News & Views: Trendspotting in OA Spending – Delta Think

“The findings in the report are not surprising: they match closely with Delta Think’s numbers from October, and with those in similar reports. Open access is established; it now covers significant minority share of output, but its growth is slowing:

  • Globally, publishers offer OA options mainly through hybrid journals: 72% of journals are hybrid, 19% fully OA, and 9% of journals are subscription only.
  • Uptake, in terms of articles suggests that 19% of all articles published are available immediately on publication as OA, split between 15% in fully OA journals and just under 4% in hybrid journals.
  • The report explores delayed OA options, giving a read on Green OA, with an uptake of just under 5% in the year of publication.
  • The 2017 update reduces its OA estimates slightly compared with its 2015 version. The results are summarized in the table below. The variations speak to the challenges in gathering data, and the necessity to keep refining models over time….”
  • APCs now form a significant additional expense. For the payments that universities make to the seven largest publishers, the ratio between subscriptions and APCs is 5:1. This equates to a 17% share of revenue compared to a 31% share of output. As we have discussed in our previous market analyses, on average the revenue generated by OA is proportionately less than its share of output.
  • More than half the expenditure on APCs in 2016 went to the three major publishing groups, Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley, with a particularly sharp rise for Elsevier since 2014.
  • The report confirms the well-known finding that APCs for hybrid journals are more expensive that those in fully OA journals: 28% higher on average in 2016.
  • But, this gap may be closing: hybrid prices paid rose by 14% in the three years from 2013 (to £2,095 on average), but by 33% for fully-OA journals (to £1,640) in the same period. Delta Think’s market models suggest that, whilst hybrid prices are higher, they also bear higher discount levels, so it would appear that the gap between fully OA and hybrid prices is closing….
  • The number of APCs paid by a sample of 10 UK universities rose more than fivefold.
  • The average cost of an APC rose by 16% (as compared with a rise of 5% in the consumer price index; the CPI.)
  • Spending on subscriptions for the report’s sample rose by 20%.
  • Nuances within hybrid spending show the same quadrupling of APCs, with combined APC & sub spending up by one third…in other words, APC spending is eating share. The ratio between subscription and hybrid APC spending has fallen to 6:1 in 2016 from 19:1 3 years previously….”