The Pricing of Open Access Journals: Diverse Niches and Sources of Value in Academic Publishing

Authors : Kyle Siler, Koen Frenken

Open Access (OA) publishing has created new academic and economic niches in contemporary science. OA journals offer numerous publication outlets with varying editorial philosophies and business models.

This article analyzes the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (N=12,127) to identify characteristics of OA academic journals related to the adoption of Article Processing Charge (APC)-based business models, as well as price points of journals that charge APCs. Journal Impact Factor (JIF), language, publisher mission, DOAJ Seal, economic and geographic regions of publishers, peer review duration and journal discipline are all significantly related to the adoption and pricing of journal APCs.

Even after accounting for other journal characteristics (prestige, discipline, publisher country), journals published by for-profit publishers charge the highest APCs. Journals with status endowments (JIF, DOAJ Seal), articles written in English, published in wealthier regions, and in medical or science-based disciplines are also relatively costlier.

The OA publishing market reveals insights into forces that create economic and academic value in contemporary science. Political and institutional inequalities manifest in the varying niches occupied by different OA journals and publishers.

URL : The Pricing of Open Access Journals: Diverse Niches and Sources of Value in Academic Publishing


Exposing the predators. Methods to stop predatory journals

“The internet is greatly improving the impact of scholarly journals, but also poses new threats to their quality. Publishers have arisen that abuse the Gold Open Access model, in which the author pays a fee to get his article published, to make money with so-called predatory journals. These publishers falsely claim to conduct peer review, which makes them more prone to publish fraudulent and plagiarised research. This thesis looks at three possible methods to stop predatory journals: black- and white-lists, open peer review systems and new metrics. Black- and whitelists have set up rules and regulations that credible publishers and journals should follow. Open peer review systems should make it harder for predatory publishers to make false claims about their peer review process. Metrics should measure more aspects of research impact and become less liable to gaming. The question is, which of these three methods is the best candidate to stop predatory journals. As all three methods have their drawbacks, especially for new but high quality journals, none of them stop predatory journals on its own can. Rather, we need a system in which researchers, publishers and reviewers communicate more openly about the research they create, disseminate and read. But above all, we need to find a way to take away incentives for researchers and publishers to engage in fraudulent practices.”


The size distribution of open access pub…

The size distribution of open access publishers: A problem for open access? :

“I stumbled across the question of publisher size while preparing for an earlier article. From the viewpoint of an economist, the size distribution of open access publishers looked inefficient. In this article I first explore reasons to be sceptical to a situation with a large number of small publishers. Then I go through the numbers from the Directory of Open Access Journals, also discussing problems inherent in the material. The results are then compared to similar data about toll access publishing. A conclusion is that, even though numbers may lack in exactitude, there seems to be a need for institutions to look at how they organize their publishing activities.”