison using the data from OA Main 2019, based on what appear to be differences in approach by publishers that are otherwise similar: Wolters Kluwer’s Medknow (India-based, OA in origin) & Lippincott (U.S. based, traditional subscriptions in origin); university-based publishers Universitas Negeri Semarang (Indonesia) & University of Oxford (U.K.); University of Oxford & Ubiquity (both U.K. based, traditional subscriptions v. OA origin) and MDPI & Hindawi (both commercial, OA in origin based on the APC model). Status of fully OA journals published by each publisher was compared, focusing on the tendency to charge (or not) and the amount of APC for charging journals.

Detail

1.Wolters Kluwer Medknow & Lippincott

Wolters Kluwer is one of the world’s oldest commercial scholarly publishers, having been established in 1836 in the Netherlands, where the company’s global headquarters is still located (Wolters Kluwer,2019a).

After acquiring Medknow in 2011, Wolters Kluwer focuses on develop strategic partnerships and leverage global brand and strengthen go-to-market (Wolters Kluwer,2019a). However, in Wolter Kluwer 2019 half-year financial report says: “Recurring revenues accounted for 80% of total revenues and grew 5% organically (HY 2018: 5%). Recurring revenues include subscriptions and other renewing revenue streams”. In the report, they also publish their major revenue (85.5%) comes from digital and service subscription and open access APC does not show as a certain type of revenues below (Wolters Kluwer,2019b).

Chart 1. Wolters Kluwer 2019 Half-Year financial Report

Medknow & Lippincott are different sub-publishers (imprints) belonging to Wolters Kluwer.

In 2019, Wolters Kluwers Medknow publishes 527 journals among which 99 journals (18.8%) have an APC, over half of journals do not charge a publication fee (66.6%). It is also important to notice that a few journals are redirecting to risky URL which is concerning as there are chances, it has been stolen by some other company (Avasthi, N & Morrison, H, 2019). Among the 99 journals with an APC that were studied, the highest APC is 1,500 USD and the minimal price is 9 USD. The average APC is 200 USD per article and, the most common publication fee (mode) is 150 USD per article.

2019 APC Wolters Kluwers Medknow website

For Wolters Kluwers Lippincott’s fully OA journals, over two-thirds of its journals (71.9%) have a publication fee. Among the 23 journals, the average APC is 1,756 USD per article, the range of APC (article proceeding cost) starts from 1,000 USD to 2,250 USD, and most common APC (mode) is 1,500 USD per article.
Compare to Medknow, Lippincott has a much higher average APC. Lippincott’s average publication fee is almost 9 times the average of Medknow which is 200 USD. A lower standard deviation of Medknow indicates that the publication fees tend to be close to the mean (200 USD) of the set, while a high standard deviation of Lippincott indicates that the publication fees are spread out over a wider range.

2019 APC Wolters Kluwers Lippincott website

2. Universitas Negeri Semarang & University of Oxford

Oxford University Press is one of the oldest scholarly publishers officially established in 1668. From the late 1800s, Oxford University Press began to expand significantly and makes most of its revenue from subscription and book sales.

Universitas Negeri Semarang , it appears to be fairly new to online publishing; in DOAJ the first year of online publication is 2009 or later for all the journals (column IO). Most of the journals appear to be published in Indonesian and/or English. The platform used is OJS – open source journal publishing software developed by the Public Knowledge Project. In other words, we have contrasted a very old, traditional, UK-based publisher with a new approach. (Note the size of OA journal publishing by UNS – see Appendix A.)

Universitas Negeri Semarang, based in Indonesia, is among the largest fully open access publishers with 96 journals. According to DOAJ webpage, Indonesia becomes the second largest country of publisher by number of journals ( see Appendix B.) and Indonesian rupiah becomes the 6th among all the original currencies for OA journals which accounts for 1.86%. The University of Oxford is a very well-known traditional scholarly publisher. These two university publishers have different approaches to APC. After comparing these two publishers we found Universitas Negeri Semarang has no publication fee for 88.5% of its journals while the University of Oxford has a fee for 80.3% of its fully open access journals.

3. University of Oxford and Ubiquity

As mentioned before, Oxford University Press is one of the oldest scholarly publishers which has a rich history which can be traced back to the earliest days of printing.

Ubiquity Press as an open access publisher of peer-reviewed academic journals and books was founded by researchers at University College London (UCL) in 2012. As a highly cost-efficient press, it provides access to the platform to give universities and societies the infrastructure and services they need to run their own presses through the Ubiquity Partner Network and allow societies to earn income from open access.

The average price of Ubiquity journals that only charge in GBP is 469 GBP (596 USD) and the most common price among those journals (mode) is 300 GBP (381 USD). The average price of Oxford University Press journals that only charge in GBP is 4543 GBP (5769 USD) and the most common price among those journals (mode) is 1250 GBP (1587 USD). The chart below shows the differences between Ubiquity and Oxford University Press on the APC that charged in GBP.

The overall average APC of Ubiquity journals that have a fee is 577 USD while the overall average APC of the University of Oxford is 1,549 USD. The average APC difference between these two publishers is 972 USD.

2019 APC Ubiquity publisher website

4.MDPI and Hindawi

Hindawi is one of the world’s largest publishers of peer-reviewed, fully Open Access journals. Built on an ethos of openness, it works with the global academic community to promote open scholarly research to the world. Based in institutions around the globe, it focuses on serving authors while preserving robust publishing standards and editorial integrity.

MDPI has supported academic communities since 1996 as a non-profit institute for the promotion and preservation of the diversity of chemical compounds. Based in Basel, Switzerland, MDPI has the mission to foster open scientific exchange in all forms, across all disciplines.
Mr. Dietrich Rordorf joined MDPI as Dr. Shu-Kun Lin’s assistant in August 2005. As an experiment, a modified version of the online submission and editorial system based on the Open Journals System (http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs/) was launched by Dietrich for IJMS. Nowadays, MDPI has become the 7th largest publisher in number of articles published in 2018, and the largest publisher of open access articles in DOAJ in 2018.

MDPI and Hindawi charge fees for all the journals they published in 2019. However, their publication fees are different as the charts show below. Even though the highest APC are quite close for both publisher (2,049 USD for MDPI and 2,300 USD for Hindawi), the average APC for MDPI is 822 USD and 1,186 USD for Hindawi. We can also see the difference through mode. The most common price of Hindawi is 950 USD per article (Shi, A., 2019) while the most most common APC for MDPI journals is 350 CHF (359 USD) in 2019.

Cite as: Shi, A & Morrison, H. (2019). APCs comparisons among different publishers in 2019. Sustaining the knowledge https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2019/11/26/apcs-comparisons-among-different-publishers-in-2019/

Reference:

Morrison, H. (2018). MDPI 2019: price increases, some hefty, and more coming in July. Sustaining the knowledge https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2019/02/13/mdpi-2019-price-increases-some-hefty-and-more-coming-in-july/
Avasthi, N & Morrison, H. (2019). Medknow 2019 – is this the best for India? Sustaining the Knowledge commons. https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2019/11/23/medknow-2019-is-this-the-best-for-india/
Shi, A. (2019). Hindawi APC comparison 2018-2019. Sustaining the knowledge https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2019/11/05/hindawi-apc-comparison-2018-2019/
Brutus, W. (2015). Oxford Open: Increased the Number of Open Access Journal. Sustaining the knowledge https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/11/17/oxford-open-increased-the-number-of-open-access-journal/
Pasha, H. (2019). Open Access in 2019: Original currencies for article processing charge. Sustaining the knowledge https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2019/11/26/open-access-in-2019-original-currencies-for-article-processing-charge/
Pasha, H. (2018). Medknow in 2018: growing fast! Sustaining the knowledge https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2018/12/13/medknow-in-2018-growing-fast/
Hindawi (2019). About Hindawi. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from https://about.hindawi.com/
MDPI (2019). Overview. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from https://www.mdpi.com/about
Wolters Kluwer (2019)a. Our heritage. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from https://wolterskluwer.com/company/about-us/our-heritage
Wolters Kluwer (2019)b. Wolters Kluwer 2019 Half-Year Report. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from https://wolterskluwer.com/binaries/content/assets/wk/pdf/investors/press-releases/2019.07.31-wolters-kluwer-2019-half-year-report.pdf
Ubiquity Press (2019). About Ubiquity Press. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2019 from https://www.ubiquitypress.com/site/about-general/

Appendix A

Publishers in DOAJ in descending order of number of journals

As of Nov. 19, 2019, Universitas Negeri Semarang is the 12th largest publisher by number of journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Elsevier (339)
BMC (328)
Sciendo (326)
Hindawi Limited (238)
SpringerOpen (202)
Wolters Kluwer Medknow Publications (194)
MDPI AG (191)
SAGE Publishing (165)
Taylor & Francis Group (163)
Wiley (109)
Dove Medical Press (103)
Universitas Negeri Semarang (90)

Appendix B

Country of publisher in DOAJ in descending order of number of journals

As of Nov. 21, 2019, Indonesia becomes the second largest country of publisher by number of journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

United Kingdom (1,609)
Indonesia (1,565)
Brazil (1,445)
Spain (755)
United States (741)
Poland (619)
Iran, Islamic Republic of (511)
Turkey (404)
Italy (387)
Russian Federation (367)

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 Chart
References

AOSIS. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.aosis.co.za/

Directory of Open Access Journals. (Mn.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://doaj.org/

Cite as:

Wheatley, S. (2016). AOSIS 2015-2016 Comparison. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/06/01/aosis-2015-2016-comparison/

 

 

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 (http://www.nature.com/openresearch/publishing-with-npg/nature-journals/). 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.

NaturePublishingGroupChart

Cite as:

Wheatley, S. (2016). Nature Publishing Group 2016. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/04/27/nature-publishing-group-2016/

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.

2015/2016

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.

Screenshot (103)

Cite as:

Wheatley, S. (2016). SpringerOpen: 2015-2016 APCs Comparison. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/04/27/springeropen-2015-2016-apcs-comparison/

Comparison of BioMed Central APCs from 2010-2016

Method

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.

2010/2016

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

2013/2016

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.

2014/2016

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.

2015/2016

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.

Screenshot (75)

References

BioMed Central. (2016). Fees and funding. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from http://bmcanesthesiol.biomedcentral.com/submission-guidelines/fees-and-funding

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). CPI Inflation Calculator. Retrieved April 13, 2016, from http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

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

Cite as:   Wheatley, S. (2016). Comparison of BioMed Central APCs from 2010-2016. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/04/13/comparison-of-biomed-central-apcs-from-2010-2016/

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.

Screenshot (27)

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.

Footnotes

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.

Cite as:

Wheatley, S. (2016, March 23). BioMed Central Article Processing Charges. Retrieved December 13, 2019, from Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs website: https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2016/03/23/biomed-central-article-processing-charges/