Article processing charges for open access publication—the situation for research intensive universities in the USA and Canada

Authors : David Solomon, Bo-Christer Björk


Open access (OA) publishing via article processing charges (APCs) is growing as an alternative to subscription publishing.

The Pay It Forward (PIF) Project is exploring the feasibility of transitioning from paying subscriptions to funding APCs for faculty at research intensive universities.

Estimating of the cost of APCs for the journals authors at research intensive universities tend to publish is essential for the PIF project and similar initiatives. This paper presents our research into this question.


We identified APC prices for publications by authors at the 4 research intensive United States (US) and Canadian universities involved in the study.

We also obtained APC payment records from several Western European universities and funding agencies. Both data sets were merged with Web of Science (WoS) metadata. We calculated the average APCs for articles and proceedings in 13 discipline categories published by researchers at research intensive universities.

We also identified 41 journals published by traditionally subscription publishers which have recently converted to APC funded OA and recorded the APCs they charge.


We identified 7,629 payment records from the 4 European APC payment databases and 14,356 OA articles authored by PIF partner university faculty for which we had listed APC prices.

APCs for full OA journals published by PIF authors averaged 1,775 USD; full OA journal APCs paid by Western European funders averaged 1,865 USD; hybrid APCs paid by Western European funders averaged 2,887 USD.

The APC for converted journals published by major subscription publishers averaged 1,825 USD. APC funded OA is concentrated in the life and basic sciences.

APCs funded articles in the social sciences and humanities are often multidisciplinary and published in journals such as PLOS ONE that largely publish in the life sciences.


Full OA journal APCs average a little under 2,000 USD while hybrid articles average about 3,000 USD for publications by researchers at research intensive universities.

There is a lack of information on discipline differences in APCs due to the concentration of APC funded publications in a few fields and the multidisciplinary nature of research.

URL : Article processing charges for open access publication—the situation for research intensive universities in the USA and Canada


What Motivates Authors of Scholarly Articles? The Importance of Journal Attributes and Potential Audience on Publication Choice

Authors : Carol Tenopir, Elizabeth Dalton, Allison Fish, Lisa Christian, Misty Jones, MacKenzie Smith

In this article we examine what motivations influence academic authors in selecting a journal in which to publish.

A survey was sent to approximately 15,000 faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers at four large North American research universities with a response rate of 14.4% (n = 2021).

Respondents were asked to rate how eight different journal attributes and five different audiences influence their choice of publication output. Within the sample, the most highly rated attributes are quality and reputation of journal and fit with the scope of the journal; open access is the least important attribute. Researchers at other research-intensive institutions are considered the most important audience, while the general public is the least important.

There are significant differences across subject disciplines and position types. Our findings have implications for understanding the adoption of open access publishing models.

URL : What Motivates Authors of Scholarly Articles? The Importance of Journal Attributes and Potential Audience on Publication Choice

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Deconstructing the Durham Statement: The Persistence of Print Prestige During the Age of Open Access

Author : Sarah Reis

In the seven years following the promulgation of the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, law journals have largely responded to the call to make articles available in open, electronic formats, but not to the call to stop print publication and publish only in electronic format.

Nearly all of the flagship law reviews at ABA-accredited institutions still insist on publishing in print, despite the massive decline in print subscribers and economic and environmental waste.

The availability of a law journal in print format remains a superficial indicator of prestige and quality to law professors, student editors, and law school administrations. A shift from print publication to electronic-only publication is not as simple as having a law journal merely cancel its print runs, but rather requires several fundamental changes to the publication process.

Many law journals must also greatly improve their websites before electronic-only publication can truly replace print publication. The Durham Statement was drafted by law library directors from top law schools across the country.

Law librarians today must assist in facilitating the transition if we ever expect to see a world of electronic-only publication of law journals.

This paper argues that the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law Review must be the first law reviews to transition to electronic-only publication, after which other law journals will follow suit.


Open access publishing trend analysis: statistics beyond the perception

Authors : Elisabetta Poltronieri, Elena Bravo, Moreno Curti, Maurizio Ferri, Cristina Mancini


The purpose of this analysis was twofold: to track the number of open access journals acquiring impact factor, and to investigate the distribution of subject categories pertaining to these journals. As a case study, journals in which the researchers of the National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) in Italy have published were surveyed.


Data were collected by searching open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals ) then compared with those having an impact factor as tracked by the Journal Citation Reports for the years 2010-2012. Journal Citation Reports subject categories were matched with Medical Subject Headings to provide a larger content classification.


A survey was performed to determine the Directory journals matching the Journal Citation Reports list, and their inclusion in a given subject area.


In the years 2010-2012, an increase in the number of journals was observed for Journal Citation Reports (+ 4.93%) and for the Directory (+18.51%). The discipline showing the highest increment was medicine (315 occurrences, 26%).


From 2010 to 2012, the number of open access journals with impact factor has gradually risen, with a prevalence for journals relating to medicine and biological science disciplines, suggesting that authors prefer to publish more than before in open access journals.



The Costs of Open and Closed Access: Using the Finnish Research Output as an Example

Authors : Jyrki Ilva, Markku Antero Laitinen, Jarmo Saarti

The Open Access movement in scientific publishing has been gathering momentum in the European Union and its member states, partly due to the policies of some of its main research funders.

Already we have seen encouraging research results on the effects of openness on the dissemination of scientific outputs. As business models of Open Access publishing are still under development, the aim of our paper is to assess the statistical tools and data that the Finnish libraries currently have for comparing the costs associated with different modes of disseminating scientific publications.

We will also analyse the potential costs associated with Open Access publishing models and compare them with the current cost structure of – mostly – paywalled (PW) access.

The discussion will include a description of current Finnish Open Access policies and their funding models. The financial analysis will be based on the statistical data found in the national Research Library Statistics database and the Finnish National Research Publications database, Juuli.

We will discuss the alternatives on how best to develop statistical tools to estimate the true costs of scientific publishing.

URL : The Costs of Open and Closed Access: Using the Finnish Research Output as an Example


Open Access, Innovation, and Research Infrastructure

Authors : Benedikt Fecher, Gert G. Wagner

In this article we argue that the current endeavors to achieve open access in scientific
literature require a discussion about innovation in scholarly publishing and research infrastructure.

Drawing on path dependence theory and addressing different open access (OA) models and recent political endeavors, we argue that academia is once again running the risk of outsourcing the organization of its content.

URL : Open Access, Innovation, and Research Infrastructure

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Économie et bibliothèques : Une dialectique au long cours numérique

Auteurs/Authors : Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Sami Mabrak

Économie et bibliothèques », «  Économie des bibliothèques », «  Économie en bibliothèques » sont autant d’expressions utilisées pour qualifier les travaux qui posent à la bibliothèque la question de sa valeur économique.

La réponse à cette question a varié et varie encore selon les contextes et les époques. Le web a projeté les bibliothèques dans un univers où elles doivent composer avec de nouvelles régulations.

Notre propos s’attachera à aborder cette question sous l’angle des bibliothèques académiques qui, plus que toutes autres, rencontrent le défi d’un univers de plus en plus ouvert, soumis aux régulations de l’économie numérique.

Les bibliothèques, dans la pluralité de leur typologie, ont accompagné et participé à la transition de nos sociétés vers le numérique.

Par l’intégration des contenus numériques dans leurs collections, par la formation des usagers, par la transformation de leurs bâtiments et de leurs espaces de travail et d’enseignement, par leur engagement dans le mouvement du libre accès, et plus récemment par leur implication dans les données de la recherche, elles ont été d’infatigables chevilles ouvrières de cette transition.

Ce faisant, elles ont participé à des initiatives, des expérimentations et/ou des projets de recherche qui ont contribué à faire évoluer leurs équipes et leurs missions.

Il serait d’ailleurs intéressant qu’un travail de recherche et d’analyse puisse un jour se pencher sur cette période extraordinaire qui a vu des organisations séculaires se transformer et se réinventer de manière si significative en si peu de temps.

Pour les bibliothèques académiques, qui sont au centre de notre propos, les transformations qu’elles ont connues (et qu’elles connaissent encore) sont intimement liées à celles de la communication scientifique sur le web et de l’édition scientifique.

Leur défi aujourd’hui consiste à continuer à exister dans un univers numérique, de plus en plus ouvert, où le nombre et la nature des intermédiaires n’ont jamais été aussi diversifiés.

Plus fondamentalement, la question de leur valeur et de leur poids économique, qui leur a été posée dès les années 1970 par leurs tutelles, se réactive aujourd’hui dans une économie numérique de l’accès.

Aux côtés des tutelles, les usagers, par leurs pratiques culturelles et sociales, posent indirectement la question de la valeur économique de la bibliothèque.