Are APCs the dominant business model for open-access journals?

Are APCs the dominant business model for open-access journals?

…Or is it just one important among many others?

That is an open question. To approach it, we looked into available figures on open-access journals.

Out of the 13,337 journals that are listed in the DOAJ, a broad majority (9,752 journals) do not charge APCs (there is no information according APCs for 53 journals, as of 2019-06-05). However, the largest open-access journals, which partially have a very high reputation, pursue quite often an APC business model, for example, PLOS ONE, Scientific Reports, Nature Communications, RSC Advances, Optics Express and Nucleic Acids Research. These journals publish minimum one thousand articles, reviews and proceedings papers per year. So, what’s right?

As often the answer is: It depends.

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transcript OPEN Library Political Science enters second round

After the successful first round of the transcript OPEN Library Political Science (2019), the follow-up project can now be started: The transcript publishing house's entire frontlist Political Science 2020 is now available for open-access transformation in the consortium model (crowdfunding). And once again, the Political Science Information Service (POLLUX) will be there as a supporter, paying 25% of the package costs.

The transcript OPEN Library Political Science in a nutshell

  • 22 new titles
  • Instead of purchasing a licence to access the content, participating libraries help to make content available open access
  • Thanks to the collaborative model the costs per institution can be kept at an affordable level
  • A minimum of 30 pledging libraries is required. If the minimum level of 30 libraries is not reached, then no frontlist titles will be made available OA and no library will be charged
  • The maximum price per participant is € 2,420 (excl. VAT)
  • Participation is possible via a library supplier (Dietmar Dreier International Library Supplier, Missing Link mail order bookstore, Schweitzer Fachinformation) or via an account with Knowledge Unlatched
  • The pledging period will remain open until 30th November 2019

Find out more: and at the pages of OA2020-DE: transcript OPEN Library Political Science

Organization-specific usage reports for open-access publications: useful or unnecessary?

Organization-specific usage reports for open-access publications: useful or unnecessary?

In scientific libraries, loan statistics and standardized usage statistics (COUNTER reports) are well-established instruments for the library acquisition management. In the course of the open-access transformation, the collection and usefulness of organization-specific usage reports are called into question (see, e.g. Rösch, Henriette (2019): Open Access als Zumutung für die Erwerbung? Auswirkungen der Open-Access-Transformation auf die Erwerbungs- und Bestandspolitik der Bibliotheken. In: 22 (3). Online available at The Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) considers this issue as an essential requirement in its principles for negotiations with publishers (“Usage Reports Should Include Open Access”); others have a quite different position. We think that it is important to collect and evaluate organization-specific usage statistics for open-access publications. This blog post explains the reasons and aims at contributing to the ongoing discussion.

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Post-Grant Fund of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for Open-Access Publications

Financial support possible for open-access publications from completed BMBF-funded projects

In its open-access strategy, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung - BMBF) aims at fostering the open-access transformation with a set of measures that seek to make open-access standard in the area of scholarly publishing. Along the lines of the „FP7 post-grant Open Access pilot“ 2015–2018 of the European Commission, the BMBF set up a post-grant fund for open-access publications. Researchers can apply for funds to cover charges for open-access publications that resulted from finished BMBF-funded projects. A full funding can be granted for charges up to EUR 2,000 (excl. VAT) for each open-access publication.

On several occasions, the National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE was asked whether this BMBF post-grant funding is applicable to articles in journals only or to books as well. We contacted the project management agency, which is responsible for the implementation of the post-grant fund, with this question. They clarified that also open-access books can be funded via the BMBF post-grant fund under the same conditions (e.g. the same maximum amount).

We would like to encourage research and higher education organizations with an open-access advisory service to point BMBF-funded researcher to the possibility of this funding for covering open-access publication charges.

List of frequently cited open-access journals updated

Last month the updated version of the CWTS Journal Indicator of Leiden University appeared. We took this as an opportunity to update our list of frequently cited open-access journals with the new SNIP values and also to update the metadata from the DOAJ. The searchable list now contains around 800 open-access journals from almost all scientific disciplines and helps researchers to select suitable open-access journals from their discipline for submission.

Link to the list:

Subscribe to Open - A model for the open access-transformation of journals

In the field of open-access transformation of scientific journals, many different paths have been established. In selecting the appropriate model, not only the publication culture is taken into account, but also the composition of readers, authors and subscribers. In addition to factors such as acceptance of publication costs on the part of the authors (more likely to exist in the natural and health sciences), the overlap between readers and authors as well as the amount and typology of the subscribing institutions also play a role. For example, an Article Processing Charges (APCs)-based model can hardly be implemented in the humanities and social sciences, not least because the resources and acceptance for APCs are not available there. Thus, alternative transformation logics and approaches are needed, which take into account the other factors mentioned.

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Libraries and publishers as partners: 3rd OA2020-DE transformation workshop in Bielefeld

Libraries and publishers as partners in the open-access publication process

How can a common understanding between the actors of the scientific publication system and a resulting common path for the implementation of the open-access transformation be developed? Under this central question, an open-access transformation workshop organised by OA2020-DE took place for the third time in Bielefeld on 03 and 04 April 2019 (Agenda). The aim was to provide the participating publishers and libraries with information on various developments and approaches of the open-access transformation as well as ideas on how to implement them in their own library and publishing practice. In addition, the direct exchange between them served to answer the central question.

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Report on the Hands-On-Lab "New business models and workflows in open access" at the 7th Library Congress 2019

Report on the Hands-On-Lab "New business models and workflows in open access" at the 7th Library Congress 2019

There are far more open-access business models than the established variants of Article or Book Processing Charges. The Hands-On Lab "New business models and workflows in open access" organised by us at the 7th Library Congress (= 108th Library Day) in Leipzig therefore aimed to present the participants with concepts and ideas for further/other business models in the field of open-access publishing. The common basis is the understanding of scientific publishers, intermediaries, traders and libraries as partners in the publication process.

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Meaning and Opportunities of the DEAL-Wiley Contract for the Open-Access Transformation

Meaning and Opportunities of the DEAL-Wiley Contract for the Open-Access Transformation

With the signing of the Wiley contract on 15 January 2019, the alliance project DEAL has achieved key project goals:

  • to improve the provision of information to participating academic institutions by extending reading access to all the journals published by Wiley,
  • the expansion of open-access publishing in the Wiley hybrid and gold open-access journals for the authors of the participating institutions.

We recommend that all eligible institutions (see "What institutions can participate?" in the DEAL Wiley FAQs) sign the sign-up letter and the participation statement by 18 April 2019. The DEAL-Wiley contract marks not only the entry into the large-scale open-access transformation in Germany, it offers above all the scientists of participating institutions clear advantages:

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FID <intR>², Peter Lang and Knowledge Unlatched launch joint open-access eBook model: Open Access IT Law

The Specialised Information Service for International and Interdisciplinary Legal Research has initiated a project together with the publishing house Peter Lang and Knowledge Unlatched (based on the OPEN Library Political Science) to build an Open Library IT-Law - the project Open Access IT Law.

Under the terms of the agreement, Peter Lang undertakes to publish ten legal monographs in Gold Open Access per year for an initial period of three years starting in 2019. Due to the financial contribution of FID, parts of the total costs are already covered.

As a foretaste are already five titles from the back list provided open access and via the OA repository of the FID retrievable (Open Access IT Law).

More information can be found on the project page and in the At-a-Glance document.

If you would also like to participate in the financing of Open Access IT Law, please contact Catherine Anderson from Knowledge Unlatched directly.