Still true: 70% of peer-reviewed OA journals charge no APCs.

Every study since the first in 2005 has shown that a significant majority of peer-reviewed journals charge no APCs. Most have put that majority at about 70%.

I just looked up today's numbers at the Directory of Open Access Journals, and the number is still 70%.

Total number of journals listed in DOAJ = 10,279
No-fee = 7,193 = 69.97%
Fee-based = 2,980 = 28.99%
No info = 106 = 1.03%

To check the numbers yourself or update them later, go to the DOAJ <>. Click on Search (in the top navigation bar). Then click on the facet + Journals vs. Articles. Then click on Journals. Then click on the facet + Article processing charges (APCs). You'll then see "No" (i.e. no APCs) followed by a number, "Yes" followed by a number, and "No information" followed by a number.


Needless to say, many people turn this truth on its head and say that most or even all OA journals charge fees. That error is still one of the most widespread, well-entrenched, and harmful myths about OA, despite more than a decade of correction from a large number of people like me and +Walt Crawford. When you hear someone repeat the error, please correct them.


Related: Gold OA is OA delivered by journals, regardless of their business model. Hence gold OA includes both fee-based and no-fee OA journals. When you hear someone repeat the error that all gold OA is fee-based OA, please correct them.

Related: When we imagine flipping subscription journals to OA, too often we only imagine flipping them to fee-based OA. That's needlessly limiting.

Related: When we investigate ways to bring financial support and sustainability to more OA journals, too often we only investigate ways to pay APCs. That's needlessly limiting.

Related: When we study what universities would pay for journal articles in a hypothetical future world in which all journals flip to OA, too often we assume that all journals flip to fee-based OA. That's needlessly limiting, not to mention a bad extrapolation from current trends.

Related: When we want to interview or survey authors about their attitudes toward OA journals, too often we start by misdefining OA journals (as if all or most charge APCs), then we misinform the interview or survey subjects, and then we ask about their attitudes. We publish the results as attitudes toward OA journals as such, not attitudes toward fee-based OA journals. That's bad research.


For more background, see my 2006 article, "No-fee open-access journals."


While most peer-reviewed OA journals are no-fee, it doesn't follow that most articles published in peer-reviewed OA journals are published in the no-fee variety. It's closer to 50/50, depending on the year and measurement method.

See William Walters and Anne Linvill, "Characteristics of Open Access Journals in Six Subject Areas," College and Research Libraries, August 2010. "While just 29 percent of OA journals charge publication fees, those journals represent 50 percent of the articles in our study."

See Mikael Laakso and Bo-Christer Björk, "Anatomy of open access publishing: a study of longitudinal development and internal structure," BMC Medicine, October 22, 2012: "OA journals requiring article-processing charges have become increasingly common, publishing 166,700 articles in 2011 (49% of all OA articles)."

See Walt Crawford, "The Gold OA Landscape, 2011-2014," Cites & Insights, October 2015, p. 20: "[T]he 26% of journals that do charge APCs...published 57% of the OA articles (in reputable journals) in 2014, and assuming level APCs, pay journals have published a majority of OA articles since 2013."

#oa #openaccess #doaj #no-fee
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