Open Access Market Sizing Update 2022, Oct 25, 3pm (BST) | Delta Think

“We estimate that the OA market grew to around $1.6bn in 2021.

The 32% increase over 2020 is significantly larger than the growth in the underlying scholarly journals market, which is typically low to mid-single digit. It is larger than expected for the OA market.
Growth in OA will remain above that of the underlying scholarly journals market, although we anticipate both will slow in 2022 before resume underlying trends. The open access market is on target to be over $2bn in 2024.
Around 45% of all scholarly articles were published as paid-for open access in 2021, accounting for just under 15% of the total journal publishing market value. (Note that this year, we have changed our method of calculating total market, which will mean our figures for market share will increase by one or two percentage points).
We anticipate a 2021-2024 CAGR of 13% in OA output and 12% in OA market value. …”

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.”


News & Views: Publishers and Market Consolidation – Part 2 of 2 – Delta Think

Last month we examined the large degree of consolidation in journals publishing. We saw that 95% of publishers publish 10 journals or fewer, but account for barely one fifth of articles published. Meanwhile, half of total scholarly output is published by just 10 publishers, those with the largest numbers of journals.

We can further analyze the market’s consolidation by comparing annual growth rates in the numbers of publishers, journals and articles….

By looking at the trends, some clear patterns emerge.

The numbers of publishers (in blue) grew more quickly in the mid-teens than before or since. This is consistent with the S-shaped curve in the numbers of publishers we noted last month. So it seems the market showed signs of fragmentation in the mid-teens, followed by consolidation more recently.
Growth in numbers of journals (in orange) accelerated until about 2017, then started to fall off. This happened in tandem with the slowing growth in the numbers of publishers.
The rate of growth in numbers of articles (in grey) seems to run counter to the trends above. On average it was flat (at around 5%-6%) until 2018/2019, but then it accelerated. We think much this is because of the unusually high levels of submission in the wake of COVID (as we discussed in our market sizing analysis last year)….

The data also suggest that growth in publisher and journal numbers has slowed, while growth in output has accelerated. Over the last few years – irrespective of Covid effects – it seems the larger publishers are producing larger journals, and the smaller publishers smaller ones. Larger organizations may be able to produce things more efficiently than smaller ones. Meanwhile, the rise of Open Access and reduction in reliance on print works removes constraints on publication sizes….”

News & Views: Publishers and Market Consolidation – Part 1 of 2 – Delta Think

“That our market is highly consolidated is probably not surprising. But the extent of the polarization – and the length of the long tail – might be. Half of total scholarly output is published by just 10 publishers, each of whom publish 400 or more journals. 80% of that is accounted for by the top 5.”

News & Views: The Impact of Transformative Agreements on the Value of the Big Deal, Part 1: Methodology – Delta Think

“How does the growth of a particular publisher’s open access content factor into the relative value of a Big Deal?

As open access publishing has grown, libraries have begun to question the value of their expensive Big Deal subscriptions. Data from Delta Think show that OA articles account for an increasing percentage of overall publishing. This study examines those data as well as usage data from library subscriptions to determine whether the overall value of Big Deals is decreasing. Included in this study is a detailed explanation for how to remove outliers to create a more reliable data set – an important component of any study, and one that could be used by librarians who wish to perform a similar analysis on their own collections. Part 2 (to be published in the May News & Views) will include the findings of this study, which are informed by information from the Delta Think Open Access Data & Analytics Tool.

This study utilizes COUNTER usage data from twenty libraries [note: eight libraries are Carnegie Research 1 (or Doctoral Very High Research Activity) and 12 others range from R2 (or High Research Activity) down to small baccalaureate] – all chosen because they had Big Deals with the publishers used in this study. The study used two large publishers with a mix of gold, hybrid, and non-OA titles across a four to five year period (note: 2016-2020 and 2017-2020 respectively).

Using data about those two publishers from Delta Think, we see that open access publication is possible – via either gold or hybrid journals – across 85-95% of the publisher portfolio – slightly higher for Publisher 2 (Figure 1)….”

News & Views: Open Access Charges – Continued Consolidation and Increases – Delta Think

“Each year we survey the list Article Processing Charges (APCs) of a sample of major and significant publishers. Covering over 18,000 titles, and going back to 2016, our data set represents one of the most comprehensive reviews of open access pricing.

Our market sizing has previously suggested that fully OA and hybrid prices are converging and consolidating. The latest analysis of list prices suggests that prices are now becoming more widely distributed as publishers optimize prices across their portfolios. Prices in general are increasing….

To compare like for like, we analyze non-discounted, CC BY charges. Overall, list prices continue to increase slowly:

Last year, high-impact journals began to offer OA options, which led to above-average price increases. This year, overall price increases have fallen back to their underlying averages.
The highest prices for fully OA journals have risen from $5,560 to $8,900. The maximum is due to one outlier1: Cell Press’s Patterns (published by Elsevier). Springer Nature’s Nature Communications takes second place at $5,560. Otherwise fully OA (“gold”) journals usually top out at around $5,200 to $5,300.
Outliers aside, Fully OA journal APCs are less expensive than hybrid, averaging around 57% of hybrid average APCs. Last year it was 58%.
The average hybrid APC has increased by 2.6%. This is just under half the increase we saw last year, but remains larger than the 1% or so increases over the previous few years.
The average fully OA APC has increased by 1.3% compared with the previous year. This is a lower than average increase, perhaps explained by the above-average increases we saw last year….”

Librarians Using Delta Think’s OA Data & Analytics Tool

“Making sense of the open access publishing landscape is about more than licenses and APCs. It’s understanding where your institution fits in terms of overall trends, local and global initiatives, and business or funding models. Gold, hybrid, public access/bronze, diamond, green, and subscription content make up the mixed model environment where we find ourselves, and models are becoming more–not less–complex. How can your library make spending or negotiating decisions that will best serve your researchers, from students to faculty? Meet librarians using tools and data to understand where they fit in the developing OA landscape so they can move forward confidently. Learn more about aspects of the OA Data & Analytics Tool that can be particularly useful for libraries and consortia.”


News & Views: Breaking Out Open Access License Types – Delta Think

“Overall, the Permissive licenses (CC0, CC BY – the paler colors) are most commonly used, outnumbering more restrictive ones by around 3:2.

Within fully OA journals, the ratio is similar to the overall average, compared with an even split in hybrid publications.
Long-term trends (not shown here) suggest that fully OA output and the use of permissive licenses is slowly gaining share.
The underlying data has changed since last year. This year’s data shows greater numbers of fully OA journals, with a slightly greater prevalence of permissive licenses….

The data support what many of us know from anecdotal discussions. The majority of OA output is published under more permissive licenses. In particular the CC BY license dominates, especially in fully OA journals, and especially by OASPA members. It’s useful to see this confirmed across the market, and also to see how the figures differ for the large publishers.

However, licenses that allow sharing with some restrictions remain significant and show no signs of collapsing. Many publishers continue to make use of them. In fact, restricted licenses cover the majority of output in some disciplines….”

Analysis shows further growth in OASPA member journals output: CC BY dominates whilst content consolidation grows – OASPA

“OASPA members were invited to share their data to update the previous post on this topic which was published on the OASPA blog at the end of 2020 (we also published OA book data this year). Journal information shared here by OASPA covers the number of open access articles across all journals (including hybrid) and the license under which those articles were published, up to the year 2020. Figures were supplied as number of articles published per year since implementation of the license by that publisher. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full details. …

2 publishers now account for 50% of OASPA members’ output; 5 account for 75% of it. This represents a greater consolidation over last year, where the top 3 together covered over 50% and the top 6 over 75%. While the top publishers are the same, the order has changed slightly from previous years. MDPI, Springer Nature and Frontiers remain the top three (although if we add Hindawi’s output to that of Wiley, then Wiley would come in 3rd). …”

The volume of publications from OASPA members continues to grow. Just under 2.7 million articles were published by members in the period 2000-2020. Over 579,000 of these were published in 2020, representing a growth of around 28% over the previous year.  The number of articles published each year reported by members has grown around 13x from 2011 to 2020. 


CC BY in fully OA journals continues to dominate output. However, beneath the headlines lie some interesting nuances, especially around articles in hybrid journals….”

News & Views: Open Access Quantity & Quality 2021 – Delta Think

“The average [Source Normalized Impact per Paper, SNIP] for fully OA (gold) journals (in yellow) has slowly been converging on the average over time, with an uptick in 2020.

However, journals that are not fully OA (grey) have also picked up in recent years….


The number of fully OA journals (in yellow) is gaining share – it is growing much faster than the baseline.


Journals that are not fully OA (in grey) are losing share. Numbers are shrinking in recent years.


Although not shown above, we should note that the numbers of journals across all quartiles follow similar patterns. Their rate of growth is slowing, but fully OA journals are growing significantly faster than the others….”


Delta Think OA News & Views

“This month we look at Transformative Journals (TJs). We examine what their measures of compliance mean and how the criteria for growing OA in TJs compares with the typical growth of OA in hybrid journals.

We have previously analyzed the proportions of papers that might be affected by Plan S, the European-led initiative “to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality.” Researchers funded under the initiative must publish via one of four routes, which lay down rules for allowed access types. One allowed route is a Transformative Journal.

Join us to learn more about Plan S definitions and scenario modeling of Transformative Journals….”

Transformative Journals – Delta Think

“This month we look at Transformative Journals (TJs). We examine what their measures of compliance mean and how the criteria for growing OA in TJs compares with the typical growth of OA in hybrid journals….

The data suggest that historically, the OA proportion of journals’ output has not grown as fast as TJ requirements require:

Over the last three years, the total number of papers published across all journals currently marked as TJs is growing at roughly half the rate needed for them to continue to enjoy TJ status.
The number of journals meeting TJ requirements of OA growth is small. Only a dozen or so (out of around 2,000) have met TJ targets for each of the last three years. However, around two thirds have met TJ targets for at least one year out of the last 3.

The data also showed that only 20 or so journals (less than 1%) had over 75% OA uptake, while two thirds (68%) had 20% OA uptake or less. Smaller journals show the fastest growth in OA. Most of the larger ones appear to be virtually static….

The data suggest that the OA growth criteria for TJ status are aggressive, but not impossible. The current crop of TJs are on average growing OA proportions at around half the pace needed to be in compliance. (The average growth in OA uptake of hybrid journals from major publishers follows broadly similar patterns.) Many journals have previously met TJ targets for one year or even two, suggesting the challenges lie in adding to existing momentum, rather than building OA uptake from scratch.


However, the biggest caveat is timing. Support for TJs is due to be withdrawn completely in 2024, but two thirds of current TJs have less than 20% OA uptake. So many could meet their TJ targets, but still have only around one third OA uptake in 2024. Publishers would then be faced with a tough choice: flip minority-OA journals to fully OA, risk at least one third of output as zero-embargo Green impacting subscriptions … or fall out of Plan S compliance completely and lose one third of their submissions.”

News & Views: Open Access Market Sizing Update 2020 – Delta Think

“Delta Think’s OA Market Sizing (i.e., revenue generated by providers or, conversely, costs incurred to buyers of content) shows that the open access market continues to grow faster than the underlying journals publishing market. Based on current trends, we estimate it to have been worth around $763m in 2019 and on track to grow to around $850m in 2020….”

Exploring Current Attitudes Toward Preprints Survey

“Delta Think is surveying broadly to determine whether COVID-19 has had an impact on perceptions of Preprints. The survey is open to everyone – from Publishers to Librarians to Researchers to the Lay Public with and interest in scientific output. For each survey completed, we will donate $5 to Project HOPE, up to $1,000. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete….”


Exploring Current Attitudes Toward Preprints Survey

“Delta Think is surveying broadly to determine whether COVID-19 has had an impact on perceptions of Preprints. The survey is open to everyone – from Publishers to Librarians to Researchers to the Lay Public with and interest in scientific output. For each survey completed, we will donate $5 to Project HOPE, up to $1,000. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete….”