Which subjects are most likely to charge article processing charges?

Since the SKC team is studying article processing charges, it’s important to emphasize that the majority of fully open access journals do not use APCs; our studies of this method are not intended as an endorsement of this business model. The following data is from a follow-up analysis based on the May 2014 survey of a sample of the 2,567 journals listed in DOAJ at that time that had article processing charges, 26% of the 9,709 titles in DOAJ at that time. For details on the sample, see our article in MDPI’s Publications. César’s dataset and documentation explaining the preparatory analysis of subjects in DOAJ will be posted shortly. The following table illustrates the difference in the tendencies of journals from different subjects to charge APCs. Medicine is the discipline most likely to charge APCs; 47% of the journals in our APC sample were from medicine compared to 23% of journals listed in DOAJ at that time. The “subject tendency to charge APCs” is calculated by subtracting the percentage of journals in DOAJ from the % of journals from sample with APC. A positive result means a greater tendency to appear in DOAJ than to charge APCs, while a negative result means a greater presence in DOAJ as a whole than in the APC sample. For example, humanities includes 14% of the journals in DOAJ but only 1% of the APC journals.

Subject Number of journals in DOAJ Percentage of journals in DOAJ % of journals from sample with APC Subject tendency to charge APCs
Medicine 2,235 23% 47% 24%
Biology and Life Sciences 664 7% 14% 7%
Technology and Engineering 970 10% 13% 3%
Physical Sciences and Math 666 7% 9% 2%
Science General 134 1% 1% -1%
Agriculture 414 4% 3% -1%
Law 183 2% 0% -2%
General Works 502 5% 2% -3%
Education 596 6% 2% -5%
Social Sciences 1,984 20% 8% -13%
Humanities 1,360 14% 1% -13%


Morrison, H.; Salhab, J.; Calvé-Genest, A.; Horava, T. Open Access Article Processing Charges: DOAJ Survey May 2014. Publications 2015, 3, 1-16. http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/3/1/1

Cite as:

Morrison, H. (2015). Which subjects are most likely to charge article processing charges? Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from https://sustainingknowledgecommons.org/2015/05/05/which-subjects-are-most-likely-to-charge-article-processing-charges/