May 16, 2022

Journal Article: “Waiving Article Processing Charges for Least Developed Countries: A Keystone of a Large-Scale Open Access Transformation”

The following article was recently published by Insights.


Waiving Article Processing Charges for Least Developed Countries: A Keystone of a Large-Scale Open Access Transformation


Niels Taubert
Bielefeld University

Andre Bruns
Bielefeld University

Christopher Lenke
Bielefeld University

Graham Stone


Insights 34 (1): 1.
DOI: 10.1629/uksg.526


This article investigates whether it is economically feasible for a large publishing house to waive article processing charges for the group of 47 so-called least developed countries (LDC). As an example, Springer Nature is selected. The analysis is based on the Web of Science, OpenAPC and the Jisc Collections’ Springer Compact journal list. As a result, it estimates an average yearly publication output of 520 publications (or 0.26% of the worldwide publication output in Springer Nature journals) for the LDC country group. The loss of revenues for Springer Nature would be US$1.1 million if a waiver was applied for all of these countries. Given that the subject categories of these publications indicate the output is of high societal relevance for LDC, and given that money is indispensable for development in these countries (e.g. life expectancy, health, education), it is not only desirable but also possible in economic terms for a publisher like Springer Nature to waive APCs for these countries without much loss in revenues.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.