Article Processing Charges based publications: to which extent the price explains scientific impact?

The present study aims to analyze relationship between Citations Normalized Score (NCS) of scientific publications and Article Processing Charges (APCs) amounts of Gold Open access publications. To do so, we use APCs information provided by OpenAPC database and citations scores of publications in the Web of Science database (WoS). Database covers the period from 2006 to 2019 with 83,752 articles published in 4751 journals belonging to 267 distinct publishers. Results show that contrary to this belief, paying dearly does not necessarily increase the impact of publications. First, large publishers with high impact are not the most expensive. Second, publishers with the highest APCs are not necessarily the best in terms of impact. Correlation between APCs and impact is moderate. Otherwise, in the econometric analysis we have shown that publication quality is strongly determined by journal quality in which it is published. International collaboration also plays an important role in citations score.

OpenAPC and Knowledge Unlatched Launch Public Dataset on Book Processing Charges – Knowledge Unlatched

“Knowledge Unlatched (KU) and OpenAPC, operated by the University of Bielefeld, are expanding the OpenAPC dataset to support the inclusion of Book Processing Charges (BPCs). The first deposit includes all of the payments made by KU to publishers for the KU Select programs, equalling almost 1,000 books. KU is also planning to share further transactional data for the other collections for which it collects funding….”

Exploring Open Access Discounts – Delta Think

Figure 1, below, analyzes average discount percentages off list prices, so we can see to what degree publishers are discounting. A few nuances come out of the chart.

  • There’s very little relationship between discount percentage and price (statistical analysis bears this out). Counterintuitively, this suggests a consistency: on average, more expensive journals are not discounted any more or less than less expensive ones.
  • In converting the OpenAPC data’s paid prices in Euros to equivalent list prices in USD, we see that around half the data points suggest payments that are higher than list, i.e. a “negative discount.” These data points appear to the left of the chart’s dotted line (0% discount). There are a few extreme outliers in the data (not shown) due to erroneous reporting, but it is likely that much of this is due to timings of payments, different methods of currency conversions, or inconsistent inclusion of sales tax. This highlights the challenges of gathering data consistently across our very fragmented ecosystem.
  • Controlling out these “negative discounts” makes very little difference to the statistics – so despite the challenges with the data, the patterns remain the same. We also know that list prices change slowly, so relative phasing between payment and list dates are not an issue….

Figure 2 below examines popular discount levels over time. The more orange the line, the more recent the year of payment, and the chart excludes the “negative discounts.”

  • The discounting bands appear to be staying consistent over time, with variations due to differences in sample sizes. (There are very few 2014 data points, and the volume of 2018 data is still catching up with the rest.)
  • Our OA Data & Analytics Tool allows deeper analysis, to tease out differences between fully OA and hybrid journals. Although not shown here, fully OA journals have seen their discount levels dip in 2016-2017 but start to rise again since, averaging around 20%. Hybrid sees the opposite pattern, with discount levels averaging 20-30%….”

OpenAPC – transparent reporting on article processing charges reveals the relative costs of open access publishing

“OpenAPC compiles a dataset aggregating all available institutional reporting on article processing charges paid for open access publications. Dirk Pieper describes how this openly available data can provide greater transparency and context to discussions around the overall costs of academic publishing, and also potentially set in motion cost-limiting mechanisms….”