Open access (29) Myth 2: Open access journals discriminate against authors who cannot afford article processing charges (4)

5 August, 2019

Extract from the HIFA background paper, with thanks to HIFA intern Catriona Grant.

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There is a perception that OA publishing (the “gold” route) is always an expensive route for researchers. This is perhaps due to a misconception that pay to publish is exclusively associated with OA (26). Singh et al. identified that 72% (n= 2509) Indian health researchers were not interested in the pay to publish route and that the main barrier to paying APCs was due to a lack of research grants (23). This is supported by other studies in Africa highlighting APCs a deterrent to publishing OA (22, 27).

Many fully OA journals do not charge APCs (DOAJ). One study has shown that only 27% of peer-reviewed OA journals (out of 14, 086 journals) have a confirmed publication fee (28).

Many other journals offer substantial waivers to authors from specific countries or for researchers with financial constraints (e.g. PLOS https://www.plos.org/fee-assistance) Additionally, there are over 100 initiatives providing financial support for APCs.By contrast hybrid journals always charge an APC j - and may do on top of other charges. For example, PNAS charges $1640 per research article with a surcharge of $1500 to make the article OA (29).

A study by Theo Andrew highlighted that hybrid journals also charge more per article than OA journals. (30) The ‘author-pays’ terminology may be misleading, as most APC funds are paid by funders, or

universities. The SOAP survey identified that in OA pay-to-publish routes, the fees are paid usually paid by funders (59%) or by universities (24%) and by authors themselves only 12% of the time (14).

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Ref: OPEN ACCESS: PERCEPTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS. Background paper for a HIFA thematic discussion sponsored by Elsevier and The Lancet. 22 July - 18 August 2019

http://www.hifa.org/sites/default/files/articles/HIFA_Background_Paper_P...

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research

http://www.hifa.org/working-groups/access-health-research

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org