May 28, 2022

Research Article: The Pricing of Open Access Journals: Diverse Niches and Sources of Value in Academic Publishing (Preprint)

The full text article (preprint) linked to below was recently posted by Quantitative Science Studies (from MIT Press).


The Pricing of Open Access Journals: Diverse Niches and Sources Of Value In Academic Publishing


Kyle Siler
University of Sussex

Koen Frenken
Utrecht University


Quantitative Science Studies
DOI: 10.1162/qss_a_00016


Open Access (OA) publishing has created new academic and economic niches in contemporary science. OA journals offer numerous publication outlets with varying editorial philosophies and business models. This article analyzes the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (n = 12,127) to identify characteristics of OA academic journals related to the adoption of Article Processing Charge (APC)-based business models, as well as the price points of journals that charge APCs. Journal Impact Factor (JIF), language, publisher mission, DOAJ Seal, economic and geographic regions of publishers, peer review duration, and journal discipline are all significantly related to the adoption and pricing of journal APCs. Even after accounting for other journal characteristics (prestige, discipline, publisher country), journals published by for-profit publishers charge the highest APCs. Journals with status endowments (JIF, DOAJ Seal) and articles written in English, published in wealthier regions, and in medical or science-based disciplines are also relatively costlier. The OA publishing market reveals insights into forces that create economic and academic value in contemporary science. Political and institutional inequalities manifest in the varying niches occupied by different OA journals and publishers.

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