Mesurer les dépenses d’APC : méthodologie et étude de cas. Approche comparée Aix Marseille Université – Université de Lorraine

Auteurs/Authors : Marlène Delhaye, Jean-François Lutz

Souvent abusivement désigné comme le modèle « auteur-payeur », l’open access gold est généralement financé en amont par les institutions d’enseignement supérieur et de recherche qui éditent et diffusent les revues.

De fait, le DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) recense 67 % de revues en open access – dont la RFSIC – ne demandant aucun frais de publication aux auteurs. Le tiers de revues restant s’appuyant sur le paiement par les auteurs – ou leur institution de rattachement le plus souvent – de frais de traitement (Article Processing Charges, APC) pour assurer la diffusion ouverte des articles que celles-ci ont accepté de publier.

À ces revues s’ajoutent les revues traditionnellement disponibles sur abonnement qui proposent une option de diffusion en open access à l’article : il s’agit du modèle de l’open access « hybride ».

Le suivi de l’évolution des coûts engendrés par l’open access gold aussi bien que par l’open access hybride suscite un intérêt depuis la fin des années 2000. Il devient crucial dans certains pays (Royaume-Uni) à compter de 2012 et est désormais un enjeu reconnu à l’échelon européen. Après avoir présenté l’état de la réflexion européenne dans le domaine du suivi des dépenses d’APC, l’étude s’attache à présenter trois méthodes de suivi qui peuvent être mises en place au sein d’établissements d’enseignement supérieur et de recherche : utilisation d’une base de données bibliographique ; sollicitation des éditeurs et recours au logiciel comptable. Ces méthodes ont été appliquées à deux universités (Aix-Marseille Université et l’Université de Lorraine) sur des données allant de deux à trois années (2013-2015).

L’article présente de premiers résultats qui permettent d’identifier et de discuter des forces et des faiblesses de chacune des approches méthodologiques évoquées.


Offsetting and its discontents: challenges and opportunities of open access offsetting agreements

Author : Liam Earney

The growth of open access (OA) via the payment of article processing charges (APCs) in hybrid journals has been a key feature of the approach to OA in the UK. In response, Jisc Collections has been piloting ‘offsetting agreements’ that explicitly link subscription and APCs, seeking to reduce one as the other grows.

However, offsetting agreements have become increasingly contentious with institutions, advocates and publishers.

With reference to issues such as cost, administrative efficiency, transparency and the transition to open access, this paper provides an update on the status of UK negotiations, reflects on the challenges and opportunities presented by such agreements, and considers the implications for the path of future negotiations.

URL : Offsetting and its discontents: challenges and opportunities of open access offsetting agreements


A ‘gold-centric’ implementation of open access: Hybrid journals, the ‘total cost of publication’ and policy development in the UK and beyond

Authors : Stephen Pinfield, Jennifer Salter, Peter A. Bath

This paper reports analysis of data from higher education institutions in the UK on their experience of the open-access (OA) publishing market working within a policy environment favouring ‘Gold’ OA (OA publishing in journals).

It models the ‘total cost of publication’ – comprising costs of journal subscriptions, OA article-processing charges (APCs) and new administrative costs – for a sample of 24 institutions. APCs are shown to constitute 12% of the ‘total cost of publication’, APC administration, 1%, and subscriptions, 87% (for a sample of seven publishers).

APC expenditure in institutions rose between 2012 and 2014 at the same time as rising subscription costs. There was disproportionately high take up of Gold options for Health and Life Sciences articles.

APC prices paid varied widely, with a mean APC of £1,586 in 2014. ‘Hybrid’ options (subscription journals also offering OA for individual articles on payment of an APC) were considerably more expensive than fully-OA titles, but the data indicate a correlation between APC price and journal quality (as reflected in the citation rates of journals).

The policy implications of these developments are explored particularly in relation to hybrid OA and potential of offsetting subscription and APC costs.


Scholarly journal publishing in transition – from restricted to open access

Authors : Bo-Christer Björk

While the business models used in most segments of the media industry have been profoundly changed by the Internet surprisingly little has changed in the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals. Electronic delivery has become the norm, but the same publishers as before are still dominating the market, selling content to subscribers.

This article asks the question why Open Access (OA) to the output of mainly publicly funded research hasn’t yet become the mainstream business model. OA implies a reversal of revenue logic from readers paying for content to authors paying for dissemination via universal free access.

The current situation is analyzed using Porter’s five forces model. The analysis demonstrates a lack of competitive pressure in this industry, leading to so high profit levels of the leading publishers that they have not yet felt a strong need to change the way they operate.

OA funded by article publishing charges (APCs) might nevertheless start rapidly becoming more common. The driving force currently consists of the public research funders and administrations in Europe, which are pushing for OA by starting dedicated funds for paying the APCs of authors from the respective countries.

This has in turn lead to a situation in which publishers have introduced “big deals” involving the bundling of (a) subscription to all their  journals, (b) APCs for their hybrid journals and (c) in the future also APCs to their full OA journals.

This appears to be a relatively risk free strategy for the publishers in question to retain their dominance of the market and high profit levels also in the future.


Elsevier: Among the World’s Largest Open Access Publishers as of 2016

Author : Heather Morrison

Highlights of this broad-brush case study of Elsevier’s Open Access (OA) journals as of 2016: Elsevier offers 511 fully OA journals and 2,149 hybrids. Most fully OA journals do not charge article processing charges (APCs). APCs of fully OA journals average $660 US ($1,731 excluding no-fee journals); hybrid OA averages $2,500.

A practice termed author nominal copyright is observed, where copyright is in the name of the author although the author contract is essentially a copyright transfer. The prospects for a full Elsevier flip to OA via APC payments for articles going forward are considered and found to be problematic.


Should Indian researchers pay to get their work published?

Authors : Muthu Madhan, Siva Shankar Kimidi, Subbiah Gunasekaran, Subbiah Arunachalam

We raise the financial and ethical issue of paying for getting papers published in professional journals. Indian researchers have published more than 37,000 papers in over 880 open access journals from 61 countries in the five years 2010-14 as seen from Science Citation Index Expanded.

This accounts for about 14.4% of India’s overall publication output, considerably higher than the 11.6% from the world. Indian authors have used 488 OA journals levying article processing charge (APC), ranging from INR 500 to US$5,000, in the five years to publish about 15,400 papers.

More than half of these papers were published in just 13 journals. PLoS One and Current Science are the OA journals Indian researchers use most often. Most leading Indian journals are open access and they do not charge APC. Use of OA journals levying APC has increased over the four years from 242 journls and 2557 papers in 2010 to 328 journals and 3,634 papers in 2014.

There has been an increase in the use of non-APC journals as well, but at a lower pace. About 27% of all Indian papers in OA journals are in ‘Clinical Medicine,’ and 11.7% in ‘Chemistry.’ Indian researchers have used nine mega journals to publish 3,100 papers.

We estimate that India is potentially spending about US$2.4 million annually on APCs and suggest that it would be prudent for Indian authors to make their work freely available through interoperable repositories, a trend that is growing significantly in Latin America and China, especially when research is facing a funding crunch.

We further suggest bringing all Indian OA journals on to a single platform similar to SciELO, and all repositories be harvested by CSIR-URDIP which is already managing the OA repositories of the laboratories of CSIR, DBT and DST.

Such resource sharing will not only result in enhanced efficiency and reduced overall costs but also facilitate use of standard metadata among repositories.


Business process costs of implementing “gold” and “green” open access in institutional and national contexts

Authors : Robert Johnson, Stephen Pinfield, Mattia Fosci

As open access (OA) publication of research outputs becomes increasingly common and is mandated by institutions and research funders, it is important to understand different aspects of the costs involved.

This paper provides an early review of administrative costs incurred by universities in making research outputs OA, either via publication in journals (“Gold” OA), involving payment of article-processing charges (APCs), or via deposit in repositories (“Green” OA).

Using data from 29 UK institutions, it finds that the administrative time, as well as the cost incurred by universities, to make an article OA using the Gold route is over 2.5 times higher than Green. Costs are then modeled at a national level using recent UK policy initiatives from Research Councils UK and the Higher Education Funding Councils’ Research Excellence Framework as case studies.

The study also demonstrates that the costs of complying with research funders’ OA policies are considerably higher than where an OA publication is left entirely to authors’ discretion.

Key target areas for future efficiencies in the business processes are identified and potential cost savings calculated. The analysis is designed to inform ongoing policy development at the institutional and national levels.

URL : Business process costs of implementing “gold” and “green” open access in institutional and national contexts

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