The World’s Approach toward Publishing in Springer and Elsevier’s APC-Funded Open Access Journals

Authors : Hajar Sotudeh, Zahra Ghasempour


The present study explored tendencies of the world’s countries—at individual and scientific development levels—toward publishing in APC-funded open access journals.


Using a bibliometric method, it studied OA and NOA articles issued in Springer and Elsevier’s APC journals‎ during 2007–2011. The data were gathered using a wide number of sources including Sherpa/Romeo, Springer Author-mapper, Science Direct, Google, and journals’ websites.


The Netherlands, Norway, and Poland ranked highest in terms of their OA shares. This can be attributed to the financial resources allocated to publication in general, and publishing in OA journals in particular, by the countries.

All developed countries and a large number of scientifically lagging and developing nations were found to publish OA articles in the APC journals. The OA papers have been exponentially growing across all the countries’ scientific groups annually.

Although the advanced nations published the lion’s share of the OA-APC papers and exhibited the highest growth, the underdeveloped groups have been displaying high OA growth rates.

Practical Implications

Given the reliance of the APC model on authors’ affluence and motivation, its affordability and sustainability have been challenged.

This communication helps understand how countries at different scientific development and thus wealth levels contribute to the model.


This is the first study conducted at macro level clarifying countries’ contribution to the APC model—at individual and scientific-development levels—as the ultimate result of the interaction between authors’ willingness, the model affordability, and publishers and funding agencies’ support.

URL : The World’s Approach toward Publishing in Springer and Elsevier’s APC-Funded Open Access Journals


Converting the Literature of a Scientific Field to Open Access through Global Collaboration: The Experience of SCOAP3 in Particle Physics

Authors : Alexander Kohls, Salvatore Mele

Gigantic particle accelerators, incredibly complex detectors, an antimatter factory and the discovery of the Higgs boson—this is part of what makes CERN famous. Only a few know that CERN also hosts the world largest Open Access initiative: SCOAP3.

The Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics started operation in 2014 and has since supported the publication of 20,000 Open Access articles in the field of particle physics, at no direct cost, nor burden, for individual authors worldwide.

SCOAP3 is made possible by a 3000-institute strong partnership, where libraries re-direct funds previously used for subscriptions to ‘flip’ articles to ‘Gold Open Access’. With its recent expansion, the initiative now covers about 90% of the journal literature of the field.

This article describes the economic principles of SCOAP3, the collaborative approach of the partnership, and finally summarizes financial results after four years of successful operation.

URL : Converting the Literature of a Scientific Field to Open Access through Global Collaboration: The Experience of SCOAP3 in Particle Physics

Alternative location :

Gold Open Access Publishing in Mega-Journals: Developing Countries Pay the Price of Western Premium Academic Output

Authors : Jacintha Ellers, Thomas W. Crowther, Jeffrey A. Harvey

Open access publishing (OAP) makes research output freely available, and several national governments have now made OAP mandatory for all publicly funded research. Gold OAP is a common form of OAP where the author pays an article processing charge (APC) to make the article freely available to readers.

However, gold OAP is a cause for concern because it drives a redistribution of valuable research money to support open access papers in ‘mega-journals’ with more permissive acceptance criteria. We present a data-driven evaluation of the financial ramifications of gold OAP and provide evidence that gold OAP in mega-journals is biased toward Western industrialized countries.

From 2011 to 2015, the period of our data collection, countries with developing economies had a disproportionately greater share of articles published in the lower-tier mega-journals and thus paid article APCs that cross-subsidize publications in the top-tier journals of the same publisher.

Conversely, scientists from Western developed countries had a disproportionately greater share of articles published in those same top-tier journals. The global inequity of the cross-subsidizing APC model was demonstrated across five different mega-journals, showing that the issue is a common problem.

We need to develop stringent and fair criteria that address the global financial implications of OAP, as publication fees should reflect the real cost of publishing and be transparent for authors.


Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research

Authors : Kyle Siler, Stefanie Haustein, Elise Smith, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin

Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals.

This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options.

Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA).

We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications.

Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent.

Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.

URL : Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research


Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals

Authors : Alison Boba, Jill Emery

Utilizing the Project COUNTER Release 4 JR1-GOA report, two librarians explore these data in comparison to journal package subscriptions represented via the JR1 reports. This paper outlines the methodology and study undertaken at the Portland State University Library and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Library using these reports for the first time.

The initial outcomes of the study are provided in various Tables for 2014 and 2015. The intent of the study was to provide both institutions with a baseline from which to do further study. In addition, some ideas are given for how these reports can be used in vendor negotiations going forward.

URL : Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals


If funders and libraries subscribed to open access: The case of eLife, PLOS, and BioOne

Authors : John Willinsky​, Matthew Rusk

Following on recent initiatives in which funders and libraries directly fund open access publishing, this study works out the economics of systematically applying this approach to three biomedical and biology publishing entities by determining the publishing costs for the funders that sponsored the research, while assigning the costs for unsponsored articles to the libraries.

The study draws its data from the non-profit biomedical publishers eLife and PLOS, and the nonprofit journal aggregator BioOne, with this sample representing a mix of publishing revenue models, including funder sponsorship, article processing charges (APC), and subscription fees.

This funder-library open access subscription model is proposed as an alternative to both the closed-subscription model, which funders and libraries no longer favor, and the APC open access model, which has limited scalability across scholarly publishing domains.

Utilizing PubMed filtering and manual-sampling strategies, as well as publicly available publisher revenue data, the study demonstrates that in 2015, 86 percent of the articles in eLife and PLOS acknowledged funder support, as did 76 percent of the articles in the largely subscription journals of BioOne. Twelve percent of the articles identified the NIH as a funder, 8 percent identifies other U.S. government agencies.

Approximately half of the articles were funded by non-U.S. government agencies, including 1 percent by Wellcome Trust and 0.5 percent by Howard Hughes Medical Institute. For 17 percent of the articles, which lacked a funder, the study demonstrates how a collection of research libraries, similar to the one currently subscribing to BioOne, could cover publishing costs.

The goal of the study is to inform stakeholder considerations of open access models that can work across the disciplines by (a) providing a cost breakdown for direct funder and library support for open access publishing; (b) positing the use of publishing data-management organizations (such as Crossref and ORCID) to facilitate per article open access support; and (c) proposing ways in which such a model offers a more efficient, equitable, and scalable approach to open access than the prevailing APC model, which originated with biomedical publishing.

URL : If funders and libraries subscribed to open access: The case of eLife, PLOS, and BioOne



Growth of hybrid open access, 2009–2016

Author : Bo-Christer Björk

Hybrid Open Access is an intermediate form of OA, where authors pay scholarly publishers to make articles freely accessible within journals, in which reading the content otherwise requires a subscription or pay-per-view.

Major scholarly publishers have in recent years started providing the hybrid option for the vast majority of their journals. Since the uptake usually has been low per journal and scattered over thousands of journals, it has been very difficult to obtain an overview of how common hybrid articles are.

This study, using the results of earlier studies as well as a variety of methods, measures the evolution of hybrid OA over time. The number of journals offering the hybrid option has increased from around 2,000 in 2009 to almost 10,000 in 2016.

The number of individual articles has in the same period grown from an estimated 8,000 in 2009 to 45,000 in 2016. The growth in article numbers has clearly increased since 2014, after some major research funders in Europe started to introduce new centralized payment schemes for the article processing charges (APCs).

URL : Growth of hybrid open access, 2009–2016

Alternative location :