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.

URL : http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/96336/

An Exploration of Faculty Experiences With Open Access Journal Publishing at Two Canadian Comprehensive Universities

Authors : Barbara McDonald, Ian Gibson, Elizabeth Yates, Carol Stephenson


This exploratory study was intended to shed light on Canadian academics’ participation in, knowledge of and attitudes towards Open Access (OA) journal publishing. The primary aim of the study was to inform the authors’ schools’ educational and outreach efforts to faculty regarding OA publishing.

The survey was conducted at two Canadian comprehensive universities: Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario) in 2014.


A web-based survey was distributed to faculty at each university. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Limitations: Despite the excellent response rates, the results are not generalizable beyond these two institutions.


The Brock response rate was 38%; the Laurier response rate was 23% from full-time faculty and five percent from part-time faculty. Brock and Laurier faculty members share common characteristics in both their publishing practices and attitudes towards OA.

Science/health science researchers were the most positive about OA journal publishing; arts and humanities and social sciences respondents were more mixed in their perceptions; business participants were the least positive. Their concerns focused on OA journal quality and associated costs.


While most survey respondents agreed that publicly available research is generally a good thing, this study has clearly identified obstacles that prevent faculty’s positive attitudes towards OA from translating into open publishing practices.

URL : An Exploration of Faculty Experiences With Open Access Journal Publishing at Two Canadian Comprehensive Universities

Alternative location : https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/3703

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.

URL : http://www.openaccesspublishing.org/Landscape%20Green%20versionacr.pdf

Laying Tracks as the Train Approaches: Innovative Open Access Book Publishing at Heidelberg University from the Editors’ Point of View

Authors : Andrea Hacker, Elizabeth Corrao

In April 2016, Heidelberg University’s newly founded open access publisher heiUP launched the first volume of the new book series Heidelberg Studies in Transculturality.

This article reports on the challenges, accomplishments, and setbacks that informed the entire editorial production process, not only of the first volume but also of the series and the publishing enterprise overall.

The authors offer insights on crucial issues that any new open access publishing endeavour at an institution might face, namely acquiring manuscripts, designing and building workflows, and collaborating with partners to build an outlet for hosting the finished product.

This article also illustrates how the goal of providing a new digital reading experience through an innovative HTML format, in addition to print-on-demand and PDF versions of each manuscript, affected the progress of the entire project. Finally, we report on what it took to deliver results.

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jsp.48.2.76

Open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals

Author : Jeff C. Clements

The accumulation of evidence that open access publishing can increase citation rates highlights one benefit of universal accessibility to scholarly works. However, studies investigating the effect of open access publishing on citations are typically conducted across a wide variety of journals and disciplines, introducing a number of potential issues and limiting their utility for specific disciplines.

Here, I used three primary marine ecology journals with an open access option as a “microcosm” of scientific publishing to determine whether or not open access articles received more citations than non-open access articles during the same time frame, controlling for self-citations, article type, and journal impact factor.

I also tested for the effects of time since publication and the number of authors. Citations were positively correlated with time since publication and differed across the three journals. In addition, open access articles received significantly more citations than non-open access articles.

Self-citations increased with author number and were affected by a complex interaction between open access, journal, and time since publication. This study demonstrates that open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals, although the causal factors driving this trend are unknown.

URL : Open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/facets-2016-0032

Open-Access Mega-Journals: A Bibliometric Profile

Authors : Simon Wakeling, Peter Willett, Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry, Stephen Pinfield, Valérie Spezi

In this paper we present the first comprehensive bibliometric analysis of eleven open-access mega-journals (OAMJs).

OAMJs are a relatively recent phenomenon, and have been characterised as having four key characteristics: large size; broad disciplinary scope; a Gold-OA business model; and a peer-review policy that seeks to determine only the scientific soundness of the research rather than evaluate the novelty or significance of the work. Our investigation focuses on four key modes of analysis: journal outputs (the number of articles published and changes in output over time); OAMJ author characteristics (nationalities and institutional affiliations); subject areas (the disciplinary scope of OAMJs, and variations in sub-disciplinary output); and citation profiles (the citation distributions of each OAMJ, and the impact of citing journals).

We found that while the total output of the eleven mega-journals grew by 14.9% between 2014 and 2015, this growth is largely attributable to the increased output of Scientific Reports and Medicine.

We also found substantial variation in the geographical distribution of authors. Several journals have a relatively high proportion of Chinese authors, and we suggest this may be linked to these journals’ high Journal Impact Factors (JIFs).

The mega-journals were also found to vary in subject scope, with several journals publishing disproportionately high numbers of articles in certain sub-disciplines.

Our citation analsysis offers support for Björk & Catani’s suggestion that OAMJs’s citation distributions can be similar to those of traditional journals, while noting considerable variation in citation rates across the eleven titles.

We conclude that while the OAMJ term is useful as a means of grouping journals which share a set of key characteristics, there is no such thing as a “typical” mega-journal, and we suggest several areas for additional research that might help us better understand the current and future role of OAMJs in scholarly communication.

URL : Open-Access Mega-Journals: A Bibliometric Profile

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165359

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.

URL : http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/54926/