A visualization of Gold Open Access optionsAugust 30th, 2012 | Posted by in Open Access
To try and publicize the variety of Gold Open Access article publication options on offer, I’ve decided to create a visualization of the journal data that has previously been collected as part of my survey of ‘Open Access’ publisher licenses’ spreadsheet.
Here is version 0.1 of the ‘Mounce plot’ (much more data still to be added! It’s a work in progress) I may well refine and perhaps add a third axis or variable to the plot in future versions:
UPDATE: version 0.2 of the plot is now available here
Not all “open access” options provided by publishers actually provide BOAI-compliant Open Access, and this is very important - thus I have used the y-axis in this plot to reflect the level of openness supplied for the fees paid (x-axis). Therefore, the ‘best’ journals providing CC BY BOAI-compliant Open Access for the lowest fees possible appear in the top left of the plot. The ‘worst’ journals providing a far inferior level of openness for a high price appear in the bottom right of the plot. The lowest level of ‘free’ access is provided by journals and societies who provide free access to papers, but seem not to provide them with recognised standard licences such as those from the Creative Commons suite. Ambiguity is arguably the worst and laziest thing a publisher can offer from a re-user / reader POV and thus I score this as the lowest class.
Kudos then to Cellular Therapy and Transplantation , Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute , Copernicus Publications, Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems (an American Geosciences Union journal, ’tis a shame they charge $3500 for other AGU journals!), Standards in Genomics Sciences and others for providing low cost BOAI-compliant immediate Gold Open Access publishing options. [...and what a mouthful that last statement was. It is such a pity that the meaning of 'open access' has been degraded and loosely applied since it was originally (well)defined, that I have to apply so many additional adjectives to describe exactly what I mean.]
I’d be amazed if The Lancet & Cell Press journals (e.g. Cell) published by Elsevier could still get away with the absurdly high APC’s they ask for in 5 years time. I hope all researchers are sensible enough to realise that they can publish their manuscripts in other Open Access venues and have just the same research impact (and avoid these hugely expensive options).
I may well make further posts in future with updated, corrected and further explored and deliberated plots. There’s a lot still to talk about!
UPDATES: I sometimes encounter academics who have never heard of fee waiver schemes before. If you look at this plot as an unfunded academic with no or little institutional funding, you might panic. DON’T : a lot of good Open Access publishers offer ‘fee waiver’ schemes to such academics that really cannot pay the APCs. Examples are PLoS and BMC . You can’t always get your fee waived but it is certainly worth asking if you think your circumstances deserve it.
PMR has noted that I have included some ‘predatory’ Open Access publishers in this plot e.g. the OMICS publishing group. I will just state that by placing publishers on this plot I am not especially endorsing any of them unless otherwise stated. There are of course other important criteria aside from ‘price’ and ‘openness’ in choosing where to submit a manuscript. Choose your venue wisely!
 Murray-Rust, P. 2010 http://blogs.ch.cam.ac.uk/pmr/2010/12/17/why-i-and-you-should-avoid-nc-licences/
 Hagedorn, G., Mietchen, D., Morris, R., Agosti, D., Penev, L., Berendsohn, W., & Hobern, D. (2011). Creative Commons licenses and the non-commercial condition: Implications for the re-use of biodiversity information ZooKeys, 150 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.150.2189
 Carroll, M. W., Nov. 2011. Why full open access matters. PLoS Biol 9 (11), e1001210+. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001210
- Some journals charge a fee per page thus I have assumed 10 pages per article for my plot
- Where fees are not listed in USD I have converted them into USD using the current exchange rates.
- Where the journal permits authors to choose a licence I have assumed authors will choose the better, less restrictive licence option (although sadly, in reality some authors do opt for a more restrictive licence for their work).
- Some journals offer discounted ‘OA fees’ if they are at a ‘member institution’ or some such. This usually involves additional cost to the member/subscribing institution thus I have used the full ‘non-member’ rate in such instances for a fairer comparison.
- I only included a couple of BMC journals, just to show the range of prices offered (small: BMC Research Notes, and larger: BMC Biology). They split their prices quite finely between journals so I chose not to overcrowd the CC BY layer with too many BMC journals.
- When I get time I’ll update WileyOpenAccess to the CC BY top class (they recently changed policy). Sadly, the Wiley OnlineOpen (hybrid) option, which is available to 100 times as many journals, is still NC-restricted and less open.
- Don’t see your publisher or Open Access option on the plot? Make your own plot then – the data is all there on the spreadsheet. I don’t doubt that many could make a better job of visualising it than I have done here…
Comments, extra data and/or corrections are welcome as always. This data was hand-collected, so there may be errors.