Trove in trouble: why does it cost money to keep the resource online?

“The online database Trove may go offline in the middle of the year without additional funding.

Trove, which is owned and operated by the National Library of Australia (NLA), is a free resource which provides access to billions of digital documents, images, media and records of physical documents. It also contains millions of digitised Australian newspaper pages and issues.

Trove receives around 22 million hits per year, and is widely used by both academic researchers and members of the public.

So what does it cost to run an archive like it?…

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NLA requires $7-$10 million per year to keep Trove running in its current form….”

Library Impact Research Report: Open Access Publishing: A Study of UC Berkeley Faculty Views and Practices – Association of Research Libraries

Overall, the UC Berkeley study found a positive correlation between publishing gold OA and the faculty’s support for OA (no cost to read). In contrast, the correlation between publishing gold OA and the faculty’s concern about publishing cost was weak. Publishing costs concerned faculty in all subject areas, whether or not their articles reported research funding. Therefore, UC Berkeley Library’s efforts to pursue transformative publishing agreements and prioritize funding for a program subsidizing publishing fees seem like effective strategies to increase OA.

The cost of our journal publishing programme

“We strive to publish high-quality journals as efficiently as we can. We have a diverse portfolio of journals and business models, with more than half of the journals we publish being owned and editorially managed by our society partners. This chart shows how our journal revenues are spent across our full journals publishing programme, supporting investment decisions from authors, funders and institutions….”

Why price transparency in research publishing is a positive step | Hindawi

“In 2019, Hindawi took part in the price transparency framework pilot run by Information Power on behalf of cOAlition S. Three years later and the coalition’s new Journal Comparison Service (JCS) is up and running. Hindawi is proud to be one of the publishers that has contributed data to this service. Taking part has helped us focus on the rigour of our own reporting system and has enabled us to give researchers greater choice when choosing a journal by giving more visibility to our services in our new and publicly available journal reports.

Only a few publishers took part in the pilot and the framework remains untested. It’s not yet clear how useful the JCS will be to the institutions who might want to access the service and use the data, or how the JCS will increase transparency about costs as well as pricing across the publishing industry more generally. In part, this is because it’s seen by some to provide an overly simplistic view of publishing. Compartmentalising publishing services into seven or eight different categories  (see page 20 of the JCS guidance for publishers) inevitably constrains the many different and often overlapping services that publishers provide. In addition, limiting the price breakdown of these services into the percentage that each contributes to a journal’s APC also means that the real costs aren’t visible. There are also pragmatic reasons that make it very difficult for some publishers to collect data consistently, especially for those with large portfolios that operate on multiple platforms or have journal-specific workflows. Finally, fully open-access publishers who don’t have an APC business model can’t take part, even if they want to be more transparent. However, we believe the upsides are large. Hindawi has more than 200 journals in our portfolio and the following outlines a few of the ways we, and we hope those who contribute to and access our journals, are benefiting. Our focus is on the ‘Information Power’ framework for the JCS and on the ‘Journal Quality’ information specifically (columns P-Z in the template spreadsheet). This information relates to data on the journal workflow, especially peer review (such as timings and the no of reviewers involved). We know that there is a long way to go to make all publishing services transparent, but we are learning from our participation in the JCS and will continue to explore ways to improve transparency….”

Elsevier absent from journal cost comparison | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Of the 2,070 titles whose information will become accessible under the JCS, although not directly to researchers, 1,000 belong to the US academic publishing giant Wiley, while another 219 journals owned by Hindawi, which was bought by Wiley last year, also appear on the list.

Several other fully open access publishers will also participate on the comparison site including Plos, the Open Library of Humanities, and F1000, while learned society presses and university publishers, including the Royal Society, Rockefeller University Press, and the International Union of Crystallography, are also part of the scheme.

Other notable participants include the prestigious life sciences publisher eLife, EMBO Press and the rapidly growing open access publisher, Frontiers.

However, the two of the world’s largest scholarly publishers – Elsevier and Springer Nature, whose most prestigious titles charge about £8,000 for APCs – are not part of the scheme….

Under the Plan S agreement, scholarly journals are obliged to become ‘transformative journals’ and gradually increase the proportion of non-paywalled content over a number of years. Those titles that do not make their papers free at the point of publication will drop out of the Plan S scheme, meaning authors cannot use funds provided by any of the 17 funding agencies and six foundations now signed up to Plan S. There are, however, no immediate consequences for a publisher who decides not to share their price and service data through the JCS.  …”

ARL Releases Report on US Academic Member Libraries’ Open Infrastructure Expenses

In May–June 2022 the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) surveyed its US-based academic research libraries to better understand OA expenses. The survey asked respondents to categorize expenses into six areas of investment: read-and-publish or transitional agreements, article processing charges (APC) or OA funds, non-APC-based OA publishing models, institutional repository services, OA journal hosting and publishing services, and open monographs.

Determining the Cost of Open Access: Estimating Annual Article Processing Charges for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine Articles at a Large Midwestern University

Objectives: Article Processing Charges (APCs) for articles published in for-fee, gold open access journals are paid in a number of ways at this institution. These include a library-managed Open Access (OA) Fund, grant accounts, faculty professional development funds, departmental discretionary funds, and private faculty funds. The institution is currently considering several new approaches to providing authors with OA funding assistance, and the main objective for this research project was to determine an estimate for the total annual cost of APCs to the campus. Secondary goals included determining the financial impact of APCs on the institution’s research grants and corresponding authors. Methods: We conducted an affiliation search in Web of Science for the institution to identify articles published by authors at the university. We chose to limit results to articles published in 2019, as we wanted a sample year that would reflect the typical publishing output for the authors since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted research and publishing patterns during 2020 and into 2021. We then selected only the articles that were designated as gold open access, as those articles were published openly in their final versions and were either supported by APCs or published by no fee OA journals. The results list (n=421) was then exported to a spreadsheet and our team analyzed each article using the following criteria to determine which articles would be included: Was the corresponding author for the article affiliated with the institution? If the article provides a funding acknowledgement, does it acknowledge a grant to the institution? What is the current APC for the journal as stated on the publisher’s website (in U.S. Dollars)? Results: Of the 421 articles our team analyzed, 168 had a corresponding author affiliated with the institution [combined APC total: $430,959 US]; of these, 143 were published in journals indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) [combined APC total: $349,699.89]; 100 of the DOAJ-index articles acknowledged grant funding to the institution [combined APC total: $274,688 USD]. Conclusions: Based on the findings of our research, if our university wanted to cover all APCs by corresponding authors published in DOAJ-indexed, “Gold OA” journals, the anticipated cost would be approximately $350,000 USD annually (with projected increases of 6% per year). These results highlight major concerns about the sustainability of current funding models for open access research and publishing in science, technology, engineering, and medicine.

Change and growth in open access journal publishing and charging trends 2011–2021 – Morrison – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

This study examines trends in open access article processing charges (APCs) from 2011 to 2021, building on a 2011 study by Solomon and Björk. Two methods are employed, a modified replica and a status update of the 2011 journals. Data are drawn from multiple sources and datasets are available as open data. Most journals do not charge APCs; this has not changed. The global average per-journal APC increased slightly, from 906 to 958 USD, while the per-article average increased from 904 to 1,626 USD, indicating that authors choose to publish in more expensive journals. Publisher size, type, impact metrics and subject affect charging tendencies, average APC, and pricing trends. Half the journals from the 2011 sample are no longer listed in DOAJ in 2021, due to ceased publication or publisher de-listing. Conclusions include a caution about the potential of the APC model to increase costs beyond inflation. The university sector may be the most promising approach to economically sustainable no-fee OA journals. Universities publish many OA journals, nearly half of OA articles, tend not to charge APCs and when APCs are charged, the prices are very low on average.

COST Actions can now submit to Open Research Europe

“COST is pleased to announce that COST Actions can now to submit directly to Open Research Europe (ORE), the European Commission’s Open Access publishing platform for research.

ORE is an original publishing venue, like a journal, not a repository (where papers already published somewhere else are deposited). The platform offers a free, reliable, peer-reviewed publishing service of high scientific quality, with swift publication times and rigorous scientific standards. Importantly, ORE gives everyone, researchers and citizens alike, free-of-charge access to the latest scientific discoveries….”

A Fair Pricing Model for Open Access

“A pay-per-article publishing model raises issues of regional and global equity. In Europe, the implied price per article in transformative agreements varies from one country to another, based on no rationale other than historical subscription spending. Globally, APCs for individual open-access articles are identical for customers from Norway to India, irrespective of their income levels.

This is a peculiar and possibly unique global pricing model. The local prices of products and services with a global reach—think of medication, soft drinks or cinema tickets—typically vary with local purchasing power. They cost what the market can bear. Even old-fashioned subscriptions take local purchasing power into account, leading to differentiated prices for the same service.

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent….”

Which Factors Drive Open Access Publishing? A Springer Nature Case Study

Open Access (OA) facilitates access to articles. But, authors or funders often must pay the publishing costs preventing authors who do not receive financial support from participating in OA publishing and citation advantage for OA articles. OA may exacerbate existing inequalities in the publication system rather than overcome them. To investigate this, we studied 522,664 articles published by Springer Nature. Employing statistical methods, we describe the relationship between authors affiliated with countries from different income levels, their choice of publishing (OA or closed access), and the citation impact of their papers. A machine learning classification method helped us to explore the association between OA-publishing and attributes of the author, especially eligibility for APC-waivers or discounts, journal, country, and paper. The results indicate that authors eligible for the APC-waivers publish more in gold-OA-journals than other authors. In contrast, authors eligible for an APC discount have the lowest ratio of OA publications, leading to the assumption that this discount insufficiently motivates authors to publish in a gold-OA-journal. The rank of journals is a significant driver for publishing in a gold-OA-journal, whereas the OA option is mostly avoided in hybrid journals. Seniority, experience with OA publications, and the scientific field are the most decisive factors in OA-publishing.