OA Main 2019: Dataset, documentation and open peer review invitation

Update Jan. 20, 2020

Thank you to those who provided comments. No changes were suggested for the dataset per se; the documentation has been revised to reflect the comments and the final version is now available here.

OA APC Main 2019 dataset documentation final

This is an invitation to participate in an open peer review of the OA APC Main 2019 dataset, its documentation and the value of research blogposts made possible through this project. While feedback on the OA APC project is appreciated at any time, the formal open peer review period is Dec. 1, 2019 – Jan. 15, 2020. My perspective is that open peer review is in an early phase where experimentation with different approaches could be useful to develop future best practices.

For this reason, reviewers are welcome to submit comments in the format or venue of their choice. Comments on this blogpost are the most convenient approach for the author. Signed comments are preferred. At the end of the formal open peer review period (Jan. 15), I will write a summary of the open peer review process, including all comments and responses where warranted. Comments to date and replies are posted here.


Questions to consider in the open peer review process:

The following are meant as guidelines only. Please feel free to focus on one or more specific questions that you find of interest and/or feel qualified to comment on, including questions not asked.

1. Importance and relevance of the research questions: the project’s research question and sub-questions (from the documentation) are as follows:

Research question

What trends can be observed in APCs over time? Subquestions:

    • Will competition emerge, or will an inelastic market transition or reappear?
    • Will the percentage of journals that are charging and non-charging remain the same or change?
    • Will fully OA journals continue to actively publish, cease, change to partially OA (hybrid) or non-OA journals?
    • What are the OA publishing and charging / non-charging trends and practices of particular publishers? (Note: results of individual research project done sustainingknowledgecommons.org)

Are any of the research questions important, relevant, or otherwise? Do you have any advice for the research team or potential downstream researchers using the dataset about research that you think will be important and relevant in future? Do you have any suggestions for further research?

2. Adequacy of the documentation: is the documentation of the dataset sufficient so that a downstream researcher could continue this research if desired and/or use a subset of the dataset for further research?

3. Limitations: Are the limitations of the dataset sufficiently well described? Is anything missing?

4. Alternative approaches: Are the alternative approaches sufficiently well described?

5. Errors in the dataset: Please note any errors found in the dataset (be specific).

6. Other: please provide feedback on any aspects of the dataset or its documentation not covered in the above questions.

Second update January 8: thanks to Heather Staines from MIT’s Knowledge Futures Group for initiating a conversation on open peer review processes via e-mail and agreeing to publish on the blog. This conversation (which prompted the initial procedural update) can be found here.

Procedural update January 8: there are diverse approaches to data documentation and open peer review. Peer review of an earlier version of this dataset and documentation was published in MDPI’s innovative journal Data, designed for this purpose (Morrison et al. 2017). Tools have been, and are being, developed to provide technical support for new, more open approaches to peer review such as hypothes.is, which facilitates online annotations. I see tremendous potential for open peer review, online annotations, and collaborative online writing. However, I see the process of transformation as in an early stage where experiments (like this one) and open discussion are more important than technical solutions. In other words, my choice of this approach – blogpost and open-ended invitation –  is deliberate. Discussion about open peer review process and potential is welcome, although it is a side-conversation to reviewing this dataset designed to facilitate study of longitudinal trends in article processing charges.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2019). OA Main 2019: Dataset, documentation and open peer review invitation. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2019/11/20/oa-main-2019-dataset-documentation-and-open-peer-review-invitation/

Morrison, H., Brutus, W., Dumais-Desrosiers, M., Kakou, T. L., Laprade, K., Mehri, S., … Wheatley, S. (2017). Open Access Article Processing Charges (OA APC) Longitudinal Study 2016 Dataset. Data, 2(2), 13. https://doi.org/10.3390/data2020013


Rev. Jan. 20, 2020



Introducing the Open access article processing charges dataverse

The Open Access article processing charges dataverse is now open with two initial files that describe the sample of journals from DOAJ used for the May 2014 OA article processing fee census.

Files currently available

DOAJ publishers has charges 2014 05: this is a list of journals in DOAJ as of mid-May 2014 that “has charges” (sic – term used in DOAJ). This is the result of a screen scrape from a DOAJ Advanced Search screen as this field was not available in the DOAJ metadata on the census date.

DOAJ journals by APC pub size is a list of publishers in DOAJ that “has charges” in descending order by the number of journals using the article processing fee method. This analysis made it possible to identify the skewed distribution of this set of journals, with publishers tending to be large (50% APC journals) or small (1-9 journals, with 1 being the most common number by far).

DOAJ metadata files – the files downloaded from the DOAJ website for use in this study are posted. There are 3 csv files, from Nov. 2013 (used for the Nov. – Dec. 2013 pilot project); April 2014 (not used to date but retained as this dataset was downloaded before DOAJ removed APC information from the downloadable file) and May 14, 2014 (the dataset the 2014 census will focus on). If you are citing these files please note that you should cite DOAJ as well as this dataverse, and point readers to the current DOAJ metadata file for download.

Additional files will be released as time permits and as the work of collating results from various sources progresses. The files are in CSV format to permit for easy manipulation.

Thanks to the University of Ottawa Library and the Ontario Council of University Libraries’ Scholars Portal for the dataverse!

Housekeeping note: the dataverse URL changed with some technical work at Scholar’s Portal. It is now updated, but for some time the link would not have been working.

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2014). Introducing the Open access article processing charges dataverse. Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2014/07/21/introducing-the-open-access-article-processing-charges-dataverse/