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      Is Open Access

      Current market rates for scholarly publishing services

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          Summary

          Please compare with the more extended, preprint version (2019) by the same authors here: Assessing the size of the affordability problem in scholarly publishing – ScienceOpen.

          Abstract

          For decades, the supra-inflation increase of subscription prices for scholarly journals has concerned scholarly institutions. After years of fruitless efforts to solve this “serials crisis”, open access has been proposed as the latest potential solution. However, the prices for open access publishing are also high and are rising well beyond inflation. What has been missing from the public discussion so far is a quantitative approach to determine the actual costs of efficiently publishing a scholarly article using state-of-the-art technologies, such that informed decisions can be made as to appropriate price levels. Here we provide a granular, step-by-step calculation of the costs associated with publishing primary research articles, from submission, through peer-review, to publication, indexing and archiving. We find that these costs range from less than US$200 per article in modern, large-scale publishing platforms using post-publication peer-review, to about US$1,000 per article in prestigious journals with rejection rates exceeding 90%. The publication costs for a representative scholarly article today come to lie at around US$400. We discuss the additional non-publication items that make up the difference between publication costs and final price.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Is Open Access

          The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era

          The consolidation of the scientific publishing industry has been the topic of much debate within and outside the scientific community, especially in relation to major publishers’ high profit margins. However, the share of scientific output published in the journals of these major publishers, as well as its evolution over time and across various disciplines, has not yet been analyzed. This paper provides such analysis, based on 45 million documents indexed in the Web of Science over the period 1973-2013. It shows that in both natural and medical sciences (NMS) and social sciences and humanities (SSH), Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, and Taylor & Francis increased their share of the published output, especially since the advent of the digital era (mid-1990s). Combined, the top five most prolific publishers account for more than 50% of all papers published in 2013. Disciplines of the social sciences have the highest level of concentration (70% of papers from the top five publishers), while the humanities have remained relatively independent (20% from top five publishers). NMS disciplines are in between, mainly because of the strength of their scientific societies, such as the ACS in chemistry or APS in physics. The paper also examines the migration of journals between small and big publishing houses and explores the effect of publisher change on citation impact. It concludes with a discussion on the economics of scholarly publishing.
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            Open access: The true cost of science publishing.

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              Scientific Utopia: I. Opening Scientific Communication

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                F1000Research
                F1000Res
                F1000 Research Ltd
                2046-1402
                2021
                January 12 2021
                : 10
                : 20
                Article
                10.12688/f1000research.27468.1
                fb732adf-6353-4832-96e9-4629725ec893
                © 2021

                The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the repository: http://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8118197

                Information & Library science

                Scholarly publishing, Academic publishing, Cost of publishing, Publishing costs, Open Access, library budget

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