Current market rates for scholarly publishing services

Abstract:  For decades, the supra-inflation increase of subscription prices for scholarly journals has concerned scholarly institutions. After years of fruitless efforts to solve this “serials crisis”, open access has been proposed as the latest potential solution. However, also the prices for open access publishing are high and are rising well beyond inflation. What has been missing from the public discussion so far is a quantitative approach to determine the actual costs of efficiently publishing a scholarly article using state-of-the-art technologies, such that informed decisions can be made as to appropriate price levels. Here we provide a granular, step-by-step calculation of the costs associated with publishing primary research articles, from submission, through peer-review, to publication, indexing and archiving. We find that these costs range from less than US$200 per article in modern, large scale publishing platforms using post-publication peer-review, to about US$1,000 per article in prestigious journals with rejection rates exceeding 90%. The publication costs for a representative scholarly article today come to lie at around US$400. These results appear uncontroversial as they not only match previous data using different methodologies, but also conform to the costs that many publishers have openly or privately shared. We discuss the numerous additional non-publication items that make up the difference between these publication costs and final price at the more expensive, legacy publishers.

 

Data sharing practices and data availability upon request differ across scientific disciplines | Scientific Data

Abstract:  Data sharing is one of the cornerstones of modern science that enables large-scale analyses and reproducibility. We evaluated data availability in research articles across nine disciplines in Nature and Science magazines and recorded corresponding authors’ concerns, requests and reasons for declining data sharing. Although data sharing has improved in the last decade and particularly in recent years, data availability and willingness to share data still differ greatly among disciplines. We observed that statements of data availability upon (reasonable) request are inefficient and should not be allowed by journals. To improve data sharing at the time of manuscript acceptance, researchers should be better motivated to release their data with real benefits such as recognition, or bonus points in grant and job applications. We recommend that data management costs should be covered by funding agencies; publicly available research data ought to be included in the evaluation of applications; and surveillance of data sharing should be enforced by both academic publishers and funders. These cross-discipline survey data are available from the plutoF repository.

 

The DEAL cost modeling tool – DEAL Operations

“The DEAL agreements provide a framework to orient institutional investments around open dissemination of research, but budgeting for the open access publishing needs of researchers can be challenging for stakeholders. While previous library subscription fees are known, the entity of investments in open access publishing of articles (APCs) before the DEAL agreements is, in most cases, unknown, as publishing trends of authors were not previously tracked and payments were largely made outside of central oversight.

The DEAL Cost Modeling Tool is an interactive, Excel-based tool that addresses this challenge, giving every institution the means to calculate their total costs with the publishers Wiley and Springer Nature and assess the financial impact of the DEAL agreements on the immediate and long-term, in a variety of cost scenarios.”

The DEAL Cost Modeling Tool

Abstract:  The DEAL Cost Modeling Tool is a practical tool that gives German research institutions the ability to calculate their medium-term expenditure development with the publishers Wiley and Springer Nature under various assumptions and compare these with the actual costs of the DEAL agreements. The interactive Excel tool, which is equipped with a wide range of input and modeling options, incorporates publication and financial data from Germany from the years prior to the DEAL contracts and a robust methodology to generate projections that illustrate potential cost developments under a selection of relevant scenarios. Anchored in the validated article-level cost data generated through the DEAL agreements, the DEAL Cost Modeling Tool makes a practical contribution to the discourse on evaluation of impact and costs associated with  transformative open access publishing agreements as they proliferate globally, prompted by consensus around the OA2020 Initiative and widely documented in the ESAC Registry,

Costing academic publications: author-pay principle, and manuscript submission and article processing charges | Cardiovascular Journal of Africa

“Dataism, an emerging ‘religion’! All data should be freely available (explained in Homo Deus by Harari). Followers ‘believe all good things – including economic growth – depend on the freedom of information.’1

So it is with open-access scientific publications – free-to-read medico-scientific research reports on easily accessible sites on the internet. No paywall! With the so-called gold model, which the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa (CVJA) incidentally has, this is immediate availability on the day of publication.”

The burden of article processing charges on Canadian universities

Abstract:  The question about the cost of access to scholarly resources is usually answered by focusing on subscription cost. This study highlights the article processing charges (APCs) paid by Canada’s research institution as an additional scholarly resource. Unpaywall database was queried with the DOIs of CARL member universities’ publication indexed in the Web of Science. We find that while Open Access should in principle reduce the cost of access to scholarly literature, we are rather in a situation where both the cost of access and the cost of publishing are increasing simultaneously.

ARL and Six Universities Awarded National Science Foundation Grant to Study Discipline-Specific Models and Costs for Public Access to Research Data – Association of Research Libraries

“The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and six universities involved in the Data Curation Network a $297,019 grant to conduct research, develop models, and collect costing information for public access to research data across five disciplinary areas. The project, Completing the Life Cycle: Developing Evidence-Based Models of Research Data Sharing, will start in August 2021….

This research seeks to answer the following questions:

Where are funded researchers across these institutions making their data publicly accessible and what is the quality of the metadata?
How are researchers making decisions about why and how to share research data?
What is the cost to the institution to implement the federally mandated public access to research data policy? …”

More Unexpected Consequences: How the Plan S Transformative Journal Route Favors Larger Incumbent Publishers – The Scholarly Kitchen

“But once you read the Transformative Journal reporting requirements, you will realize that this route is likely impossible for journals other than those from larger and wealthier publishers. Once again, a well-intentioned policy has created further inequities in scholarly communication….

Transformative Journals (TJs) are one route offered by cOAlition S “to encourage publishers to transition to immediate Open Access.” Through this route, a subscription/hybrid journal can remain compliant and eligible for Plan S authors by committing to a transition to becoming fully-OA and meeting a set of OA growth requirements each year until 2024, when support for TJs ends and they are expected to fully convert over to OA. Let’s ignore for now the OA growth requirements for TJs – DeltaThink’s recent analysis covers this well and shows how unrealistic the numbers are and how few journals are likely to progress adequately given the timelines involved…

Instead, I want to focus on the reporting requirements for TJs. Tallying up the number of OA articles published each year is easy to accomplish. The transparent pricing reporting requirements remain vague and meaningless enough that they shouldn’t prove too onerous for even smaller publishers to put together. Where things get difficult, if not impossible, is in the requirement for an annual public report to cOAlition S, a report that must include data on downloads, citations, and Altmetric scores for all papers published, and that must be sub-divided into OA papers versus non-OA papers.

For those working at larger publishing houses, this likely sounds trivial. You’d just assign your team of in-house bibliometric analysts to pull citation data from your expensive Web of Science, Scopus, or Dimensions subscription. Download information can be obtained from the usage tracking service you pay for, or perhaps it’s included from the full-service publishing platform that your organization owns or that you employ each year at significant cost. Altmetric numbers can come from your access to the paid service of the same name. Your employee bibliometricians will, of course, spend the necessary time parsing out the OA articles from everything else.

Hopefully the theme running through that last paragraph was fairly obvious – none of this is free, much of it is very expensive, and in-house bibliometric expertise is rare among smaller publishers….”

Navigating the barbed wire of publisher access barriers | Plan S

“In many ways, the specific details of this situation are irrelevant. What does matter is the important points it raises:

From the baffling experiences described above, one concludes that not only is the assortment of access options confusing for readers but that major publishers are challenged to engineer and control access and authentication as they intended. Such examples validate the reasons why hybrid OA journals are problematic.

There is a significant effort associated with gatekeeping and preventing potential readers from accessing content, when research should be disseminated and read as widely as possible. This represents an increased cost in the production of publications – a cost which is ultimately borne by the subscriber or individual reader. 

There is considerable evidence that open access articles are more read than non Open access articles. Indeed, even SpringerNature, the publisher of the article example above, states that “Open approaches accelerate the progress of science…. OA is immediately accessible and highly discoverable… Previous research shows the OA advantage for researchers: OA articles are cited on average 1.6 times more than non-OA articles, downloaded 4 times more often and attract 2.5 times more attention, as measured by news and policy mentions”.

Wouldn’t it be better if the money, time and energy invested by publishers in attempting to build a complex variety of access barriers were directed towards providing a consistent approach to access? Then the money, time and energy spent by researchers and libraries in paying for and attempting to access content, via confused and confusing interfaces, could be better spent on research. If authentication and access control are so challenging, and we all, including publishers, agree that Open Access is beneficial, then we need to abandon these types of attempts at gatekeeping, and instead focus on making all research publications easily openly accessible.”

Academic research should benefit society and not shareholders | Jisc

Introduction:

“Shareholder value maximisation has been severely criticised in recent years, with a growing number of prominent business leaders recognising that companies have obligations to society as well as their shareholders.

This moral responsibility is also emerging in scholarly communications. Most academic research is still published behind paywalls, but researchers and funders are increasingly looking to make data and research outputs freely and openly available for the benefit of society.

The lion’s share of academic research is publicly funded, yet revenues derived from that research are distributed disproportionately, serving shareholders rather than researchers. Academic publishers and their shareholders have benefitted from an increasing proportion of library budgets. In the past, publishers routinely sought annual increases of journal subscription fees in addition to significant revenue from open access article processing charges. This is particularly hard for the smaller institutions that want to publish open access.”

Best tools for running Open Access journals

“Technology has made many things possible. A couple of decades ago, launching a journal was a huge deal?—?going up against the giant publishers was an impossibility, and the logistics and costs involved were downright prohibitory. Not any longer, of course. With knowledge consumption having moved online, for the most part, scores of digital open access journals are launched every year.

With proper planning and the right tools in their arsenal, publishers can run OA journals at a small fraction of the running costs of, say, an Elsevier or a Springer journal….”

Research Security, Collaboration, and the Changing Map of Global R&D

“The open research system, with its expanding rates of investment and interconnectedness, has delivered tremendous benefits to many nations, but it has also created new challenges to research integrity and security. Our data shows significant variations across countries in how much, and in what ways, they rely on their collaborative links to the global research network. A more nuanced understanding of those differences is critical for assessing the unique cost/benefit calculations behind decisions to limit open engagement to address security concerns….

But with a number of countries eschewing the post-World War II norms of that global research system, [the open research system] is also being manipulated through means such as foreign interference, theft of intellectual property, and breaches of research integrity….”

Mellon Foundation grant to support investigation into hidden costs of open infrastructure

“We are excited to announce that Invest in Open Infrastructure, a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science and Society, has been awarded a grant of $135,125 USD from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the costs and current funding patterns of open infrastructure. The grant will enable us to hire our first Research Data Analyst, building our capacity to investigate the underlying costs associated with open infrastructure projects and the current funding landscape.

This work will build on our efforts from this past fall to analyze philanthropic funding data in the sector, a dataset that pulls publicly available funding data together to examine for funding concentrations, gaps, and other trends.

In addition, this role will also lead research and analysis on the costs associated with leading open infrastructure projects through a series of focused use cases….”

Mellon Foundation grant to support investigation into hidden costs of open infrastructure

“We are excited to announce that Invest in Open Infrastructure, a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science and Society, has been awarded a grant of $135,125 USD from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the costs and current funding patterns of open infrastructure. The grant will enable us to hire our first Research Data Analyst, building our capacity to investigate the underlying costs associated with open infrastructure projects and the current funding landscape.

This work will build on our efforts from this past fall to analyze philanthropic funding data in the sector, a dataset that pulls publicly available funding data together to examine for funding concentrations, gaps, and other trends.

In addition, this role will also lead research and analysis on the costs associated with leading open infrastructure projects through a series of focused use cases….”

An analysis of use statistics of electronic papers in a Korean scholarly information repository

Abstract:  Introduction. This study aimed to analyse the current use status of Korean scholarly papers accessible in the repository of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information in order to assess the economic validity of the maintenance and operation of the repository.

Method. This study used the modified historical cost method and performed regression analysis on the use of Korean scholarly papers by year and subject area.

Analysis. The development cost of the repository and the use volumes were analysed based on 1,154,549 Korean scholarly papers deposited in the Institute repository.

Results. Approximately 86% of the deposited papers were downloaded at least once and on average, a paper was downloaded over twenty-six times. Regression analysis showed that the ratio of use of currently deposited papers is likely to decrease by 7.6% annually, as new ones are added.

Conclusions. The need to manage currently deposited papers for at least thirteen years into the future and provide empirical proof that the repository has contributed to Korean researchers conducting research and development in the fields of science and technology. The benefit-cost ratio was above nineteen, confirming the economic validity of the repository.