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….”

Springer Nature is delivering on open access and calls for continued partnership | WebWire

“Today the leading open access publisher Springer Nature announces that it has achieved a milestone in advancing discovery through open research, with over 70% of corresponding authors from four European countries now publishing via gold open access….This achievement has been made possible through a unique environment in these markets, with support from governments and institutions who back open access, funders who fund APCs, authors who are willing to publish via open access, and a publisher providing authors with a range of publishing options, making open access a reality.  Globally, 27% of all research published by Springer Nature is now published under an immediate gold open access model. Most of this is in pure OA journals but in the four countries above increased hybrid OA take-up means offsetting is occurring there while more generally more article growth is being funded outside of library budgets….”

Springer Nature’s Report Demonstrates the Viability of Open Access Transitions for both Journals and Countries | Open Science

“As its recent data demonstrate, in some European states between 70% and 90% of Springer’s newly published articles are in Open Access, which indicates that the journal- and country-level adoption of Open Access becomes increasingly mainstream, even though it depends on author fee funding availability….”

Releasing 1.8 million open access publications from publisher systems for text and data mining

Text and data mining offers an opportunity to improve the way we access and analyse the outputs of academic research. But the technical infrastructure of the current scholarly communication system is not yet ready to support TDM to its full potential, even for open access outputs. To address this problem, Petr KnothNancy Pontika and Lucas Anastasiou have developed the CORE Publisher Connector, a toolkit service designed to assist text miners in accessing content though a single machine interface. The Connector aims to solve the heterogeneity among publisher APIs and assist text miners with data collection, provide a centralised point of access to all openly available scientific publications, and provide a high-performance, constantly updated access interface.

UK research funders target hybrid open access charges | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Wellcome Trust and UK Research & Innovation launch reviews of policies that require funded papers to be made freely available…

[T]he Wellcome Trust highlighted that 71 per cent of its £5.7 million outlay on article processing charges in 2015-16 had been spent with hybrid open access journals. These are subscription periodicals that allow papers to be made freely available in return for the processing fee.

Significantly, average article processing charges for hybrid open access titles stood at £2,209 that year, 34 per cent higher than the average for a fully open access paper (£1,644).

Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome, said that part of the rationale for the review came from “increasing costs”, particularly from hybrid journals.

Compliance with Wellcome’s open access policy now stands at more than 75 per cent, and it is thought that addressing cost issues would push this even higher….

A recent Universities UK report found that higher education institutions’ journal subscription costs had increased by 20 per cent in three years despite the shift to open access, with the dual income streams of hybrid journals a major concern….”

GitHub – ryregier/APCDOI: Enter a list of DOIs and this python program will determine how many are Gold or Hybrid open access and how much was spent on the article processing charge (APC) for these Gold and Hybrid articles.

“Enter a list of DOIs and this python program will determine how many are Gold or Hybrid open access and how much was spent on the article processing charge (APC) for these Gold and Hybrid articles.”

Authorial and institutional stratification in open access publishing: the case of global health research [PeerJ]

Abstract:  Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals. This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options. Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA). We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications. Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent. Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.

Finland takes a step back in the openness of academic journal pricing — Mostly Physics

“Although I have not lived in Finland since 2013, I’ve kept in touch with the open science community there as well as with current open access discussions. On January 17, I got a rather unpleasant birthday present in the form of an announced three-year, 27 M€ deal between FinELib, a consortium of Finnish research institutions, and Elsevier, perhaps the most egregious of the big publishers. The deal was reached after two years of hard negotiations, supported by almost 3000 Finnish researchers who had committed in the #nodealnoreview boycott to refuse reviewing for Elsevier if the negotiations fail.

The glowing press release, seemingly written purely by Elsevier, compounded with an almost complete lack of details, left an immediate bad taste in my mouth. My opinion did not much improve through discussions in the Finnish Open Science Facebook group, and with journalist Richard Poynder whom I urged to try and get more details. He just published his Q&A with FinELib, which I warmly recommend you read. I have two principal concerns with the deal: the lack of transparency over the actual terms, and the hybrid OA discount option — especially as it was immediately implemented at the University of Helsinki….”

Paywall Watch

“Paywall Watch is a website dedicated to monitoring and documenting notable problems at academic publishers.

TL;DR we are like Retraction Watch, but we focus on incompetent errors made by academic publishers. 


Unlike most multi-billion dollar industries there is virtually no regulation in the academic publishing market. Publishers can get away with seemingly anything. Poor service, poor ethics, and outrageous prices are a common feature of the market. We hope the aggregation of content on this website will empower funders, authors, readers, subscribers, research institutes and libraries to make better choices in future when it comes to entrusting scholarly research outputs with digital service providers.

Specific types of incompetence to be documented here include:

  1. Paywalled open access articles (whereby the original publisher should be making the article open access, but instead is observed to be charging people to use or read the article)
  2. CopyWrong (whereby a publisher incorrectly claims copyrights that they do not have) 
  3. Other Significant Errors in Service Provision (e.g. losing the full text of articles, losing supplementary data, missing article content such as mathematical equations or figure images)…”

Open and Shut?: Realising the BOAI vision: Peter Suber’s Advice

Peter Suber’s high-priority recommendations for advancing OA.