Article Processing Charges, Altmetrics and Citation Impact: Is there an economic rationale?

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, David Sapinho

The present study aims to analyze 1) the relationship between Citation Normalized Score of scientific publications and Article Processing Charges (APCs) of Gold Open Access (OA) publications 2) the determinants of APCs.

To do so, we used APCs information provided by the OpenAPC database, citation scores of publications from the WoS database and, for Altmetrics, data from database, over the period from 2006 to 2019 for 83,752 articles published in 4751 journals belonging to 267 distinct publishers.

Results show that contrary to common belief, paying high APCs does not necessarily increase the impact of publications. First, large publishers with high impact are not the most expensive. Second, publishers with the highest APCs are not necessarily the best in terms of impact.

Correlation between APCs and impact is moderate. Regarding the determinants, results indicate that APCs are on average 50% higher in hybrid journals than in full OA journals. The results also suggest that Altmetrics do not have a great impact: OA articles that have garnered the most attention on internet are articles with relatively low APCs.

Another interesting result is that the “number of readers” indicator is more effective as it is more correlated with classic bibliometrics indicators than the Altmetrics score.