Open Access and Sales Revenue Can Co-Exist – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Developing sustainable open access book publishing models is particularly important for university presses which see the benefits of increased dissemination, but already operate under razor-thin margins, and subscribe to open models have gained traction in recent years. To gather evidence that we hope will provide new options for open access models, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Association of University Presses and Ithaka S+R have just published our new research study on open access and sales revenue. Our key finding: open access monographs can generate significant revenue — both on the print side and digitally. …”

Print Revenue and Open Access Monographs

The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) and Ithaka S+R today publish “Print Revenue and Open Access Monographs: A University Press Study.” This report is the result of research funded by a Level I Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to investigate the effect of open digital editions on the sales of print monographs.


Don’t Blame Copyright for Declining Revenue. It Won’t Help Authors | Canadian Federation of Library Associations

“Libraries and librarians support education in colleges and universities across Canada and they support authors through their purchases.

That important message is being drowned out by the barrage of accusations from author groups and publisher organizations that libraries are threatening the economic viability of authors. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those hundreds of millions of dollars in access and subscription fees, paid by libraries, should be going to authors of the licensed works. Copyright is not part of that transaction and tweaking the Copyright Act won’t change the economic plight of Canadian authors….

There has been a digital revolution in the educational publishing sector. Access to most course materials is now digital, not print, and governed by licences negotiated directly with publishers. While some of these electronic books and journal articles are openly licensed (at no cost to the user), most are subject to terms and conditions that provide students and educators with the right to reproduce the content for educational purposes. As such, the fair dealing and reprographic licences are not in demand as they once were.   

This isn’t because students and educators are stealing content. The educational right to reproduce most commercially available course materials is paid directly by libraries to publishers or aggregate content providers. Continuing to attack libraries and educators for their lawful use of course materials won’t solve the issue of authors’ income….”


Abstract:  Since the early 2010s, more than half of peer-reviewed journal articles have been published by the so-called oligopoly of academic publishers – Elsevier, Sage, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley. These publishers are now increasingly charging fees for open access journals, especially given the rise of funder OA mandates. It is worthwhile to examine the amount of revenue generated through OA fees since many of the journals with the most expensive article processing charges are owned by the oligopoly. This study aims to  stimate the amount of article processing charges for gold and hybrid open access articles in journals published by the oligopoly of academic publishers, which acknowledge funding from the Canadian Tri-Agencies between 2015 and 2018. The Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications mandates that all funded research for Canadian Institute of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grantees be made available as OA. To comply, grantees will often use grant funds to pay OA fees, or APCs. During the four-year period analyzed, a total of 6,892 gold and 4,097 hybrid articles that acknowledge Tri-Agency funding were identified, for which the total list prices amount to $USD 25.3 million ($13.1 for gold and $12.2 for hybrid). 

How publishers lobbied to abolish VAT on ebooks, costing the taxpayer £200m, but kept the benefit for themselves – Tax Policy Associates Ltd

The UK charged 20% VAT on ebooks until May 2020, when it was abolished following a lobbying campaign by the publishing industry. They claimed that consumers would benefit from lower prices. Our analysis shows that consumers did not in fact benefit from lower prices – publishers retained the VAT saving for themselves, costing the country £200m



Financial Health of Nonprofits in Research and Scholarship: What’s Working and What Needs Improvement? | Invest in Open Infrastructure, 2 December 2022

“As an enabler and a funder in open infrastructure, one of our key goals at Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) is to conduct research to better understand and articulate the foundational needs for open infrastructure services, such that they are viable in the short-term and sustainable in the long term. To this end, in this investigation, we worked to design and test measures that will enable us to better understand the financial health of nonprofit providers and enablers in this space. In this report, we outlined key patterns we observed in the nonprofits’ financial risk and strengths and resource allocation, and clarified sector needs for both funders and providers such that resources can be better allocated….”

Delta Think OA News & Views: Market Sizing

“Each year, Delta Think’s OA Market Sizing analyzes the value of the open access journals market. This is the revenue generated by providers or the costs incurred by buyers of content. This webinar will cover highlights from the 2022 News & Views (released October 18) as well as potential impact scenarios based on the August OSTP Memo.”


The Oligopoly’s Shift to Open Access. How For-Profit Publishers Benefit from Article Processing Charges | Zenodo

Butler, Leigh-Ann, Matthias, Lisa, Simard, Marc-André, Mongeon, Philippe, & Haustein, Stefanie. (2022). The Oligopoly’s Shift to Open Access. How For-Profit Publishers Benefit from Article Processing Charges (Version v1). Zenodo. Abstract: This study aims to estimate the total amount of article processing charges (APCs) paid to publish open access (OA) in journals controlled by the large commercial publishers Elsevier, Sage, Springer-Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley, the so-called oligopoly of academic publishing. Since the early 2010s, these five academic publishers control more than half of peer-reviewed journal articles indexed in the Web of Science (WoS), expanding their market power through acquisitions and mergers. While traditionally their business model focused on charging subscriptions to read articles, they have now shifted to OA, charging authors fees for publishing. These APCs often amount to several thousand dollars, excluding many from publishing on economic grounds. This study computes an estimate of the total amounts of APCs paid to oligopoly publishers between 2015 and 2018, using publication data from WoS, OA status from Unpaywall and annual APC prices from open datasets and historical fees retrieved via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. We estimate that globally authors paid the oligopoly of academic publishers $1.06 billion in publication fees in the 4-year period analyzed. Of the 505,903 OA articles analyzed, 60.9% were published in gold OA journals, 8.6% in diamond (gold with APC=$0) and 30.5% in hybrid journals. Revenue from gold OA amounted to $612.5 million, while $448.3 million was obtained for publishing OA in hybrid journals, for which publishers already charge subscription fees. Among the five publishers, Springer-Nature made the largest revenue from OA ($589.7 million), followed by Elsevier ($221.4 million), Wiley ($114.3 million), Taylor & Francis ($76.8 million) and Sage ($31.6 million). With Elsevier and Wiley making the majority of APC revenue from hybrid fees and others focusing on gold, different OA strategies could be observed between publishers.

How much profit does a journal make? The case of SCIREA – Predatory Journals and Conferences

“In this article, we consider SCIREA’s revenue in an attempt to estimate how much profit this publisher makes. It is difficult to be precise, as we do not have access to their accounts or their business model, but we estimate their revenue to be USD 151,340, with a profit of about USD 121,072.

We have previously looked at the the number of editors that the publisher SCIREA had on each of its 39 journals, concluding that, on average, each editor handled (much) less than one paper every five years.

SCIREA are a scientific publisher, with a portfolio of 39 journals (as at Jul 2021).  We made additional observations in our previous article and, if you would like to know more, we refer you to that article….”

Wiley Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2022 Results |


Research Publishing & Platforms rose 9% as reported and at constant currency and 4% excluding acquisitions, driven by strong growth in open access, corporate solutions, and research platforms.
Academic & Professional Learning grew 4% as reported and 3% at constant currency, driven by strong recovery in Professional Learning from prior-year COVID lockdown impacts. This more than offset a decline in Education Publishing due to softer US enrollment and some easing of prior-year COVID-related tailwinds in content and courseware.

Learned Societies, Equity, and Open Access | In the Dark

“I think it’s relevant to raise some points about the extent that such organizations (including, in my field,  the Royal Astronomical Society and the Institute of Physics) rely for their financial security upon the revenues generated by publishing traditional journals and why this is not in the best interests of their disciplines….

When I criticized the exploitative behaviour of IoP Publishing some time ago in a recent blog post, I drew a stern response from the Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics, Paul Hardaker. That comment seems to admit that the high prices charged by IOP Publishing for access to  its journals is nothing to do with the real cost of disseminating scientific knowledge but is instead a means of generating income to allow the IoP to pursue its noble aim of  “promoting Physics”.

This is the case for other learned societies too, and it explains why such organizations have lobbied very hard for the “Gold” Open Access some authorities are attempting to foist on the research community, rather than the far more sensible and sustainable approaches to Open Access employed, for example, by the Open Journal of Astrophysics….

The other problematic aspect of the approach of these learned societies is that I think it is fundamentally dishonest. University and other institutional libraries are provided with funds to provide access to published research, not to provide a backdoor subsidy for a range of extraneous activities that have nothing to do with that purpose. The learned societies do many good things – and some are indeed outstandingly good – but that does not give them the right to siphon off funds from their constituents in this way.  Institutional affiliation, paid for by fee, would be a much fairer way of funding these activities….”

STM Global Brief 2021 – Economics & Market Size

“At STM, we promote the contribution that publishers make to innovation, openness and the sharing of knowledge and embrace change to support the growth and sustainability of the research ecosystem. As a common good, we provide data and analysis for all involved in the global activity of research. For the past 15 years, we have produced the STM report which has explored the trends, issues and challenges facing scholarly publishing. This latest iteration sees the adoption of a new format for the report, with a wealth of industry-leading data and insights presented across an annual selection of ‘supplements’ – each providing compelling snapshots on specific aspects and characteristics of the industry. The next issue will cover Open Access and Open Research, which remain a key area of focus for STM and its members as a means to advance knowledge worldwide. This first supplement in the new series – ‘STM Global Brief 2021 – Economics and Market Size’ shines a light on the scale and shape of scholarly publishing and provides updated figures covering 2018 onwards. We would like to thank all the contributors for their input, advice and insights….”