Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis

Author: Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo

Open access publishing has frequently been proposed as a solution to the serials crisis, which involved unsustainable budgetary pressures on libraries due to hyperinflation of subscription costs. The majority of open access articles are published in a minority of journals that levy article processing charges (APCs) paid by authors or their institutions upon acceptance.

Increases in APCs is proceeding at a rate three times that which would be expected if APCs were indexed according to inflation. As increasingly ambitious funder mandates are proposed, such as Plan S, it is important to evaluate whether authors show signs of price sensitivity in journal selection by avoiding journals that introduce or increase their APCs.

Examining journals that introduced an APC 4-5 years after launch or when flipping from a subscription model to immediate open access model showed no evidence that APC introduction reduced article volumes.

Multilevel modelling of APC sensitivity across 319 journals published by the four largest APC-funded dedicated commercial open access publishers (BMC, Frontiers, MDPI, and Hindawi) revealed that from 2012 to 2018 higher APCs were actually associated with increased article volumes.

These findings indicate that APC hyperinflation is not suppressed through market competition and author choice. Instead, demand for scholarly journal publications may be more similar to demand for necessities, or even prestige goods, which will support APC hyperinflation to the detriment of researchers, institutions, and funders.

URL : Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis

DOI : http://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10280

The Price of Gold: Curiosity?

Authors : Daniel W. Hook, Mark Hahnel, Christian Herzog

Gold open access as characterised by the payment of an article processing charge (APC) has become one of the dominant models in open access publication. This paper examines an extreme hypothetical case in which the APC model is the only model and the systematic issues that could develop in such a scenario.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1905.00880

If Research Libraries and Funders Finance Open Access: Moving Beyond Subscriptions and APCs

Authors : John Willinsky, Matthew Rusk

Following the examples of SCOAP3, in which libraries fund open access, and eLife, in which funding agencies have begun to directly fund open access scholarly publishing, this study presents an analysis of how creatively combining these two models might provide a means to move toward universal open access (without APCs).

This study calculates the publishing costs for the funders that sponsor the research and for the libraries that cover unsponsored articles for two nonprofit biomedical publishers, eLife and PLOS, and the nonprofit journal aggregator BioOne.

These entities represent a mix of publishing revenue models, including funder sponsorship, article processing charges (APC), and subscription fees. Using PubMed filtering and manual-sampling strategies, as well as publicly available publisher revenue data, the study found that, in 2015, 86 percent of the articles in eLife and PLOS acknowledge funder support, as do 76 percent of the articles in the largely subscription journals of BioOne.

Such findings can inform libraries and funding agencies, as well as publishers, in their consideration of a direct-payment open access model, as the study (a) demonstrates the cost breakdown for funder and library support for open access among this sample of X articles; (b) posits how publishing data-management organizations such as Crossref and ORCID can facilitate such a model of funder and library per-article open access payments; and (c) proposes ways in which such a model offers a more efficient, equitable, and scalable approach to open access across the disciplines than the prevailing APC model, which originated with biomedical publishing.

URL : If Research Libraries and Funders Finance Open Access: Moving Beyond Subscriptions and APCs

Alternative location : https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/article/view/16992

Few Open Access Journals are Plan S Compliant

Authors : Jan Erik Frantsvåg, Tormod Eismann Strømme

Much of the debate on Plan S seems to concentrate on how to make toll access journals open access, taking for granted that existing open access journals are Plan S compliant.

We suspected this was not so, and set out to explore this using DOAJ’s journal metadata. We conclude that an overwhelmingly large majority of open access journals are not Plan S compliant, and that it is small HSS publishers not charging APCs that are least compliant and will face major challenges with becoming compliant.

Plan S need to give special considerations to smaller publishers and/or non-APC-based journals.

URL : Few Open Access Journals are Plan S Compliant

Alternative location : https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201901.0165/v3

Monitoring open access publishing costs at Stockholm University

Author : Lisa Lovén

Stockholm University Library (SUB) has been tracking the University’s open access (OA) publishing costs within the local accounting system since 2016. The objective is to gain an overview of the costs and to use this as a basis for decisions about how to proceed in order to support the transition to OA at Stockholm University.

This article explains the reasons behind using the accounting system as the primary source of information and describes the workflow of tracking costs and how additional data are retrieved.

Basic findings from the 2017 cost compilation are outlined, and the steps taken in 2018, with consequences for both the current workflow and the costs at SUB, are briefly discussed. A breakout session on this topic was presented at the UKSG Annual Conference in Glasgow in 2018.

URL : Monitoring open access publishing costs at Stockholm University

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.451

Scholarly journals in building and civil engineering – the big picture and current impact of open access

Author : Bo-Christer Björk

The publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals has in the past 20 years moved from print to primarily digital publishing, but the subscription-based revenue model is still dominant.

This means that the additional benefits of open access to all scholarly articles still remains a vision, despite some progress. A selection of 72 leading journals in building & construction was studied, in order to determine the current status in this subfield of engineering. Of the approximately 9,500 articles published yearly in these, only some 5,6 % are in the 11 full OA journals included, and a couple of percentage more are paid OA articles in hybrid journals.

In most of the OA journals publishing is free for the authors. In terms of OA maturity, the field lags far behind the situation across all sciences, where at least 15 % of articles are in full OA journals.

If OA is to become more important in our field, the growth is likely to come from major publishers starting new journals funded by author payments (APCs) or converting existing hybrid journals once they have reached a critical share of paid OA articles.

URL : Scholarly journals in building and civil engineering – the big picture and current impact of open access

Alternative location : https://itcon.org/paper/2018/19

OpenAPC: a contribution to a transparent and reproducible monitoring of fee-based open access publishing across institutions and nations

Authors : Dirk Pieper, Christoph Broschinski

The OpenAPC initiative releases data sets on fees paid for open access (OA) journal articles by universities, funders and research institutions under an open database licence.

OpenAPC is part of the INTACT project, which is funded by the German Research Foundation and located at Bielefeld University Library.

This article provides insight into OpenAPC’s technical and organizational background and shows how transparent and reproducible reporting on fee-based open access can be conducted across institutions and publishers to draw conclusions on the state of the OA transformation process.

As part of the INTACT subproject, ESAC, the article also shows how OpenAPC workflows can be used to analyse offsetting deals, using the example of Springer Compact agreements.

URL : OpenAPC: a contribution to a transparent and reproducible monitoring of fee-based open access publishing across institutions and nations

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.439