“What is clear is that these charges are definitely not a surprise. Already back in 2004, in a Parliamentary inquiry in the UK, Nature provided testimony that they would have to charge 10-30k for a Nature paper, given their revenues at the time (i.e., their subscription and advertising income). While back then, most people scoffed at the numbers and expected that no author would ever pay such fees, Nature got to work and invented a whole host of ‘lesser’ journals (i.e., Nature XYC as in “Nature Physics”, Nature Genetics” and so on), which would serve several purposes at once: They increase revenue. As hand-me-down journals they keep desperate authors attached to the Nature brand. As less selective journals, they would bring down average costs per article for the brand total, when they would need to go open access.
So this year, after open access advocates, funders and the now also pandemic-stricken public had kept demanding open access for 16 years after they had been warned, Nature was finally ready to deliver. Due to the dilution of their costs by way of the ‘lesser’ journals, they managed to keep their APCs close to their lower bounds of 2004, despite 16 years of inflation. Given that libraries have been paying these kinds of funds for Nature journals for decades, this price tag then really is a bargain, all things considered….
If you were even later to the party and are outraged now, direct your outrage not to Nature, who are only following external pressures, but to those who exert said pressures, such as open access advocates pushing for APC-OA and funders mandating authors to publish in such journals.”